LEGO Ideas IP Question Provides More Clarity About Permissible IPs

LEGO Ideas IP question

The LEGO Ideas platform has been recently updated to include some features that will help builders determine if their proposed projects will not run into some potential intellectual property (IP) issues later on. For those projects that managed to receive the necessary 10K fan support only to be turned down later on by the LEGO Ideas Review Team due to an IP conflict, the experience can turn out to be really disappointing. Thankfully, LEGO Ideas has taken a step further by introducing a LEGO Ideas IP question that may help future submissions to be spared from the frustrating experience of pushing forward with a project that may I have a potential IP issue.

By including an Intellectual Property Question (or IP Question) at the very start of the project Submission Flow, builders will now have an idea if there proposed set will have the LEGO Ideas IP greenlight.

LEGO Ideas IP question

By adding this feature at the beginning of the submission phase, builders will be spared from the frustrating experience of gaining the necessary 10K support from fans only to be turned later on because of some issues with regards to IP rights. There are plenty of examples of such cases and one in particular is the LEGO Ideas project Jurassic Park Visitor Center that qualified for the LEGO Ideas First 2016 Review Stage but was eventually turned down by the review team because of certain conflicts with LEGO’s existing IPs. Here’s LEGO’s take on the matter.

More noteworthy however, is the first step of this new Submit Flow – the Intellectual Property (IP) Question. As you know, LEGO Ideas welcomes submissions based on intellectual properties (designs copyrighted by someone else, i.e. movies, bands, real-world buildings, vehicles, etc), however there are many IPs, which we’ve already been able to evaluate over the years, that we don’t allow as they either: 

  • Overlap with currently commercialized LEGO products (i.e. Star Wars, Ferrari, etc)
  • Have already been commercialized through LEGO Ideas (i.e. Beatles Yellow Submarine, Voltron, etc)
  • Don’t fit the LEGO Brand (i.e. Game of Thrones or Call of Duty, etc)
  • Contain a known license conflict that prevents us from commercializing the IP (i.e. Monopoly, Transformers, etc).

It’s always been a bit challenging for members to know which IPs we allow and don’t allow, so we’re bringing more visibility to this now by allowing you to lookup an IP and get an immediate response about whether we allow it or not, or if we haven’t evaluated it before. This way, we hope to remove some of the frustrations members have experienced of spending time building something for LEGO Ideas and going through the submission process – only for it to be denied by our moderation team due to the IP in question.

Please be aware that LEGO Ideas maintains an even stricter policy than the rest of the LEGO Group on which intellectual properties are allowed to be submitted to the platform. An IP that may be denied via LEGO Ideas for any reason, may well still be considered internally by the LEGO Groups’ design teams in their regular product development process.

It’s worth noting that it’s still a work in progress and we plan further updates to this, including providing more precise feedback on why an IP is not allowed.

LEGO makes it clear that introducing a LEGO Ideas IP question is far from perfect and is not intended to be like a silver bullet of sorts to solve any IP issues that future submissions may present later on. But it is a welcomed move nonetheless that will save builders and their fans from harrowing disappointments and frustrations.

So what do you think of these latest developments from LEGO Ideas? Do you think it will be a big help in untangling some of the complex issues regarding LEGO’s intellectual properties? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

Author: Albert Balanza

Teacher, student, dad, AFOL, psych geek & everything in between. :)

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