Wed, Nov 07, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Lego triumphs in court case against Chinese copycats

‘WELL-KNOWN’ BRAND:A Guangzhou court ruled that four companies had infringed the toymaker’s copyrights and ordered them to pay damages

Reuters, COPENHAGEN

Lego System A/S has won another case against imitators in China, where copies of its colorful plastic toy bricks and figures have been a recurrent problem, the Danish toymaker said on Monday.

In a landmark case last year, Lego for the first time succeeded in a copyright competition case in China, where it seeks a bigger slice of a US$31 billion toys and games market.

“We believe these decisions are well-founded in the facts and the law, and clearly demonstrate the continued efforts of Chinese authorities to protect intellectual property,” Lego CEO Niels Christiansen said in a statement.

The Guangzhou Yuexiu District Court ruled that four companies had “infringed multiple copyrights of the Lego Group and conducted acts of unfair competition by producing and distributing LEPIN [樂拼] building sets,” Lego said.

The court ordered that the companies immediately cease “producing, selling, exhibiting or in any way promoting the infringing products,” it said.

Lego is also to receive about 4.5 million yuan (US$650,070) in damages.

Last year, the Beijing Higher Court passed a ruling that recognized the Lego logo and name in Chinese as “well-known” trademarks in China, putting the toymaker in a better position to act against infringement of its trademarks.

China is important to Lego, which has seen slow or declining growth in its mature western European and US markets, although China still accounts for less than 10 percent of group sales.

Lego, an abbreviation of the Danish leg godt (“play well”), plans to open two flagship stores in Shanghai and Beijing and continue its partnership with Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings Ltd (騰訊).

It is also working with local education departments, state schools and private education providers in China to encourage children to play with Lego as a way to boost their motor skills, creativity and attention spans.

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