Everything has a day of reckoning, and I guess Lepin is now in the threshold of their own. After the LEGO Group’s legal win against Lepin last year prohibiting the latter to package their fake LEGO products using dubiously similar box arts, The LEGO Group scores another win against the makers of Lepin and other similar companies when the Chinese legal courts now declared that the manufacture of these fake LEGO sets are considered illegal in the Chinese region. In a recent report submitted by TLG, the court’s decision represents “another significant legal victory in China for the LEGO Group in its battle against imitators over the past two years.” This successful lawsuit against Lepin, or specifically to Shantou Meizhi Model Co. and 3 other defendants, marks a triumph not only for The LEGO Group, but also to millions of LEGO fans around the world who trust the LEGO brand.
According to the court’s decision, the four defendants are to “immediately cease producing, selling, exhibiting or in any way promoting the infringing products”. On top of that, Lepin’s manufacturer and the rest of the defendants are too pay TLG 4.5 million RMB, approximately equal to $650,000 USD.
According to LEGO CEO Niels B. Christiansen, “We welcome the court’s ruling. 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. It also shows the authorities’ commitment to creating a fair business environment for all companies operating in China. The court’s decisions state that the LEPIN manufacturer and sellers must immediately cease copying the 18 LEGO sets that have been found protectable by the court. These rulings send a clear warning message to other companies who may be copying LEGO products. We will continue to take all necessary legal actions to protect our intellectual property rights.”
Lepin has been notorious in copying many of LEGO’s themed and licensed sets – they’re so good in imitating LEGO products that they can quickly come up with a counterfeit set even before the release date of a certain LEGO product. This is true, especially with the recent LEGO Star Wars Betrayal at Cloud City (75222) set. They’ve also shown an acute sense of insensitivity in lifting certain designs from AFOLs and rebrand them as their own. Now that this recent lawsuit against Lepin has been finally decided, I hope that this will send a very clear message to other manufacturers of fake LEGO products. If you wish to find out more about these manufacturers and their counterfeit LEGO sets, check out this report on Chinese LEGO knock-off brands right here.