Is A Moron In A Hurry Confused Between Plastic Building Blocks And A Youth Empowerment Charity?

from the stack-those-children-up dept

Tom Kintop was the first of a few of you to send in the news that LEGO, makers of the plastic bricks -- and rather well known for its overly aggressive intellectual property enforcement attempts, which often get shot down -- has sued a small non-profit organization in Minneapolis called Project Legos, where the Legos stands for Leadership, Empowerment, Growth, Opportunity, Sustainability. While both are targeted at children, it's hard to see that the two compete in any way in the same "market." It's difficult to see how there's any confusion here, or how it does LEGO any good suing a small charitable organization. They should send over some LEGO bricks and apologize.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 5:32pm

    there is no way to know if lego the plastic brick company is involved. if the project legos people do something stupid, will it reflect poorly on lego the building block company? they should just call it project gelos and not have to worry. the appear to be playing on a word people know to get themselves heard.

     

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  2.  
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    asdf, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 5:35pm

    this one

    This one actually makes a little more sense than most of them. If you were to mention something about Project Legos, I would assume you were talking about something similar to LEGO Mindstorms. Actually, google "Project Legos". The organization is first in the list, but everything that follows is LEGOs projects. Its not necessarily infringement, just confusing for both parties. If someone asked me to make a contribution to Project Legos, I would laugh. Why don't they just rearrange the letters? It wouldn't change the meaning of their organization. They're obviously using that particular combination because it attracts attention.

     

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  3.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 5:49pm

    Re: this one

    Guess that answers that question...

     

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  4.  
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    www.eZee.se (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:11pm

    First article that i disagree with you Mike...

    Project Legos would make me turn and take a second, third or fourth look and i would associate it with Lego - a brand whose products i grew up playing with.

     

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  5.  
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    Danny (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:38pm

    This moron is a little slow

    If I were to see a Childrens' Charity called Project Legos, I would assume a connection with the building blocks.

    So, while it would be nice if LEGO cut a charity some slack, I think they are on solid IP ground here.

     

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  6.  
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    Danny (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:40pm

    LOOK HERE

    Perhaps they should call the organization:

    Opportunity, Growth, Leadership, Empowerment, Sustainability.

    That ought to make the kiddie watchers happy :-/

     

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  7.  
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    Chucklebutte, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 6:57pm

    ugh

    Have to agree with the rest of the posters~

     

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  8.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: this one

    You're right. How could someone mistake 'Lego for children' with 'LEGO for children'?? I mean, they sound the same and all, but if they can't hear the capitalized letters in my voice, they must be some kind of idiot.

     

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  9.  
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    George Dunn, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 7:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: this one

    Adding to what others have said, a simple google search shows that there are in fact LEGO sponsored charitable events - some of which are called "LEGO Charity" this or that. Firther, in fact there appears to be a LEGO charitable (or at least quasi-charitable) entity http://www.legochildrensfund.org/. So the simple answer is that not only a moron in a hurry, but even a genius moving at a leisurely pace might think Project Legos was connected with LEGO. This one to me actually makes sense.

     

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  10.  
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    John Houston (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:02pm

    Bullying

    Harrods once sued a shop in New Zealand for using the Harrods name so a town, and all the shops in the town, changed their names to Harrods. Harrods (London) was embarrassed so gave up on the law suit.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otorohanga

     

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  11.  
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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:18pm

    Re: LOOK HERE

    Fun Urban Children Kinetically Learning Ecological Growth Opportunities.

    Who would have a problem with that?

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 26th, 2010 @ 8:23pm

    mr masnick misses again.

     

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  13.  
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    Daemon_ZOGG (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:03pm

    "They should send over some LEGO bricks and apologize."

    I fully agree with that statement. Lego Building Brick Corp is doing the most negative possible thing to sue a charitable organization. They might come out on top if they reacted in a more positive way by contributing, rather than being a selfish scrooge. They're sounding more and more like Disney Corp. NOT the company I grew up with. };p
    ;)

     

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  14.  
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    harvd (profile), Mar 26th, 2010 @ 9:59pm

    This is not even a close question...

    Let me get this straight...

    Mattel sells toys.

    Mattel has a charity foundation called Mattel Foundation which is focused on helping kids.

    Some charity comes along that is apparently also focused on helping kids(and knowing of the Mattel name and the fact that it provides toys to kids and perhaps even knowing of the existence of the Mattel Foundation) decides for whatever reason to call itself Project Mattel.

    And you guys don't see the potential for confusion?

    Assuming the above is correct, if there ever was a reason for trademark laws, this is it - this isn't just confusing to a moron in a hurry issue, this is, as stated above, confusing even to a genius moving at a leisurely pace.

    Again, if the facts stated above are correct, LEGO had no choice but to act.

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 5:56am

    Mike, about 80% of the time I agree with you. Definitely a member of the choir you preach to.

    This one though.... I think you're wrong. A children's charity called Project Legos? Like the other commenters I would assume it is toy related and I'm not even in much of a hurry.

     

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  16.  
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    Vidiot (profile), Mar 27th, 2010 @ 10:19am

    Poor word-order choice = infringing acronym

    I was hoping their name had something poignant to do with the Spanish "legos" (the laity) or Greek (to speak or teach); but failing that, sorry, my charitable friends.

     

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  17.  
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    Richard Corsale, Mar 27th, 2010 @ 11:52am

    Re: Re: LOOK HERE

    bwahahaha!

     

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  18.  
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    Paul Alan Levy (profile), Mar 28th, 2010 @ 6:25am

    Lego wins this one

    The complaint (which should be available for free to anyone using RECAP) recites the existence of the Lego Children's Fund as well as a variety of other services aimed at child development, such as child care centers and educational software. So there is probably competition in the same market. Moreover, LEGO no doubt qualifies as famous, so there is a sound dilution claim here (also pleaded in the complaint).

    Strikes me that the founders of the small charity figured they were being clever by choosing an acronym that played off LEGO's name, but in the end they were just too clever by half.

     

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  19.  
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    Richard Cant (profile), Mar 28th, 2010 @ 12:23pm

    Re:

    the appear to be playing on a word people know to get themselves heard.

    Cobblers!

    1 It isn't actually the same word.

    2. It isn't actually the same word.

    3. It isn't actually the same word

    Lego don't have a leg to stand on. If they did then that last sentence would have been trademark infringement - which it isn't

    Suitable course of action for Lego (to cover that "defending trademark" nonsense)

    Sponsor Legos - using the money you would have spent on the case.

     

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  20.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 28th, 2010 @ 12:37pm

    Re:

    Project Legos would make me turn and take a second, third or fourth look and i would associate it with Lego - a brand whose products i grew up playing with.

    Well you're a moron then!

    To me it is obviously different. LEGOS is obviously pronounced like leg oss rather than leg oh s so I wouldn't associate it with the tou at all.

    If you have a short trademark like LEGO then you make life really difficult for the rest of us if you attempt to enforce it this strictly.

     

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  21.  
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    Richard (profile), Mar 29th, 2010 @ 7:08am

    Re: This moron is a little slow

    I think they are on solid IP ground here.

    No they aren't. You have to be in the same line of business - and Legos isn't supplying toys.

    Look at the brand name "Lotus". It can mean a car, a piece of computer software, a water garden supplies company or your local Chinese restaurant. The car company has always been pretty aggressive about its trademark - but they never sued the (now defunct) software company or the garden supplies company or any restaurant.

    Being "something to do with children" just isn't close enough. If it came to trial they would lose - but I guess they think the nonprofit can't afford the risk.

     

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  22.  
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    known coward, Mar 29th, 2010 @ 8:22am

    I am a moron in a hurry

    1. can someone get rid of the maidi6699, i really do not want to go shopping right now.

    2. This moron is confused. I see it from LEGO's point of view, if this turns out to be a false charity (like the meeks haitian relief fund we have here in NY). It would reflect poorly on the LEGO cor> My fellow rushing moron's would associate the charity with the company. Maybe they should call it "project megablocks".

     

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  23.  
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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), Mar 29th, 2010 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re:

    Hey! I take offense to that.

     

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  24.  
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    Just Another Moron in a Hurry (profile), Mar 29th, 2010 @ 8:43am

    Suggestive Critisism

    Yeaup. I would certainly be confused.

    Suggestion: If they were to change their name to Project L.E.G.O., it would make me pause from my constant hurry and wonder if there might be a different meaning here instead of instantly assuming they meant the toy blocks.

     

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  25.  
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    Ben (profile), Mar 29th, 2010 @ 9:11am

    LEGOS LEGO

    What I find amusing is that the LEGO Corporation pushes the fact that the plural of LEGO is LEGO and *not* LEGOs; (a fact my LEGO maniac sons remind me when I slip up).

    The Minneapolis organization should just spell it with the periods to indicate that it is an acronym (L.E.G.O.S.)

    Unfortunately for the earlier suggestion (Opportunity, Growth, Leadership, Empowerment, Sustainability), OGLE is probably trademarked by LEGO as well, since it is the name of the master villain in many of their product adventures...

     

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  26.  
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    Whisk33, Mar 29th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    Re: LEGOS LEGO

    though, the claim that Ogle (an organization) and Ogle (master Villain extraordinaire) will confuse people is probably significantly less likely than two organizations. I would imagine You would have a much tougher case to make.

    It seems obvious to me that Legos chose the name because of the LEGO company. They could easily have chosen a different acronym order and I suspect they purposely chose this one due to the LEGO similarities.

     

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