Lego Wins Chinese Court Case: Impact Zero

Lego published today news that they won a court case against Bela (see original Lego article). The case was ruled in September but the ruling became effective only in November this year. Looking back, this news has been publicly available for many Aliexpress sellers as around September most started obscuring mini-figures and box art in their advertisements.

The court decision focuses specific on copying the Lego logo and packaging. Interesting enough, it does not rule over explicitly copying the set or the bricks. In a similar case against Mega Brands in 2009 in The Netherlands (see court transcript, [Dutch only]), the judge was more explicit by also ruling it illegal to copy 1-to-1 mini figures, specific bricks and sets. This was likely to cause confusion for consumers that intent to buy Lego blocks and instead bought Mega Brand sets. Mega Brands was allowed to sell Lego compatible bricks only if they created their own designs allowing brick compatibility.

In conclusion the ruling from the Court of the People should be seen as a very limited success for Lego in China. Bela (and probably Lepin) will have to change their logo’s and box art starting November 2017 but nothing is holding them back copying the sets. Original designs as produced by Xingbao are not effected at all.

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