Jump to content


Lego lost trademark challenge of usage of red 3D 2x4 rendering


94 replies to this topic

#76 blueandwhite

blueandwhite

  • Sandwich Stealer


    Posts: 1607
    Joined: 12-September 05
    Member: 481
    Country: Canada

Posted 16 September 2010 - 12:24 AM

I can certainly see LEGO's concern over consumers mistaking other brands for LEGO bricks.  There's no doubt in my mind that most of the competitors rely on consumer error for a percentage of their sales.  I wouldn't be surprised to see red 2x4 bricks on those packages in the next few years.  

At the same time I can also appreciate why the court reached this decision seeing that an isometric drawing of a 2x4 building brick (the patent has long since expired) is hardly distinct.  I mean, isn't this pretty much the same decision that the Canadian Supreme Court came to in Kirkbi AG v. Ritvik Holdings Inc. 5 years ago?  People were making a big deal about the decision then and nothing earth-shattering happened.  

I can see why LEGO is upset, but I don't really think this judgement is going to impact us at all.  Average consumers have been confusing the clone brands with LEGO for years.  This decision isn't going to change that.  Quality will always win out.  As long as LEGO doesn't go too far cutting corners (my real concern), then there's nothing to worry about.

#77 Clone OPatra

Clone OPatra

  • Plate-Removing Addict


    Posts: 5331
    Joined: 21-January 09
    Member: 5070

Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:29 AM

Looking at some LEGO boxes, I just thought of something: LEGO doesn't even use a 3D rendering of a 2x4 on their own products!  The only red square is on the LEGO logo, which obviously is a registered trademark that other companies cannot use legally.  Where does LEGO use a 3D rendering of a brick at all?  I do not see how other companies suddenly using this image on their art will heighten confusion about what is LEGO and what is not.  Since LEGO themselves doesn't use it, I do not understand where their statement is coming from.

Or am I missing some obvious usage of this rendered image?
Posted Image

#78 prateek

prateek

  • Study hard!


    Posts: 10399
    Joined: 09-July 05
    Member: 426
    Country: Canada

Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:19 AM

View PostClone O, on 16 September 2010 - 02:29 AM, said:

Looking at some LEGO boxes, I just thought of something: LEGO doesn't even use a 3D rendering of a 2x4 on their own products!  The only red square is on the LEGO logo, which obviously is a registered trademark that other companies cannot use legally.  Where does LEGO use a 3D rendering of a brick at all?  I do not see how other companies suddenly using this image on their art will heighten confusion about what is LEGO and what is not.  Since LEGO themselves doesn't use it, I do not understand where their statement is coming from.

Or am I missing some obvious usage of this rendered image?
I was thinking that too. The only time I've seen a 2x4 on a box was of a clone set (Brick (?))

#79 CP5670

CP5670

  • In search of litmus paper


    Posts: 2473
    Joined: 02-February 08
    Member: 2646
    Country: United States

Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:27 AM

It's used on the yellow Lego shopping bags, the ones you get if you buy stuff at a Lego store. I don't think I've seen it on actual boxes either.

#80 prateek

prateek

  • Study hard!


    Posts: 10399
    Joined: 09-July 05
    Member: 426
    Country: Canada

Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:42 AM

View PostCP5670, on 16 September 2010 - 03:27 AM, said:

It's used on the yellow Lego shopping bags, the ones you get if you buy stuff at a Lego store. I don't think I've seen it on actual boxes either.
I wouldn't know that, but won't it make more sense just to put the Lego logo on it instead of a red 2x4?

#81 Clone OPatra

Clone OPatra

  • Plate-Removing Addict


    Posts: 5331
    Joined: 21-January 09
    Member: 5070

Posted 16 September 2010 - 04:36 AM

View PostCP5670, on 16 September 2010 - 03:27 AM, said:

It's used on the yellow Lego shopping bags, the ones you get if you buy stuff at a Lego store.

Yes, you are correct.  I have a bunch of those big bags myself.  Still, I think it would be hard for someone to mix up a competitor and LEGO in a LEGO store!  And it's not as if competitors will start putting out competing bags.  I find this a bit ridiculous.
Posted Image

#82 Lockt

Lockt

    Posts: 78
    Joined: 21-April 08
    Member: 3059

Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:41 AM

Funny to see that also a lot of Eurobrickers fell in the trap a lot of Media walked in with open eyes. Even not being a lawyer the ruling of the European court is quite clear. It is just about the trademark, not about the brick itself. Competition is already sold in Europe (however is fairly weak).

Please read also TLGs official response to the ruling (maybe add a link in the OP?):
LINK

This ruling will not affect prices or the market function. Also keep in mind Lego is not (only) competing with "clone-brands", but most importantly with other toys. Price/quality ratio is critical. This is one of the reasons why Lego made such a comeback in the economical downfall of last years: parents remember Lego as a durable product and switched back to it. This all under the motto: If you spend less, spend it on something that last longer...

#83 Delta 38

Delta 38

    Posts: 1352
    Joined: 03-January 10
    Member: 8890
    Country: Australia.

Posted 16 September 2010 - 11:28 AM

View Postthe Inventor, on 15 September 2010 - 04:46 PM, said:

Yes I have seen it in the Netherlands, some small shop but also bigger one such as "toys XL" and "Top 1 Toys"

In some "Top 1 Toys" shops they even sell them together sealed in plastic.

Wow, that is very strange. Blasphemous, you could say.
I see now, so what they lost was using the brick as a trademark instead of the actual product itself. That clarifies it a bit.
In any case, whether they do eventually get a trademark or not, I don't think it will influence much. That's a bit unfortunate, as a price lowering would be very welcome here.
Hi.

#84 Pvt. Ryan

Pvt. Ryan

    Posts: 21
    Joined: 22-July 10
    Member: 12161
    Country: Россия

Posted 16 September 2010 - 02:55 PM

I guess this dosen't include Russia?  No relief from price!!!

#85 Marckeyh

Marckeyh

    Posts: 259
    Joined: 05-June 10
    Member: 11171
    Country: Belgium

Posted 16 September 2010 - 03:38 PM

LEGO is right in saying some people get confused with clone brands. My mum bought me some Mega*****s from a bootsale and thought it was real LEGO. She wasn't aware such a thing existed! It didn't cost so much, but still that money was wasted...

#86 gnlew

gnlew

    Posts: 1
    Joined: 16-September 10
    Member: 13290

Posted 16 September 2010 - 04:05 PM

After decades of seeing Lego sets in stores without buying any, I decided a few years back to start getting into Lego since my childhood days.  I often found myself wondering what the clone sets were like, especially Mega Blocks.  When the Halo set came out, I found myself buying one set.  It was the dumbest thing I ever did in my life.  I picked up the Warthog set and from the minute I dumped out the parts, I knew I made a mistake.  Still I soldiered on putting it together.  I was quickly frustrated by inaccurate instructions, color discrepancies and anger since the parts would not stay locked together.  IMO, the clones have no impact at all on Lego because they are such inferior quality, no one in the right mind would put their money behind the clones when the original is a vastly superior product in every way!

#87 LegoFiend

LegoFiend

    Posts: 11
    Joined: 09-September 10
    Member: 13142

Posted 16 September 2010 - 05:58 PM

September 14 2010

EU Court: LEGO Group not allowed to register brick as trademark

On Tuesday, September 14, the LEGO Group lost an action at the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg for the right to register the iconic eight-stud brick as a trademark.

The court application was not for the right to manufacture and sell LEGO® bricks or other bricks but exclusively for the right to register a three-dimensional image of the red eight-stud brick as a trademark.

In a response to the court ruling Peter Kjær, head of the LEGO Group’s Intellectual Property Section, says:
“This was the court of final instance, and we have no option but to note the court’s ruling. The ruling has been given on the question of whether the brick is functional or not – and the court has concluded that it is functional. We have always disputed this – and continue to do so. In other court actions we have shown that bricks with virtually the same function can have other appearances,” he says, and continues:

“To demonstrate that it is incorrect that a brick must look like ours, LEGO employees have produced 25-30 different designs of prototypes and moulds, approx. half of which can be built together with our bricks. In this way we’ve shown that bricks with more or less the same function can certainly be designed in other ways, and it has been demonstrated that the alternative bricks are neither more expensive nor more difficult to manufacture.”

The ruling of the EU Court means that the LEGO Group is not permitted to claim exclusive right to the use of an eight-stud brick as a trademark.

The LEGO Group’s desire to register the brick as a three-dimensional trademark is not for marketing reasons alone.
“It is naturally a matter of concern to us that use of the brick by others can dilute the trademark. But the worst aspect is that consumers will be misled. Analyses show that 40-60% of shoppers believe they are buying a LEGO product when in fact they are purchasing a different product. Shoppers can see there is a different name on the box – but they believe it is a product line or company owned by us,” says Peter Kjær.

Court application in brief:
In 1996 the LEGO Group submitted an application for registration of the 2x4 brick as a three-dimensional trademark. The trademark was recognised not to be exclusively a functional device, and as a distinctive feature of LEGO toys it was registered with effect throughout the entire European Union in October 1999.

Shortly afterwards, the Canadian toy manufacturer Mega Bloks, Inc. (now Mega Brands), which manufactures bricks similar in appearance to bricks from the LEGO Group, applied to have the registration annulled. The Canadian company claimed that registration of the block’s form was a contravention of trademark legislation. In 2004 the EU Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) in Alicante, Spain, ruled the LEGO Group’s registration of the LEGO brick invalid. In 2006 the OHIM Board of Appeal upheld the prior ruling, and in 2008 it was also upheld by The Court of First Instance of the European Communities in Luxembourg.

The Court of Final Instance in Luxembourg has now ruled that registration is invalid.



For further information, please contact:
Charlotte Simonsen, Head of Corporate Communications
Tel. +45 7950 6579

lego link of this info

#88 Superkalle

Superkalle

    Posts: 5480
    Joined: 21-December 08
    Member: 4755
    Country: Sweden

Posted 16 September 2010 - 09:43 PM

View PostLegoFiend, on 16 September 2010 - 05:58 PM, said:

September 14 2010

EU Court: LEGO Group not allowed to register brick as trademark

etc...
Why did you post the entire press-release? And also, the link to the press release has allready been posted previously in this topic so that people could read it.
Eurobricks Digital Design Forum - for all your LDD and Ldraw cravings

#89 CommanderFox

CommanderFox

  • Can't remember his own name


    Posts: 3368
    Joined: 26-February 09
    Member: 5406
    Country: New Zealand

Posted 17 September 2010 - 12:20 AM

View PostKimT, on 14 September 2010 - 04:02 PM, said:

Do what?
Allow the Free Market and thus the competition that follows?
LEGO is double the US price in the EU.
I welcome this competition and loss of patent.
LEGO's quality has already been slipping the past few years and I think it's more a question of the Chinese factory using poorer plastic and the fact that TLG is testing out new plastic mixes.
It's been years since ABS was LEGO's only plastic.

Free Market ON! Now we just need the EU to skip the toll wall around Europe and open the borders for international trade.

Lower prices :wub:

In total agreement!  :thumbup:
Hopefully this will encourage Lego to bring their official stores to some countries who don't have them....NZ!

CF
My Brickshelf!. The Brick Hope.
Anime and Manga fan, feel free to discuss anything anime on my profile :)
                                          CommanderFox playing as Ollivander Dippet for Gryffindor in Harry Potter Wizards Duel!
Posted ImagePosted Image - Kiwi Bricks

#90 trueger

trueger

    Posts: 1
    Joined: 17-September 10
    Member: 13299

Posted 17 September 2010 - 12:22 AM

View PostCP5670, on 16 September 2010 - 03:27 AM, said:

It's used on the yellow Lego shopping bags, the ones you get if you buy stuff at a Lego store. I don't think I've seen it on actual boxes either.

The isometric red brick logo was on the 735 Basic set, and I think 715/725 as well.

#91 CP5670

CP5670

  • In search of litmus paper


    Posts: 2473
    Joined: 02-February 08
    Member: 2646
    Country: United States

Posted 17 September 2010 - 03:50 AM

View Posttrueger, on 17 September 2010 - 12:22 AM, said:

The isometric red brick logo was on the 735 Basic set, and I think 715/725 as well.

I can't see it on the box of my 735, but it did remind me of another place we used to see it everywhere. The System logo in the 90s had the brick on the T. TLG hasn't used the System branding in a long time though.

#92 Legoist

Legoist

    Posts: 581
    Joined: 25-February 09
    Member: 5397
    Country: Finland

Posted 17 September 2010 - 07:57 AM

View Postvexorian, on 14 September 2010 - 04:35 PM, said:

It is also a major statement to say that LEGO will be forced to compete with lower prices = worse quality. TLG's way to compete against megabloks in the US does not indicate that it is the way they compete...

Clearly, not all costumers want just lower prices. Else we would all be just happy with the clones already.

Exactly. Ask any AFOL why they would not buy clone brands, and the #1 reason is "quality". If Lego ever chooses to lower quality down towards the level of clone brands, they would lose the competition big time. There would be no reason left to favour Lego products except a vague emotional factor.

#93 Erynion

Erynion

    Posts: 80
    Joined: 23-May 10
    Member: 10877

Posted 17 September 2010 - 08:56 PM

View PostFront, on 14 September 2010 - 06:37 PM, said:

This thread is based on a misunderstanding about what the EU court has decided on.

The trial was a dispute about whether the 3D representation of a red 2x4 brick (the rendering in 2D of a brick from an isometric viewpoint) is a trademark of the LEGO company, and thereby something that other companies can't use in their marketing or any other material. The EU court does not recognize this image of a red 2x4 as a trade mark of the LEGO company.

It has absolutely nothing to do about whether the LEGO company can avoid other companies making bricks of any sort.

cheers
Erland, Part Design


Now I'm really confused  *huh*   :wacko:
:tongue:

Whatever this thread and that ruling is about, I think that LEGO is overpriced in Canada (probably the US too) and I'm shocked to hear that it's even worse in Europe.
And I'm disappointed in the lower quality of the collectible minifigs...

Edited by Erynion, 17 September 2010 - 08:57 PM.

Posted Image - - - - Posted Image - - - - Posted Image
-My Crownie spearmen FTW-
-fear my cavalry! (partly Crownie)-
-Robin Hood is taking a short break from being my avatar but will be back soon!-

#94 Allan

Allan

    Posts: 1
    Joined: 20-April 10
    Member: 10348

Posted 18 September 2010 - 04:59 PM

View PostKimT, on 14 September 2010 - 04:02 PM, said:

Do what?
Allow the Free Market and thus the competition that follows?
LEGO is double the US price in the EU.
I welcome this competition and loss of patent.
LEGO's quality has already been slipping the past few years and I think it's more a question of the Chinese factory using poorer plastic and the fact that TLG is testing out new plastic mixes.
It's been years since ABS was LEGO's only plastic.

Free Market ON! Now we just need the EU to skip the toll wall around Europe and open the borders for international trade.

Lower prices :wub:
Canada has had Mega Blocks for some time now and TLG has not lowered prices here. With our dollar so close to that of the US now we expected the prices to go down. I am told the prices would not go down here because our market and consumers are willing to pay these prices so ... good luck with the price decreases.

#95 Pack765

Pack765

    Posts: 20
    Joined: 28-August 10
    Member: 12914
    Country: USA

Posted 18 September 2010 - 11:12 PM

View PostAanchir, on 14 September 2010 - 06:08 PM, said:

Only problem with that is that Brickarms and Brickforge never intend to supplant LEGO. Their intent is to complement the existing LEGO selection. Moreover (as far as I know) both Brickarms and Brickforge are US-based companies. So if they were planning to go into production of actual "sets", they'd have already been free to do so.
You basically hit the nail on the head right there. This next quote is from a recent interview with Will.

Will said:

As for future Brickarms, I don’t expect to do anything mundane, like livestock or hairdos. We consider that the domain of Lego, and we try to stay away from their turf. Lego doesn’t want to do modern weapons or modern helmets, so we will fill that niche snugly!
Even though this is an attack on Brickforge, I think that they both follow the same philosophy, and they don't try to meddle in lego's affairs.

Edited by Pack765, 18 September 2010 - 11:15 PM.




Reply to this topic



  


0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users