LEGO has won a landmark case in China against rival products which it said were almost identical to one of its ranges.
It is the first time the Danish firm has succeeded in a copyright claim in China, where copies of its popular building bricks and minifigures have been a recurrent problem.
China Shantou Intermediate People’s Court ruled that certain products marketed under the brand Bela infringed LEGO’s copyright, and selling the products constituted unfair competition.
Two Chinese companies which were manufacturing the copies must now change their packaging and logos as a result.
According to the Telegraph, the victory follows an earlier ruling from Beijing Higher Court which found that LEGO’s name and logo are well-known trademarks in China.
Peter Thorslund Kjaer, vice president of legal affairs for the LEGO Group, said: “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.”
Following the announcement that LEGO’s chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstrop was ‘pressing the reset button for the entire group,’ in order to stem declining sales, the Chinese market has become key to LEGO’s future success.
Knudstrop has spoken in the past of his desire to make LEGO the country’s number one toy brand and it opened its first factory in China a year ago.
The aim is to utilise the world’s second largest economy to offset slower sales in Europe and the US.