As a fan of the LEGO Ideas platform, it delights me to see how my favorite projects can get to see the light of day to become a possible LEGO set that I can actually pick up straight from the shelves of my local LEGO Store. Being a fan-based site in itself, the team behind LEGO Ideas has to carefully consider many factors before giving a project a ‘go’ or ‘no-go’ decision. Putting in mind what the fans want, the LEGO Ideas Review Team must keep tabs with other factors such as the size of the set, its viable cost in the market, and of course, the licensing issues involved. Perhaps amongst these, it is the licensing issues that are the most challenging to untangle.
The LEGO Ideas Review Team must put into account both the intellectual property (IP) issues outside and within LEGO’s portfolio. Needless to say, it is a very delicate dance to say the least in trying to work out the IP conflicts that may arise in developing a new LEGO set. A LEGO Ideas project that gained the necessary 10K votes may therefore receive a thumbs up sign from the majority of the LEGO fan community, but will still fail to become a set if there are conflicts with certain active licenses or themes.
This week, the LEGO Ideas Team has just announced a major revision on their project submission guidelines stating that submissions based on third-party licenses that are deemed active in TLG’s portfolio will no longer be accepted. This means that if you’re planning to submit a project that is based on Star Wars, Marvel or DC Superheroes, Disney characters, or any theme that is currently developed by LEGO, then this project will be turned down right away. We’re not sure if this means that it will not even have the chance of being posted on the site to rally for support, but what is sure is that it will absolutely fail to become an official LEGO set.
According to Tim Courtney of LEGO Ideas,
Today we’ve updated our Guidelines and House Rules to clarify the types of models we will accept as LEGO® Ideas projects. The main focus of this update is that we will no longer allow projects that are based on currently active licenses in our product portfolio, like Star Wars, MARVEL Super Heroes, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and so on.
We’ve updated our Guidelines about licensed properties to reflect this, and added a list of restricted licensed properties to the License Conflicts and Resolutions page in the Knowledge Base. If we retire a third-party license and it didn’t enter the LEGO portfolio via LEGO Ideas we’ll remove it from our list, and you’ll then be welcome to submit projects based on it.
For clarity, LEGO Ideas list down all of the Active Licenses and other Restricted IPs based from previous LEGO Ideas sets, which you can find below:
Star Wars, MARVEL Super Heroes, DC Super Heroes & Super Hero Girls, The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO NINJAGO Movie, The LEGO Movie, Disney characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy & Tinker Bell), Moana, Rapunzel, Aladdin, Cars, Whisker Haven Tales with the Palace Pets , Angry Birds, Pirates of the Caribbean, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Miles From Tomorrowland, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, The Simpsons, Knight Rider, Mission Impossible, Midway Arcade, Lord of the Rings, Gremlins, A-Team, Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, Sonic the Hedgehog, Portal 2, E.T. & The Wizard of Oz.
Volkswagen, Ferrari, MINI, Porsche, BMW, CLAAS, Volvo, Mercedes, Ford, Audi, Bugatti, Chevrolet & McLaren.
- Stand alone buildings (Big Ben, London Tower Bridge, US Capitol Building, Louvre, Buckingham Palace, Burj Khalifa, Eiffel Tower & Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum).
- Buildings contained in the skylines (London, Sydney, Chicago, Venice, Berlin & New York).
Restricted IP from LEGO Ideas:
- Shinkai 6500
- Back to the Future
- Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover
- The Big Bang Theory
- Doctor Who
- The Beatles
- Adventure Time
- Apollo program
- Women of NASA concept
That’s a pretty long list. Good thing though (if you can still look at it that way) that LEGO gives an assurance that if ever a licensing issue has been resolved, or if an active, third-party license has been retired already, then fans are free to submit similar projects later on. Furthermore, this doesn’t mean that active projects that have currently reached 10K support, or even those that are still gathering support will be shot down right away. They will have the chance of being promoted in the LEGO Ideas platform, but will have a slimmer chance of passing through the Review Stage.
Projects currently being reviewed, as well as active projects that reach 10,000 supporters in the future, will still be evaluated as part of the LEGO Review. Just like before, these projects would have a slimmer chance of passing the LEGO Ideas review, as they overlap with existing licenses in the LEGO product portfolio.
This means that entries such as the UCS Rey’s Speeder, the Volkswagen Golf MK1 GTI, and the Hulkbuster UCS may never stand a chance against other, non-licensed entries. Additionally, submissions that are based on any existing official LEGO Ideas set, whether active or retired, will no longer be allowed as well.
This decision from the LEGO Ideas Team received a lot of mixed reactions from the LEGO community. Some argue that such move severely limits the projects that fans really want to see, while on the other hand, it is considered by some as a wise, and practical decision (from LEGO’s viewpoint, I guess) so as not to put our hopes up on something that can never happen in the first place.
I think only time can tell if these changes in the LEGO Ideas platform will work out for the better. As of now, I’m excited to see how the final LEGO Ideas Apollo II Saturn V set turn out, and if my favorite LEGO Ideas project, Voltron Defender of the Universe, will finally become an official set.
So what do you think about this change in LEGO Ideas? Share your thoughts in the comments below.