LEGO is pretty much the original and genuine article when it comes to plastic building blocks and minifigures that have a fixed place of sorts in many childhoods. That, however, has not stopped many other companies in trying to put their own spin on the iconic interlocking-block system made famous by the Danish-based global toy giant.
The company has been fighting other manufacturers rolling out similar counterfeit sets for years. This year they may have won a significant victory for brand protection in China, where its legal system has accorded the LEGO name the distinction of being a “well-known trademark.”
It was revealed by LEGO that as of July this year, the Beijing Higher Court passed a ruling that publicly designates both the LEGO logo and LEGO transcribed in Chinese to be “well-known trademarks” in the country. In effect, this gives The LEGO Company greater leeway in pursuing any infringement of their copyrights within China, both in and out of the toy market category.
This is extremely vital for companies operating in the Chinese market, where knockoffs of famous international brands and products continue to be made today by unscrupulous manufacturers. It also prioritizes the LEGO brand over local outfits that exploit the first-to-file trademark and patent system in China.
LEGO Group Legal Affairs VP Peter Thorslund Kjær describes their company’s “well-known trademark” status as recognition of their genuine quality and commitment to Chinese parents buying their building play sets and minifigures for their children. He also expressed LEGO’s appreciation to the Chinese government and authorities for their official support for the international uniqueness of their trademark and logo.
This comes as a major windfall for LEGO that might just make up for the unfavorable outcome of their legal battle with the Canadian brand Mega Bloks over a decade ago in 2005.