Ever since LEGO products have been in Asian markets they’ve had to contend with brazen knock-offs, usually coming from China. It was only recently that the brand has received protected status in the People’s Republic, allowing The LEGO Group to crack down on impostor manufacturers, and merchants that sell them.
Lately that hunt for fraudulent LEGO sets in Asia has paid off once more. A counterfeit seller in South Korea, who sold sets from notorious copycat brand Lepin in both a real shop and online, was brought before the Seoul Southern District Court. Here he was slapped with a fine of 10 million South Korean Won (just over $9000). He also received a 10-month prison sentence, though this was suspended.
The defendant was caught by the Korean Ministry of Culture, Sport and Tourism’s Special Judicial Police last year. He was found in possession of 1,348 sets from not only Lepin, but fellow LEGO clones Lele and Sy. The merchant was found guilty in court for these, selling in his store and listing them on online marketplaces; he sold 2,627 knockoffs over the internet in 2017.
LEGO VP Legal Counsel for China and Asia-Pacific Robert Smith was appreciative of the efforts of the South Korean authorities for this successful conviction of a copyright violator for their brand. “We appreciate the South Korean Courts and authorities for taking such a strong stance on intellectual property protection and enforcement,” he said. “We will continue to take action against companies who infringe our copyrights in order to protect the reputation of our much-loved brand.”