LEGO wins Minifigures trademark courtroom battle

The shape of LEGO's now iconic Minifigures will continue to be trademark protected following challenges from Best-Lock.
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LEGO has triumphed in a courtroom battle after it was ruled that the shape of its Minifigures will continue to be trademark protected.

The Danish toy company first registered its figures as a three dimensional trademark in 2000, but has faced challenges from competitors.

Best-Lock, which has sold figures similar to the LEGO brand since 1998, first attempted to get the trademark revoked in 2012.

The firm argued that the shape of LEGO Minifigures is determined by “the possibility of joining them to other interlocking building blocks for play purposes.”

According to trade mark attorney, Dominic Murphy of Withers & Rogers, to qualify for trade mark protection, a product must be distinctive and not have a purely functional use.

If the court had agreed with Best-Lock's case that the figures were building blocks, LEGO’s trademark would have been invalid, reports The Guardian.

However, the European Court of Justice rejected the argument on Tuesday, June 16th 2015, meaning LEGO’s figures will continue to be protected.

It ruled that the toys’ characteristics, such as holes in the feet and a protrusion on the head, did not obviously have a technical function.

“The result of that shape is simply to confer human traits on those figures,” said the European Court of Justice.

LEGO’s Peter Kjaer, said: “We are happy that the court has upheld the ruling of the previous two court instances, and that our European three-dimensional trademark for the world-known LEGO Minifigures has thus been confirmed.”

Meanwhile, chief executive of Best-Lock, Torsten Geller has said that the company will continue to sell its own figures and launch a further legal appeal against LEGO’s trademark.


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