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The LEGO Group takes civil actions against LEPIN

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From TLG:



Dear RLUG Ambassadors,

We would like to confirm that the LEGO Group have recently filed civil actions in China against the manufacturer and distributor of LEPIN/乐拼 branded construction toys. Our cases have been accepted by Chinese courts and are now pending for trials. We expect the 1st instance decision to be handed down in approximately one years’ time. Please note that LEPIN will not be legally barred from marketing and selling its products while the case is being heard by the courts.

We deeply appreciate and share the LEGO community's concern and frustration about passing-off or imitation of LEGO® products. We are committed to do whatever necessary to protect the LEGO brand and products against undue exploitation, and to minimize the risk of consumers being misled via improper use of LEGO Group intellectual property assets.

We want to thank all of you for your loyalty and support. Please feel free to share this message.

On behalf of the LEGO Group,
LCE

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I hope they win this but honestly it's so hard fighting agaisn't those chinese buisnesses manure outlets. 

Edited by RetroInferno

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Well, I doubt Lego would make the investment of pursuing a lawsuit if they didn't think they could win anything. I hope they do!

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1 hour ago, Umbra-Manis said:

Good to see this! Hopefully this will get enough pressure on the Chinese to start following copyright law. (I doubt it though) :look: 

Haha, I'd say let's place our expectations one at a time. :tongue:

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If they have any success it will be because they have a legitimate manufacturing interest in China. That being said Lepin will ship a ton of sets in a year, destroy the market for legitimate rare parts, and then move the molds to another factory and call it Lopin and the process will begin again. 

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Idd, well done! Even if they don't succeed, they give out a good signal.

Edited by Covi
Typo

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If LEGO and China succeeds in keeping Lepin from releasing any more sets, it's going to screw sellers who pre-sold new sets on sites like Aliexpress and eBay.

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6 hours ago, BrickHat said:

Well, I doubt Lego would make the investment of pursuing a lawsuit if they didn't think they could win anything. I hope they do!

Win or lose or draw, you should show you are making an effort to protect your IP.   Not doing so can indicate you don't care and it could impact your future court cases.

With all the LEGO I've been buying, LEGO should be able to hire a good legal team. :wink:

10 minutes ago, Lego Otaku said:

If LEGO and China succeeds in keeping Lepin from releasing any more sets, it's going to screw sellers who pre-sold new sets on sites like Aliexpress and eBay.

Lepin can continue to sell while the case is before the courts. There is no court injunction to stop them from doing so at the moment.  Sellers are not screwed yet.

 

 

 

 

 

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I hope TLG wins this case. It's also a pivotal case because (1) it shows that TLG wants to get rid of the counterfeiters and (2) this will make other counterfeiters rethink of directly ripping off LEGO, if not directly eliminate them.

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3 hours ago, makoy said:

I hope TLG wins this case. It's also a pivotal case because (1) it shows that TLG wants to get rid of the counterfeiters and (2) this will make other counterfeiters rethink of directly ripping off LEGO, if not directly eliminate them.

I think it'd be more like victory by attrition.  LEGO has considerable assest and can afford to drag anyone to court over every little incident.  Counterfeiter like Lepin may not have much in their assest and could be bankrupted before the court settles the case or if they survived and the court doesn't rule in LEGO's favor, they may not have much money left to survive for long.

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As someone mentioned, this lawsuit in itself is probably a lost cause for TLG, but you can't pursue a ban on importing such goods in USA & Europe before you try to intervene at the source, even though everyone knows how things work in China.

Please stop using "competitor" to refer to L€pin.  Mattel is a competitor, this is 100% forgery. 


I wish a lot of luck to LEGO in this cause and hope the worldwide fan community will work together in helping the cause by not promoting and sharing links to dealers under the pretence of analysing and discussing knockoff brands, which is currently going wild on this forum.

Every mention of the word L€pin and shared link or photo makes the forger more popular and encourages the market.

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15 hours ago, Aethersprite said:

Good to hear! Is there any way we can read/have access to Lego's submissions against Lepin?

Well, it doesn't seem like they've announced this via a press release, am I wrong? So I think they just want to make us aware of what they're doing, but not going fully public with the case.

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7 hours ago, Sven F said:

which is currently going wild on this forum.

I wouldn't say one thread is "going wild", but I agree it's not the best thing to be discussing or promoting here.

16 hours ago, Lego Otaku said:

it's going to screw sellers who pre-sold new sets on sites like Aliexpress and eBay.

This is the risk they take by selling obvious counterfeit goods, grey market wares, whatever you want to call it. I feel no sympathy for them.

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I feel a little (just a little) conflicted. On the one side it's completely unethical to steal another company's designs that took money and time to make. On the other hand, a lot of times they rip off sets that Lego is not selling anymore, providing a means to those who can't afford the aftermarket and don't mind the brand as much. Either way, they are objectively stealing from Lego.

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Lego have already lost. Even if they win, lepin have at least a year to sell their copies of every modular, Cinderella's caste, the UCS MF, GBHQ, etc. And if there is a still a market for knock-off flagship sets, another company will arise and fulfill the demand, and on and on. Lego may win every battle they fight, but they have already lost the war.

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The price that a set goes for on eBay can be artificially inflated by shill bidding (bid history on 10179's is loaded with new and 0 feedback bidders) and that raises the bricklink value. For obvious reasons I am against KO's but some of the issue with demand for these KO sets is the artificially high price of the real thing. For over a year I watched eBay daily on listings for 10179's and the MO was the same almost every time. You have real people bidding up to $1200 or so and then the price vaults to around $2000 thanks to 0 feedback or new members.

Another concern - Say I have a BL 10179 that currently has black masts, black levers, and a blank dish. Now for $150 I can obtain near perfect KO elements and sale it as the real thing. The dish will be an obvious fake but the mast and levers don't have Lego stamped on them to my knowledge. The transformers community went through this recently with the massive counterfeiting of figures. On whole they were obviously fake but the guns and accessories were spot on most of the time, and that's what gives value. A lot of people are going to buy these for the mast and levers and that is a problem for all of us unless there will be a way to tell them apart. I find anyone's lack of concern for this problem disturbing.

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Perhaps it is the production of sets that are still current that is the last straw to break the camel's back.  That would mean sets like Cinderella's Castle, Brick Bank, and the Ghostbusters HQ because they are the ones most in direct competition with Lego.  I cannot see the knockoffs of the retired ones near as harmful because Lego simply does not sell them anymore.  I am not saying that it is any less wrong to copy something not currently in production, just that it probably does not have as much an impact on the bottom line.  With a year to go until the decision, that will give Lepin plenty of time to sell sets (as MAB indicated) even if the court does rule against them.  

Lepin's target market appears to be AFOLS and TFOLS who either missed out on previous sets or simply cannot afford the current ones.  They are producing modulars, UCS sets, and the more expensive popular sets like the Ninjago temple and the Haunted House. I am somewhat surprised they have not tried to bring back some of the old Classic Space or Castle sets--that would really make things interesting.     

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