LEGO, the Danish company known for its interlocking toy bricks, has won what is being hailed as a landmark lawsuit against Chinese infringers.
Lego is one of the world's most valuable brands with the 'LEGO' logo being recognised the world over. It is estimated that The Lego Group is valued at over $14.6 billion making it the world's largest and most valuable toy company. The group is also famously secretive and protective of its brand.
One of the reasons for the success of Lego is that it takes its intellectual property rights seriously and takes action against those that infringe its unique product. Lego has been involved in many lawsuits in the past, but this most recent lawsuit is a big success for the company.
The lawsuit began after The Lego Group discovered two Chinese companies were selling rival products that shared a strong resemblance to Lego's Friend range. Lego has had problems with Chinese manufacturers in the past but has struggled to enforce its rights over infringers; until now, with this case being the first time that Lego has succeeded in a Chinese infringement case. Their case was helped by the fact that earlier in the year a ruling was passed in the Beijing Higher Court which recognised the Lego logo and name as trade marks in Chinese.
The infringing Chinese companies were found by the Shantou Intermediate People's Court to be infringing Lego's copyright in the distinctive and unique appearance of its products. This was held to constitute unfair competition and the infringing companies are now required to stop selling their products.
The result is a step forward in the right direction for companies working in the Chinese market who want to protect their intellectual property rights from the Chinese copy-cat culture. It is also an important result for Lego as they look to gain a share in the lucrative Chinese toy market.in: EU/International, News