The Lego Group has just won a court case against Lepin, one of the most prolific Chinese manufacturers of cloned Lego sets. Lepin has been in operation for a number of years, taking Lego's trademarked brands and recreating them to sell at much lower prices. Even the packaging and branding is often a direct copy.
However, after Lego filed a lawsuit against the company, Lepin has been instructed to pay Lego a damages fee of 15,000,000 RMB (around £1,700,000). Lepin has been given no opportunity to appeal against the court's decision. The court also laid out a set of instructions that Lepin must follow in order to continue operating as a business. As quoted from CMI, a blog dedicated to reporting on Lego clone brands, the instructions are as follows:
1. Stop infringing registered trademarks of Lego.
2. Stop infringing non-registered trademark of “Nexo Knights”.
3. Stop inappropriate commercial activities including:
3.1 Stop using branding of “LEGO”, or similar, confusing wordings such as “LEPIN”
3.2 Stop using Ninjago, Chima, Nexo Knights and lookalike wordings.
4. Delete and stop distributing contents in Weixin, QQ and other media that will infringe copyrights of LEGO.
5. To put a notice on http://www.wjyt-china.org on copyright infringement.
6. Compensate LEGO RMB 15 million.
7. Pay the full legal cost.
Interestingly, the rules demand that they must change the brand name from "Lepin" along with ceasing to use Lego's own character brands – Chima, Ninjago and Nexo Knights. There's nothing in those rules, though, that says Lepin cannot copy the models, nor does it mention anything about cloning the many other brands that Lego works with, such as Star Wars and Marvel. I suppose that law suit lies with Disney.
Since Lepin's website remains live, it's unlikely that the court's demands will deter their business model too much. It remains to be seen whether the Chinese company will follow the rules laid out. [Brick Fanatics]