metalgeekzy

Do you only buy lego?

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Thanks for the conversation. To me, the most important thing is that we all encourage creativity and bring more joy to the world however we can. There seem to be good arguments on both sides of this issue.

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13 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

I believe there was documentation that arose in the Tyco/TLG lawsuit of the 80s, where TLG had to admit that they had taken the original idea from the Kiddicraft design. As in, it was teased out in a court of law. That doesn't sound like permission to me...

https://www.bailii.org/uk/cases/UKPC/1988/3.html

It is a little dry, but there is no mention of permission, simply that Interlego purchased any remaining patents from the Page estate holders. 

Thanks for sharing this, it was (unironically) a fascinating read - even if I don't have enough technical or legal knowledge to understand most of it.

That doesn't mention getting permission from Kiddicraft, but I don't think it's conclusive either. The case was more concerned with Lego versus Tyco, and Kiddicraft's involvement seems relevant only in establishing the dates certain bricks were first designs, the extent of Lego's modifications to Page's designs, and that Lego held the trademarks at the time of the case. Lego getting permission beforehand from Kiddicraft, or not, isn't relevant to the case so it wouldn't be mentioned.

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21 hours ago, SpacePolice89 said:

I think that would backfire very badly, it would lead to the closure of many Lego plants and the Chinese CCP run companies taking over the market. It is best to support Lego while at the same time trying to influence them from within to make some of the sets and themes that we want.

Buying a product doesn't make you any more an insider than anyone else. They may have changed the VIP name to imply that, but we are not able to influence them from within. They have to make what you want for you to be able to send the message that you will buy it. If they don't make what you want, there is no way to 'support' them.

 

19 hours ago, Peppermint_M said:

I will buy any baseplates, accessories and cool themes that LEGO don't/won't produce and carry on enjoying building :grin: 

 

Same here. I used to buy lots of parts from brickforge and brickwarriors. Accessories for historical figures like Spartans and Romans, fantasy for elves and dwarves in LOTR style. All before LEGO started to do those. LEGO doing them was bittersweet. Nice that you could get official items, but not so good that they cut down sales for the entrepreneurs that used to fill the area before LEGO did the same ideas (whether it was an independent decision or they took the idea). I'll still buy AliE figures for the accessories, especially if I am going to cut, glue or paint them anyway.

I bought a few PF style motors a few weeks back. If LEGO won't sell them any more, I'm not paying 8-10 times the price for an official one. Even the knockoff ones are expensive for what they are.

Similarly I understand people buying baseplates in other colours. The clutch is just as good as LEGO and if LEGO won't sell that colour, go for it.

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2 minutes ago, MAB said:

Nice that you could get official items, but not so good that they cut down sales for the entrepreneurs that used to fill the area before LEGO did the same ideas

That said, if you accept the premise that it's not wrong for other companies/independent sellers to make Lego-compatible bricks and parts of their own, then Lego are also allowed to make parts that enter similar domains to independent sellers. (Also, at least in my experience, a lot of the custom parts seem quite flimsy and/or have awkward clutches - I once spent nearly half an hour wrestling to pull a head free from a custom bonnet I'd got from one of the custom sites)

It's great that these niches are filled but at the same time I will always welcome an official Lego piece that fills the gap.

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Hee hee, I am just remembering the insanely ingenious 1x5 plate, TLG tried to patent fairly recently - I still can't believe they actually tried (patent it, not making it :pir-wink:, as a) other competitors had them for years in their inventory and b) the necessary inventive threshold you need to cross to secure the patent rights, was a bit underwhelming).

Yes, competition even improved the plate selection palette. Before we had 1x1, 1x2, 1x3, 1x4, 1x6, 1x8, 1x10 ... now we have in addition 1x5 - just imagine: 1x7, 1x9, 1x11 ... crazy! But no patents will be filed before their arrival, I believe :pir-laugh:

Best,
Thorsten

 

 

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15 minutes ago, Toastie said:

Hee hee, I am just remembering the insanely ingenious 1x5 plate, TLG tried to patent fairly recently - I still can't believe they actually tried (patent it, not making it :pir-wink:, as a) other competitors had them for years in their inventory and b) the necessary inventive threshold you need to cross to secure the patent rights, was a bit underwhelming).

Hehe, i still remember this episode :laugh:

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1 hour ago, MAB said:

Buying a product doesn't make you any more an insider than anyone else. They may have changed the VIP name to imply that, but we are not able to influence them from within. They have to make what you want for you to be able to send the message that you will buy it. If they don't make what you want, there is no way to 'support' them.

I have never claimed anything like that. I regularly get surveys and questionnaires from Lego and related organizations like Bricklink and that's a great way to voice one's opinion. I even got one from Pick a Brick why I bought pieces instead of regular sets. There I explained that because they don't sell small and mid sized Pirate, Castle and Space sets I have to buy pieces and make my own instead. And by supporting sets like the Galaxy Explorer, Lion Knights Castle and Eldorado Fortress it's possible to show them that the classic themes are still very popular. It must be working to a certain degree since we have been getting several classic theme sets from Creator and Ideas lately.

Edited by SpacePolice89

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2 hours ago, Toastie said:

just imagine: 1x7, 1x9, 1x11

I don't think we need those (well, maybe 1x7, but the longer you get the less use-cases that require a specific length of plate). What we do need imo is a brick and a tile to match the plate. I'm still surprised a 1x5 brick hasn't surfaced, I figured it was a certainty when the plate came out.

(That said, I don't have any room on my bricks shelf for a box of 1x5s, so if they did release such a part I'd have to reconfigure my Lego room!)

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12 hours ago, Alexandrina said:

That said, if you accept the premise that it's not wrong for other companies/independent sellers to make Lego-compatible bricks and parts of their own, then Lego are also allowed to make parts that enter similar domains to independent sellers. 

Of course. Although even there, LEGO can mess up. The aforementioned Romans and Spartans,  for example, they introduce nice parts which make the independents' parts look out of place, then don't do anything with them. I can then understand the independents moving mainly to areas LEGO won't touch such as modern warfare.

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4 hours ago, MAB said:

Of course. Although even there, LEGO can mess up. The aforementioned Romans and Spartans,  for example, they introduce nice parts which make the independents' parts look out of place, then don't do anything with them. I can then understand the independents moving mainly to areas LEGO won't touch such as modern warfare.

I agree with you, the Romans in particular are a missed opportunity - especially since so many of the necessary parts exist/have existed in Lego form already. A theme based on the topic would I think be very popular and lead to plenty of sales from people army-building centurions. (And from me hoarding stolae torsos from PAB)

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On 11/13/2023 at 10:44 PM, Alexandrina said:

so if they did release such a part I'd have to reconfigure my Lego room!

Well, change is what keeps the worlds spinning, stagnancy is the pathway to falling into oblivion :pir-wink:

Honestly, it is the same here; not necessarily with LEGO bricks and plates; it is rather my goal of assembling all 1980s to 1990s computers I had and dreamt of, connecting them all to two interfaces A (9750's), and letting me play with them, is what drives me nuts: Sawdust everywhere, result looked good (and enthusiasm faded quickly) - just to figure out: The Amstrad PCW 9256 my wife and I had back then (and I trashed long ago :pir-murder:) is still available ... got hold of this beauty, my daughter will collect it on her way "home" :pir-wub:  on Thursday and then: Out with the power tools, never expected that to happen ... sawdust will be everywhere ...

Change is fun. The goal after all the many changes is to "having" something "perfect", but it simply never happens. Chasing the perfect "arrangement" is just another phrase for change, I believe.

For me, change is the driving force. As is playing with LEGOsss :pir-skel:

So: Let them make the 1x5 bricks and force you to make changes :pir-sweet:

All the best,
Thorsten 

Edited by Toastie

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14 minutes ago, Toastie said:

Change is fun. The goal after all the many changes is to "having" something "perfect", but it simply never happens. Chasing the perfect "arrangement" is just another phrase for change, I believe

I can toast to that! :pir-huzzah2:

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To answer the original question: No, I don't only buy Lego, but sometimes it is given to me, by friends and family, and even by TLG.

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Yes, I only buy original Lego. I tried other brands/manufacturers but I was not convinced by the quality of their bricks. I decided to stay a purist.

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Since the immense quality drop I noticed on quite a few Lego Sets, I tried other brands and was pleasantly surprised.

 

Wange, Panlos, Cobi, Mould King - not only can you buy sets you dont get from Lego (many Pirates, Western, Knight Sets etc), but the quality oftentimes is wayyyy better than Lego, maybe even better than Lego in its Prime. And the price is always lower.

Most sets I buy are still Lego, but everytime there is ample room for criticizing. The only thing Lego ist still top of its game is the iconic minifigure. Not because of the quality, this is nothing but a shameful topic (for TLG, at least), but because of the form itself. But then again, cheap minifigs bought from certain international shops aren't that bad either. To put some (subjective) numbers on the table:

30-50% lower quality, but 80-90% lower price.^^

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Wange bricks has not only moulds Lego still doesn't copy, but also good quality of plastic

I like Ausini for having, farm and trains sets in a affordable prices

Mega has the problem that every time they release a new bunch of sets they change the scale and the form of the figures

Cobi military sets are wonderful 

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3 hours ago, neithan said:

 but the quality oftentimes is wayyyy better than Lego [...]

Most sets I buy are still Lego, but everytime there is ample room for criticizing. The only thing Lego is still top of its game is the iconic minifigure. Not because of the quality, this is nothing but a shameful topic (for TLG, at least), but because of the form itself. But then again, cheap minifigs bought from certain international shops aren't that bad either.

What do you mean by "wayyyy better"? It seems very subjective. 

Also, when you say "cheap minifigs bought from certain shops", you happen to realise you are buying illegal counterfeits, right? 

 

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57 minutes ago, Horation said:

It seems very subjective

Oh, it sure is, but also the other way around; just because a piece of ABS comes from the market leader and has a LEGO logo printed on its studs or elsewhere does not make it automatically superior. It may feel that way - but that is also "subjective". I have the impression that folks arguing about ABS piece quality TLG vs "The Dark Side" never (or rarely) had a piece from alternative sources in their hands. There is crap out there (children will surely have fun with!) and there is superior stuff out there.

I hear: "OK, define superior" Now, that is subjective :pir-laugh:: Some say: "Bad, bad, bad: I barely couldn't get the plates apart!" Others claim: "The clutch power is insane, this model will last forever!" The former wanting to rebuild a thousand times, the latter assembling a nitty-gritty shelf model ... It all depends. Been there, done all of that, I am old.

Regarding the minifigs: Patents stills active; and that's it for me: Hands off "illegal copies".

The thing for me is: When patents run out, it becomes totally legal to totally copy that stuff. And sell it for a much cheaper price, >provided you can<. Believe me, the development costs the original inventor has invested some 20 years ago, have either been compensator for multiple thousand times, or a) the invention was not as cool as thought, b) marketing sucked during that time, or c) they simply did not get it right. When, after 20+ years, a competitor shows up and says: I can make that way cheaper - they have to invest as well: Machinery (highly precise molding stuff, right ABS formulas, the hole shoo bang). And when the original inventor has not learned how to improve or adapt or whatever, then, well - too bad! Welcome to the real world. The world, by the way, in which you made billions of surplus for decades.

Conclusion: I am browsing the BB website for all sorts of generic pieces. And rarely order from TLG. In contrast, when it comes to high-quality stuff like PBricks, PoweredUp (yes, I truly believe this is very high quality stuff. Not the crappy apps - TLG never made nice software - but there are alternatives, which totally unfold the power of PUp), I visit BL. The real market prices, not the totally out of control TLG prices they float on their website. 

But: No minifig ... cheap copies. This is not, how it is meant to work. The moment these patents run out - and they will for sure, all floodgates will open. In the meantime, TLG should make something new, patent it and rake in money. They have the tools, they have the talent (https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/0d992b79-8cf0-4da3-8e3b-6cbcdaecf9fb)

Best regards,
Thorsten

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25 minutes ago, Toastie said:

But: No minifig ... cheap copies. This is not, how it is meant to work. The moment these patents run out - and they will for sure, all floodgates will open.

That's why the minfig is protected as a 3D trademark. The patents must have ran out long ago but a 3D trademark lasts... forever?!

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37 minutes ago, Yperio_Bricks said:

The patents must have ran out long ago but a 3D trademark lasts... forever?!

Could very well be - there are a lot of dirty tricks in this world.

It is bizarre: The number one dominator in ABS brick world is relying on 3D trademarks. Well. It appears as if nothing much advanced, back in the secure days. The issue is: Can it? Without dirty tricks? ABS pieces defined to the very micron? Is there something on the back burner? The "super plate"? Or beam? I believe not. So it is all about sets, isn't it? Imagination. Creativity - and yes, pricing. But that is not the comfort zone anymore, it was in the past.

On the other hand: TLG securely does well. Hopefully, its not a bubble. They tend to burst.

Best,
Thorsten

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6 minutes ago, Toastie said:

Could very well be - there are a lot of dirty tricks in this world.

Why exactly is that a dirty trick for you?

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On 8/14/2023 at 5:35 PM, SpacePolice89 said:

I buy only authentic Lego products, new or used. I believe other companies have no right to steal Lego's work. And Lego bricks sold in Europe are mostly made in Denmark or Hungary while the competitors mainly manufacture in low cost countries with sweatshop factories. I know Lego also has factories in low cost countries but they treat their employees well also in those countries. The only exception is custom sails and flags or reproduction of old sails/flags that are not available anymore. The same goes for ropes and string.

Sweatshops, huh???
Please tell me what this factory owned by GoBricks is then?

Steal???
You do know that the underlying TLG patent to the brick expired in 1978 and fundamentally in 2011?
And that it was Kiddicraft who invented the actual brick?

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1 hour ago, Toastie said:

But: No minifig ... cheap copies. This is not, how it is meant to work. The moment these patents run out - and they will for sure, all floodgates will open. In the meantime, TLG should make something new, patent it and rake in money. They have the tools, they have the talent.

I doubt they can replace the minifig with something new. It represents LEGO too much now that they could not change it. The replacement of the old greys 20 years ago would be nothing compared to if they changed the design of the minifig. Even a small change like using realistic shaped hands or heads could kill their sales.

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17 minutes ago, MAB said:

Even a small change like using realistic shaped hands or heads could kill their sales.

Yes. That's all there is.

Best,
Thorsten

19 minutes ago, Black Falcon said:

Why exactly is that a dirty trick for you?

Claiming the minifig is a "3D trademark". Just google it: Trademark and 3D. It is absurd. But: Totally legal, no doubts! You know that there are more lawyers in this world, than products invented.

But again, folks: I do buy (erratically, not reasonably) TLGs minifig "bags". Not knowing, what pops up. Its fun. Because I have the luck to have some Euros left to pay for that fun. My family also gives them to me :pir-love:.

Best,
Thorsten

 

 

 

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