California Intellectual Property Blog

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Lego Files Lawsuit for Trademark Infringement

San Diego – Lego has filed another lawsuit against a manufacturer of figurines similar to those produced by Lego. This time the defendant is Connecticut based Lakeshore Learning Material which has also been accused copyright infringement.

Lego, which is based in Denmark, believes that the potential harm to their brand is unquantifiable. Lego alleges that the damage done from the unauthorized copies of its trademarked figurines will be significant. Lego believes that Lakeshore has copied the “Minifigure” design that is trademark and copyright protected, to create figurines that are incredibly similar to that of Lego’s. The “minifigurines” are protected by two copyright registrations as well as trade dress registration No. 4,903,968. The trademark registration is described as: “… a three-dimensional configuration of a toy figure featuring a cylindrical head, on top of a cylindrical neck, on top of a trapezoidal torso of uniform thickness, with flat sides and a flat back, where arms are mounted slightly below the upper surface of the torso, on top of a rectangular plate, on top of legs which bulge frontwards at the top and are otherwise rectangular with uniform thickness, on top of flat square feet“.

Lego had taken notice of what Lakeshore Learning Material calls their “on-the-go-brick-building-set.” Lego is alleging that the set contains figurines that are strikingly similar to their own mini-figurines, and that they are likely to cause confusion between the two companies’ products.

Lego has said that the mini-figurines have provided invaluable goodwill to the company because of their longstanding commercial use. The mini-figurines have generated more than $1 billion in global revenue by themselves. Lego alleges that the mini-figurines are very well recognized, and they have benefited from widespread public exposure. Lego claims that the mini-figurines are a popular staple in the eyes of the general consuming public of the United States and several other countries.

This is not the first time that Lego has pursued a lawsuit for trademark violations related to the mini-figurines. Lego has proven time and time again that its brand is internationally recognized. In 2018, Lego won an intellectual property lawsuit after a court in China agreed that local companies had copied the mini-figurines under the brand name LEPIN. The faux figurine maker was ordered to immediately cease production and compensate Lego with $650,000 in damages.

Lego is suing Lakeshore for Trademark and Copyright infringement including willful infringement and False Designation of Origin. The complaint also includes claims related to Connecticut state trade law. Lego will seek injunctive relief as well as the destruction of the allegedly infringing figurines.

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