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5 Famous Products That Are Shameless Rip-Offs


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#1 fred67

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:04 PM

http://goo.gl/oF3fi

So, I know it's not something most of us weren't aware of, but it's a reiteration of why I don't join in bashing the LEGO rip-off companies.  Make no mistake... The LEGO Company (now The LEGO Group) took the concept and ran with it, eventually adding the tubes and an enormous variety of bricks and colors, so nothing keeps me from loving my LEGO, but it's always good to keep things in perspective.

#2 Carsten Svendsen

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 08:31 PM

What I find most intriguing (spelling?) is that Disney weren't charged for have stolen another authors hard work which he tried so hard to get published as an anim. That out of the other 4 things is the worst thing I've heard in a long, long time.
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#3 Bilbo Baggins

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:05 PM

Actually I believe LEGO had some kind of agreement with this company before they started producing bricks, I hope LEGO Historian is following this thread because I'd like to know more.

#4 The Blue Brick

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:45 PM

View PostBilbo Baggins, on 29 September 2012 - 10:05 PM, said:

Actually I believe LEGO had some kind of agreement with this company before they started producing bricks, I hope LEGO Historian is following this thread because I'd like to know more.
Yes, I believe Kiddicraft was actually making the bricks for Lego at one point, but yes, LEGO Historian should know.

#5 just2good

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:56 PM

That's why LEGO celebrates their tubes, that was their idea, that is what LEGO is. :grin:

#6 Sid Sidious

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Posted 29 September 2012 - 10:56 PM

Why did I know this would link to Cracked as soon as I read the first 3 words on the main forum page?  I need to go on there less...

#7 SheepEater

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 12:00 AM

View PostSid Sidious, on 29 September 2012 - 10:56 PM, said:

Why did I know this would link to Cracked as soon as I read the first 3 words on the main forum page?  I need to go on there less...

Same here  :classic:

I did find this caption funny, though...

Posted Image
Somehow, we don't see Wooden Duck Batman or Star Wars making a fun video game.
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#8 LEGO Historian

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:15 AM

View Postfred67, on 29 September 2012 - 08:04 PM, said:

http://goo.gl/oF3fi

So, I know it's not something most of us weren't aware of, but it's a reiteration of why I don't join in bashing the LEGO rip-off companies.  Make no mistake... The LEGO Company (now The LEGO Group) took the concept and ran with it, eventually adding the tubes and an enormous variety of bricks and colors, so nothing keeps me from loving my LEGO, but it's always good to keep things in perspective.

Yes LEGO did clone Kiddicraft... but the caveat is that back in the 1940s and 1950s there were so many toy companies that were copying each others "non-patented" products it's almost laughable.

TLG was one company to copy the Kiddicraft product, but only for 4 years before they changed designs to other designs (the only new similarity was that the bricks had studs on top).

There was Geas Konstharts of Sweden and Svein Strømberg of Norway that produced the same bricks, windows and doors, but in different plastics.

And then there was an Austrian company that created a product called "WUNDERSTEINE" (Wonderbricks) at the same time with the same parts......
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There are at least a 1/2 dozen different companies throughout Europe that produced the same designs as Kiddicraft.  Kiddicraft made the mistake to only Patent their toy in Britain, Switzerland and a few other countries.  These other clones were produced elsewhere.

And by the time that Switzerland started LEGO sales in 1957, the product was so different, that the Swiss Kiddicraft patent did not apply to the completely different LEGO toy by then

As for LEGO and its' strict legal protection... they never tried to stop other companies from using studs on their bricks... they were only protecting their 1958 "tube in brick" LEGO patent.... although they were quite aggressive in their legal dealings.

There is an entire chapter in my LEGO DVD download that shows many of the LEGO/Kiddicraft clones and other similar brick systems from the 1940s to the present.

Edited by LEGO Historian, 01 November 2012 - 07:37 AM.

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#9 LEGO Historian

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 08:14 AM

Here's another clone called ABC Copex, which was a 1950s French clone of Kiddicraft...  Their windows and door designs are exactly like Kiddicraft and LEGO's Automatic Binding Bricks. Posted Image

Edited by LEGO Historian, 30 September 2012 - 06:04 PM.

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#10 LEGO Historian

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:03 PM

Also, I do believe that LEGO's use of the name "Automatic Binding Bricks" was an attempt to sort of separate their Kiddicraft imitations from real LEGO products.  TLG was pround of their "LEGO" brand name, and had it plastered all over their LEGO wooden and other plastic products.  But it didn't show up on the Automatic Binding Bricks boxes until 1952 (their 4th year of production), and it wasn't until 1953 that the words "Automatic Binding Bricks disappeared from TLG produced LEGO boxes, to be replaced by "LEGO Mursten".

Interestingly enough when TLG got their molding machines from the manufacturer to make plastic bricks... the mold manufacturer included real Kiddicraft molds to show how easy it was to produce part.  TLG must have looked at those molds (like other toy manufacturers all over continental Europe), and had their own molds made up that were variations of the "un-patented in their country" Kiddicraft bulding system.

One last thing... in Chapter 2 of my LEGO DVD/download, I mention that perhaps one reason that the LEGO Archives are so mum on "Automatic Binding Bricks", and why it wasn't until many decades later that the LEGO Vault purchased Automatic Binding Bricks from the secondary market, may have been due to some fear about litigation.  That's just speculation on my part... but when one connects the dots... I may not be far off the mark.

Edited by LEGO Historian, 02 October 2012 - 02:33 AM.

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#11 fred67

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 06:34 PM

Thanks Gary, how are you doing these days?

My post was not to bash TLG, of course - they took a great idea and ran with it, and we're all glad they did.  I guess my reason for posting was that I see a lot of clone bashing; I pretty much buy LEGO exclusively, but I'm glad when they lose patent and trademark cases against other companies - competition makes things better, and the companies that are ripping LEGO off now may actually make some greater contribution in the future, like LEGO did with tubes, or do sets that TLG won't do, like MB does with Halo and BestLock does with military themes.

All the while, we all still pay the premium prices for LEGO to get the best product.  When TLG was on the brink a decade ago, it was partly the realization that they are a better, premium product that helped save the company.  If they stay that way in the midst of the competition, even the rip-offs, then I'll be happy.

#12 LEGO Historian

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Posted 30 September 2012 - 10:48 PM

View Postfred67, on 30 September 2012 - 06:34 PM, said:

Thanks Gary, how are you doing these days?

Tomorrow (Mon) is the day of reconning... I'll private message you, rather than muck up the board...  Posted Image



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#13 Bilbo Baggins

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Posted 02 October 2012 - 12:56 AM

Thanks for all this information LEGO Historian. I didn't knew so many companies ripped of Kiddicraft.

#14 Devorath

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 04:33 AM

But hey, Lego has changed now.
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#15 SNIPE

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 05:32 PM

It's a good thing that lego is still here and has so many parts to choose from as well as sets, if you have an invention it can be worthless unless you play it right like the lego company did, and they still do which s why they are still around (I'm on about marketing, etc)

#16 LEGO Historian

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Posted 01 November 2012 - 06:50 PM

View Postfred67, on 30 September 2012 - 06:34 PM, said:

Thanks Gary, how are you doing these days?
Fred, thanks for asking... I know this is off topic, but 2012 has been hell for me, lost my house to foreclosure/sheriff sale back in March... only to find out in early Sept. (still living there) that the buyback period for me was not 6 months (as is normal in US), but 1 year... and the realty co. that bought it knew that and was trying to scam me.  Luckily I have an acquaintance (who's 13 story office building he owns is unique in the world... and we became friends thru my love for his building)...  anyway... to keep it short... he's paying all my legal bills (his net worth has 8 digits, which I didn't know) to sue the crooked realty co., and also buying my house back for me (to pay off like a used car payment over many years).  So now the papers are being served to a very surprised realty TODAY... and I can get on with my life and ship out the LEGO orders of people still patiently waiting.

Too bad others (with families) in this Mortgage meltdown economy aren't as fortunate as I.  Now that I'm not consumed with legal paperwork... I can start shipping today and tomorrow.  The only reason I'm bringing all this up is to thank the folks here and elsewhere for being patient with LEGO orders from me...

Edited by LEGO Historian, 01 November 2012 - 06:53 PM.

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#17 tomdobs55

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Posted 02 November 2012 - 01:10 AM

View PostLEGO Historian, on 01 November 2012 - 06:50 PM, said:

Fred, thanks for asking... I know this is off topic, but 2012 has been hell for me, lost my house to foreclosure/sheriff sale back in March... only to find out in early Sept. (still living there) that the buyback period for me was not 6 months (as is normal in US), but 1 year... and the realty co. that bought it knew that and was trying to scam me.  Luckily I have an acquaintance (who's 13 story office building he owns is unique in the world... and we became friends thru my love for his building)...  anyway... to keep it short... he's paying all my legal bills (his net worth has 8 digits, which I didn't know) to sue the crooked realty co., and also buying my house back for me (to pay off like a used car payment over many years).  So now the papers are being served to a very surprised realty TODAY... and I can get on with my life and ship out the LEGO orders of people still patiently waiting.

Too bad others (with families) in this Mortgage meltdown economy aren't as fortunate as I.  Now that I'm not consumed with legal paperwork... I can start shipping today and tomorrow.  The only reason I'm bringing all this up is to thank the folks here and elsewhere for being patient with LEGO orders from me...

Not to pry, but that sucks man, good luck with everything.  I'm going though a divorce so I feel ya on losing stuff, luckily we didn't have a house together.  Everything you post is amazing by the way. (history major in college).  I'll definitely be buying your book once my funds are up.  I have no idea what the information is to buy it could you please PM me with the details?
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