Once Again, Lego Learns That It Cannot Trademark An Interconnecting Brick

from the can't-compete,-huh? dept

For many years now, we’ve covered Lego’s quixotic quest to “trademark” its famous brick design. It hasn’t gone well. Back in 2005, we wrote about how Canada rejected a trademark claim it made against a competitor, MegaBlok. But Lego didn’t stop there, and tried to go after Mega Blok in Europe. In 2008, it lost in Europe as well. Rather than recognize the situation and focus on actually competing in the marketplace, Lego kept appealing. However, SteelWolf points us to the news that the European Court of Justice has upheld that 2008 ruling, meaning, once again, Lego has been told you can’t trademark interconnecting bricks. And to think, all that time, Lego’s lawyers could have just been building something cool. In the meantime, it still seems silly that the company was so focused on this. It has built up a strong fan base, and a great brand, without having to resort to trademark tricks to eliminate competitors.

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Companies: lego

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Comments on “Once Again, Lego Learns That It Cannot Trademark An Interconnecting Brick”

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Craig (profile) says:

Lego litigation and product pricing

Lego bricks are a premium toy, and as such are very expensive. Maybe if they quit the fcuking litigating their prices could drop a bit. (This is the sound of me holding my breath.) But what lawyer is going to talk her boss into NOT litigating? It’s called job security, right?

Lego NEEDS the competition to evolve, so they should just focus on the people that do buy their kits and not worry what anyone else does. You only have to use those cheap knock-off versions of Lego bricks to realize that Lego has the superior product. Besides, Lego builders all over the world have more ideas than all of the engineers at Lego. Connect with them and you’ll do just fine.

rabbit wise (profile) says:

Re: Re:

*foams at mouth*

I have never bought or received one of their licensed kits, however, the Lego store near me just put in a wall of drawers of just plain old blocks for sale. I have a picture of it. It is my wallpaper. *sigh* I love Legos.

I think I’m going to go home and build Luxor. No, the temple complex in Egypt not … the temple complex in Vegas.

Christopher Gizzi (profile) says:

Same problem: litigate instead of innovate

Lego has deep problems that are masked by a well recognized brand. If you haven’t noticed, they’ve released more “licensed” kits for movies than any original design. They’ve hit the jackpot with the Star Wars sets and have had great success with Spider-Man and others.

Before that, Lego was struggling to stay profitable; sales were down compared to earlier years. Perhaps it was a combination of competition from other block makers or with interactive devices from Nintendo and Sony. But whatever the reason, Lego can’t seem to innovate and adapt with changing times.

Sure, those licensed tie-ins are hugely profitable but it’s their only real trick right now. And I think they know that. Otherwise, they would be confident in their reputation as a brick maker.


As a HUGE Lego fan as a child, I am really upset that the licensing has gotten so big for them. I’m all for special & rare sets but the fun I had with their blocks came from being able to create my own world. The special pieces and branded parts that come with those sets wouldn’t let me be as creative.

Matt (profile) says:

Re: Same problem: litigate instead of innovate

I’d say the bigger problem is the lack of flexibility in the newer sets (including a bunch of non-licensed sets).

My son has a firetruck set and it can build a firetruck and not much else. I may be misremembering my childhood, but I recall the sets had a lot more generic parts. The specialized parts can be nice but they make it a lot harder to build something completely from one’s imagination.

Chronno S. Trigger (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I have the same complaint as you do. They don’t make you build the complex peaces they just make one peace to do the same thing. I’ve built sets that had a few thousand peaces, but today it would be only a few hundred and much smaller due to the custom peaces that can’t be used anywhere else. I still have my giant box of Legos.

I may have to make a visit to Toys R Us to see if they have any good sets now.

DL says:

Yeah but, Lego has a superior product

While I agree with this article. I really have to stress that if you have every played with any of Lego’s competitors, their bricks are much less quality built. They break apart when just nudged and can’t support the larger projects. Growing up we had a huge pile of Lego, but there were some of these blocks mixed. My brother and I would (and still do) refuse to use any of these blocks in our projects.

Jack Thompson (profile) says:

As a long-term Lego fan it disappoints me to see them descending to such tactics.

Lego is a good example of the execution being more important than IP for business success. Lego bricks are extremely well made to very tight tolerances (certainly tighter than any other childrens toy). The fact that millions upon millions of plastic bricks have been manufactured that are ALL compatible with each other and will interconnect strongly is quite incredible. Their competitors simply don’t match such quality.

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