Caixin
Nov 06, 2018 07:45 PM
BUSINESS & TECH

Lego Builds Its Copyright Case in Chinese Courts

Lego Group's stand at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Nov 5. Photo: VCG
Lego Group's stand at the first China International Import Expo in Shanghai on Nov 5. Photo: VCG

Danish toy giant Lego Group has won a court ruling against a group of local imitators of its classic children’s building blocks, the second such victory in the past year as China steps up its efforts to protect intellectual property.

A judge in South China’s Guangdong province ruled that four companies that produced and sold similar products under the “Lepin” name were guilty of various counts of copyright infringement and unfair competition, Lego announced in a Monday message on its microblog. Lego accused the defendants of illegally copying 18 of its classic toy bricks, as well as a number of its miniature people.

The judge ordered the defendants to stop making products that violated Lego’s copyrights, and to pay damages of 4.5 million yuan ($650,000).

“We welcome the court’s decision,” said Lego CEO Niels Christiansen. “We believe that the judgment has sufficient facts and legal basis, and clearly demonstrates the government’s ongoing protection of intellectual property rights to create a good business environment for all companies operating in China.”

The decision follows a similar court victory about a year earlier, when Lego sued two Chinese companies making Lego imitator toys branded with the Bela name. That ruling marked the first time Lego had won such a case against copycats in China.

Intellectual property theft has been one of the central complaints by Western governments against China, which has become famous over the years for everything from illegally using other companies’ product designs and logos to stealing their industrial secrets. U.S. President Donald Trump has frequently complained that China steals American intellectual property, and has made the issue central to his ongoing trade war.

Contact reporter Yang Ge (geyang@caixin.com)

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