Shopify Inc. files lawsuit against Shopline, a subsidiary of Joyy Inc., accusing it of copyright infringement. 

Shopify, the Ottawa-based e-commerce giant, filed a lawsuit on Tuesday with the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York claiming Shopline is a “would-be Shopify competitor” that has mimicked its operations in various ways.

Central to the lawsuit is Shopify’s “Dawn” computer program that the company said powers customizable storefront templates for merchants on the platform to use. 

“Unable to compete fairly with Shopify, Shopline copied Dawn, and is now distributing a thinly-disguised knockoff that Shopline calls ‘Seed,’ in the United States and around the world,” the lawsuit said. 

The lawsuit alleges that Shopline infringed on Shopify’s copyrights in a “widespread and willful” manner. 

According to the lawsuit, Shopline’s version of Dawn contains evidence of wholesale copying. 

“The file structure and layout, file names, function names, lines of code and even icon codes from Shopify’s original can still be found in Seed. The ‘Shopify’ name still appears in the code of various versions of Seed that Shopline is distributing,” the lawsuit said.

“And Shopify has found a Chinese webpage hosted by Joyy bearing the title: ‘Seed Theme’ that still carries headers reading ‘dawn-test.’”