Lego offers an entire range of products such as doors, trees and miniature figurines (e.g. fireman) to use in combination with their famous blocks.
Banbao is a wholesaler of toys and comes with similar kits. Lego claims these are an infringement of its copyright and design rights. It is also illegal to copy products if you can deviate without sacrificing the quality of the product. The judge, agrees. The fact that the products have a technical aspect (they can latch onto each other) does not mean that the design should copies one on one.
Banbao’s bricks are slightly different from Lego’s (larger dent in the bobble, other kinds of colours), but these differences are not sufficient to be perceived by consumers.
The toys must be compatible with Lego, but that does not mean the whole product may be copied. The products generate the same overall impression on the audience, so it was also a design infringement. The figures are however based on stereotypical characters, but Lego has many subjective decisions to make in the design. Infringement, again because copyrighted aspects were copied, also in the packaging (same building, frame, skyline).
Result: a ban on the marketing of the toys and reimbursement of part of the legal fees of the opposing party (around € 65,000, -).
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