Editor’s note: On Nov. 20, 2023, Temu won a preliminary injunction in the U.S. District Court for Arizona preventing the owners of fake domains from operating Temu-themed sites, as well as transferring the domains to other registrars and/or using the Temu trademark, logo or color scheme. A Temu spokesperson said that the company has taken action against more than 50 fraudulent websites in the U.S. and Europe.
Temu is taking its fight against impostors and “cybersquatters” to the courts. The retailer, known for its ultra-low prices and treasure hunt customer experience, plans to file a lawsuit on Nov. 16, 2023 in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Illinois alleging trademark infringement against 20 website domains, saying they created fake coupon codes and promotions in an effort to mislead consumers into believing they were engaging with genuine Temu offerings.
Several of the online properties named in the suit include the Temu name in their URLs, including temuapp.biz, temu-app.net, temucouponcodes.com, temudeals.store and temucouponcodes.com. The lawsuit accuses these domains of using Temu’s trademarks without a license in order to “to create a false association with Temu and deceive consumers.” Temu also alleges that it has been the subject of defamatory sponsored ads and paid media articles placed on traditional and online media properties.
Customers who unknowingly engage with these fake sites often go so far as to place orders, and when they inevitably get neither the product nor a satisfactory answer from customer service (assuming there is any), their opinion of Temu goes down. The company said it has received a multitude of online customer comments and complaints, including those made to the Better Business Bureau, from consumers who incorrectly believed they were ordering from the real Temu.
This isn’t the first time Temu has sought legal remedies for its challenges: the company filed a lawsuit against its competitor Shein in July 2023 accusing it of anticompetitive practices. Temu alleged that Shein had “engaged in a campaign of threats, intimidation, false assertions of infringement, attempts to impose baseless punitive fines and has forced exclusive dealing arrangements” with the clothing manufacturers that both apps rely on for their ultra-fast fashion offerings. However, Temu dropped the lawsuit in October 2023, and Shein did the same with its own lawsuit against Temu, signaling a truce between the two competitors.
This may be because they have bigger fish to fry. In June 2023, both Temu and Shein came under scrutiny by the U.S. House of Representatives for alleged human rights abuses at supplier companies and evasion of import tariffs.
Efforts by other businesses to regulate fake reviews and other unfair business practices online have been spotty. In July 2022 Amazon filed a lawsuit against the administrators of more than 10,000 Facebook groups that try to orchestrate fake reviews in exchange for money or merchandise. In September 2023, Amazon revealed that two China-based fake review fraudsters had been found guilty and sentenced to 2.5 years each by local authorities. In October 2022, the Federal Trade Commission revealed that it was exploring new rules to deal with unfair reviews and endorsement practices.