Lepin owners lose to the LEGO Group in appeal against court ruling

The LEGO Group has won a final decision in China after the owners of clone brand Lepin appealed a court ruling.

An announcement from the LEGO Group reveals that the company has received “favourable final decisions” from the Guangzhou Intellectual Property Court in China. The company was facing appeals from defendants in multiple cases of intellectual property infringement, including those involving Lepin products.

In 18 rulings on copyright infringement, the court upheld the decisions that were made in November 2018. Shantou Meizhi Model Co., Ltd. and its affiliates have been found liable of manufacturing and selling Lepin products, which take LEGO designs and reproduce them. The LEGO Group’s designs have been ruled as artworks belonging to the company under China Copyright Law.

Actual designs and artwork for themes including NINJAGO, NEXO KNIGHTS and Legends of Chima have been “recognised by the court as products of certain influence in China” and are protected under the Anti-Unfair Competition Law in China.

Lepin raid 1

The defendants in the case, including Meizhi Model, must cease the infringing activities and pay the LEGO Group a total of RMB 4.7 million (approximately £500,000) in damages.

“Intellectual property rights are very important to the LEGO Group, and we constantly strive to enforce and protect our LEGO trademarks, copyrights, designs and patents,” says Robin Smith, LEGO Vice President and General Counsel, China & Asia Pacific. We are pleased with the court’s final decision and appreciate the efforts from all stakeholders in this case. It also shows the Chinese authorities’ commitment in creating a favourable business environment for multinational companies.”

In the statement, the LEGO Group has confirmed its commitment to pursuing cases in which the company’s intellectual property is infringed. There is an ongoing criminal case against Meizhi Model executives, who were arrested during a police raid that seized material demonstrating the scale of their operation.

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Graham was the BrickFanatics.com Editor up until November 2020. He has plenty of experience working on LEGO related projects. He has contributed to various websites and publications on topics including niche hobbies, the toy industry and education. Follw Graham on Twitter @grahamh100.

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