Lego knock-offs from China spreading to the European market

Consumers in a number of countries have been able to buy fake Lego products through internet sites

For some time now, a Chinese company called Lepin has been producing copies of Lego products that are almost indistinguishable from the real thing.

Over the last few months, thousands of consumers in countries such as Italy, France, the UK, Poland, Denmark, Russia, the US, Brazil and Australia have bought copy products made by Lepin, DR Nyheder reports.

READ ALSO: Fierce copyright battle mars Lego’s push in China

What is worse for the Danish company is that consumers seem keen to buy the copies because they often cost around half the price of the real thing,

In 2016, Lego went to court in China to try and stop Lepin, but as no judgment has yet been handed down, it is still possible for consumers to legally buy Lepin’s products.

Spot the difference – or not
“Copies from Lepin are so accurate that many consumers have difficulty spotting the difference. So it is a serious matter for Lego when products are distributed to a number of different markets,” said patents and rights lawyer Eva Aaen Skovbo.

Lego did not wish to give an interview to DR about Lepin, but in a mail, its press officer Roar Rude Trangbæk said: “In Lepin’s case these are indisputably exact copies of Lego products – from whichever way you look at it – and therefore unfair competition.”

Safeguarding rights
“We don’t know at this time when a judgment will be passed down in this specific case, and so it is important for us to take any steps necessary to ensure that consumers are not misled and our rights are not infringed,” added Trangbæk.

According to the latest figures, copy products cost European companies around 360 billion kroner per annum in lost income.

You would have thought they’d change the logo! (photo: Lepin)