Anyone who's ever looked for Lego products on eBay or even Amazon has probably come across them: Chinese brands of plastic bricks selling models identical to Lego's own. Lepin is probably the most notorious brand of them all, but others exist, including Lele and SY. Lego has been trying to crack down on them in recent years, and as part of that, a South Korean seller of counterfeit Lego sets has been convicted. They received a suspended two-year sentence with 10 months in prison, and a fine equal to £7,000.
The fake Lego products were seized during a police raid in 2017. The person charged was found to have 1,348 sets in their possession and had been selling the counterfeit goods both in a physical store and online. They had made 2,627 online sales of fake sets in a year.
Robin Smith, Lego's VP general counsel for China and Asia Pacific said, "We appreciate the South Korean Courts and authorities for taking such a strong stance on intellectual property protection and enforcement." Lego may have previously won a copyright case against such Chinese brands, but there's clearly still a long way to go. The most prolific brand, Lepin, even has its own global website – which looks suspiciously familiar – selling clones of both retired sets and Lego's newest models, like the Roller Coaster pictured above, at a fraction of Lego's RRP.