The Guangzhou Yuexiu District Court in China yesterday found that four companies infringed Lego’s copyright, in another IP win for the Denmark-based toy maker.
Shantou Meizhi Model Co et al were found liable for copying the 3D artworks for 18 Lego sets and multiple Lego mini figures, along with carrying out unfair competition acts, according to a press release from Lego.
The district court ordered that the defendants immediately cease producing, selling, exhibiting or in any way promoting the infringing products. It also ordered the defendants to pay approximately RMB4.5 million ($650,880) in damages.
Niels Christiansen, CEO of Lego, said: “We believe these decisions are well-founded in the facts and the law, and clearly demonstrate the continued efforts of Chinese authorities to protect IP. It also shows the authorities’ commitment to creating a fair business environment for all companies operating in China.”
According to Lego, the defendants have been producing and distributing Lepin building sets, a Chinese brand of building sets and mini figures.
Christiansen said that the ruling sends a clear warning to other companies that may be copying Lego products.
He added: “When children and shoppers choose a Lego product, they expect the highest quality and the safest play experience. We cannot have them being misled in any way. While we welcome fair competition, if someone misuses our IP and seeks to take advantage of consumers’ trust, we will take action.”
This is another legal victory in China for Lego in its battle against imitators—in December last year, WIPR reported that Lego had won a copyright claim against two companies that had been manufacturing and selling toys that were “almost identical” to Lego’s products.
The Chinese companies were selling ‘Bela’ branded goods, which the Shantou Intermediate People’s Court concluded had infringed Lego’s Friends range of toys. The court also found that the manufacture and sale of the infringing products constituted acts of unfair competition.
Lego said this was the first time it had filed and won an unfair competition case against imitators in China.
In another case, decided in July 2017, the ‘Lego’ logo and word mark were recognised by the Beijing Higher Court as being well-known trademarks in China.