Professor Shubha Ghosh Discusses AI, Copyright, and Trademark Law in Shein RICO Suit

Fashion designers Krista Perry, Larissa Martinez, and Jay Baron have filed a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization Act (RICO) suit against fast fashion company Shein Distribution in the U.S. District Court, Central District of California, Western Division.

Crandall Melvin Professor of Law Shubha Ghosh spoke with Retail Dive about the copyright infringement claim and the suit’s unique use of the RICO statute. In the filing, the plaintiffs say, “The brand has made billions by creating a secretive algorithm that astonishingly determines nascent fashion trends — and by coupling it with a corporate structure, including production and fulfillment schemes, that are perfectly executed to grease the wheels of the algorithm, including its unsavory and illegal aspects.”

“You have to somehow figure out the best way, legally, to aggregate all those individual acts into something that’s a basis for liability,” says Ghosh. “The allegations are fairly compelling. Not to mention some issues regarding what’s called extraterritoriality — going after things that might be happening overseas. It’s a very interesting case, so I think it has legs. I don’t know how far it’ll run.”