The Lego has won landmark breach of copyright case in China against manufacturers whose products, marketed under the Bela brand, were found to be almost identical to the famous toys from Denmark, thereby infringing the toymaker's copyrights.
China Shantou Intermediate People’s Court ruled that certain Bela products infringed upon the copyrights of the Lego Group, and that manufacturing and selling of those products constituted acts of unfair competition.
The two Chinese companies manufacturing the copies must now change their packaging and logos as a result.
According to a report published by UK newspaper, The Telegraph, the victory follows an earlier ruling from Beijing Higher Court that found that LEGO’s name and logo are well-known trademarks in China.
The court also decided that the unique appearance of the Lego Friends range was also protected by China’s anti-unfair competition laws.
The case is the first time Lego has succeeded in a copyright claim in China, where copies of its popular building bricks and minifigures have been a recurrent problem.
“We think this is very important for the continued development of a favourable business environment for all companies operating in the Chinese market,” Peter Thorslund Kjær, Lego Group legal affairs VP stated.
“We will continue our efforts to ensure that parents and children are able to make informed choices when they are buying toy products, and that they are not misled by attempts of irresponsible companies to make toy products appear as something they are not,” he said.