In March this year, Japanese retailer Ryohin Keikaku (better known as MUJI) sued Singapore retailer IUIGA for “trademark infringement and passing-off under Singapore law”.
Then, MUJI’s president Satoru Matsuzaki revealed that the lawsuit was filed in late January with Singapore’s courts, and they will be “seeking for orders to stop the use of the MUJI trademark in IUIGA’s statements” and also “seeking compensation for damages and losses”.
IUIGA is known for using statements like “MUJI Same Manufacturer” on its website and physical store.
In response to accusations, IUIGA’s chief growth officer Jaslyn Chan “maintains that they have done nothing wrong” and that “the information on their website is factually accurate and their manufacturing processes are legal”.
She also stated that they work with original design manufacturers (ODMs) and that “there is no direct ownership of the product by any single brand entity, allowing the original design manufacturers to produce for more than one brand”.
The next week, IUIGA asserted in a media statement that they “are working with manufacturers that also work with MUJI”.
IUIGA also brought up an example of their bean bag sofa – which they insist is made by the same manufacturer of MUJI’s bean bag sofa – which had its product listing was revised “because IUIGA has been informed by the manufacturers that MUJI has pressured them to have IUIGA remove the label“.
They added: “Given that MUJI’s business still occupies a large portion of the manufacturer’s overall revenue, IUIGA is in no position to work against their manufacturers, and they acceded to [the] manufacturer’s request in taking down the label.”
“To Avoid The Possibility Of Causing Confusion To The Public”
Despite their insistence that they were “not infringing on design or product rights”, it seems like IUIGA is backing down in the fight.
IUIGA just stated on their website today (13 Sep) that they have “agreed to remove and cease use of references to the MUJI trade mark (sic)” on their marketing and promotional materials.
According to their statement, they have agreed to do this “in acknowledgement of the ownership” of Ryohin Keikaku and MUJI (Singapore) Pte Ltd of the “MUJI” trademark.
They added that they’re also doing this “to avoid the possibility of causing confusion to the public”.
MUJI reiterated in a statement today that it “will continue to enforce its intellectual property rights”.