Lego wins critical copyright case in China

Toy manufacturer hopes ruling will unleash its potential in lucrative market

It was good news for Lego this week as a court in China ruled in favour of the Danish toy producer in a case involving two Chinese companies copying Lego products.

The Shantou Intermediate People’s Court decided that certain products made by Chinese company BELA infringed upon the copyrights of Lego and that the products acted as elements of unfair competition.

It’s the first time that Lego has filed, and subsequently won, an anti-unfair competition case against imitators in China – a country that holds great market potential for the toy manufacturer.

“We are pleased with the ruling by Shantou Intermediate People’s Court, which we see as a strong indication of the continued focus on proper intellectual property protection and enforcement by the Chinese courts and responsible authorities. We think this is very important for the continued development of a favourable business environment for all companies operating in the Chinese market,” said Peter Thorslund Kjær, the deputy head of legal affairs at Lego.

“We will continue our efforts to ensure that parents and children are able to make informed choices when they are buying toy products, and that they are not misled by attempts by irresponsible companies to make toy products appear as something they are not.”

READ MORE: Lego knock-offs from China spreading to the European market

Knock it off!
Chinese companies have been producing knock-offs of Lego products for some time now, and this year thousands of consumers in European countries such as Italy, France, the UK, Poland, Denmark, Russia, the US, Brazil and Australia have bought copy products.

Some producers, such as Lepin, haven’t even bothered to change the logo and have seemingly tried to make knock-offs and packaging almost exactly the same as Lego products (see image above).

See below for a video conveying the biggest difference between Lego and Lepin products.