Lego vs Lepin: Acting upon counterfeiting in China

Lepin has been selling imitations of Lego products under the LEPIN brand since 2015 (as well as having this trademark registered everywhere). Not only the products are exact imitations, the packaging as well. In two years approximately 4.25 million products were sold worldwide at a quarter of Lego’s price. Lego has been combatting counterfeit for years. When the LEPIN trademark got cancelled in England in 2019, a ban was issued in China on production of the counterfeit products.


At a police raid of Lepin's factory, 88 molds and 290,000 boxes were seized. In the following lawsuit, 9 people are sentenced to imprisonment. The main suspect was sentenced to 6 years in prison, as well as a receiving a fine of approximately 14 million US dollars.

The Shanghai Court recently confirmed this decision, stating that copyright infringements are also harmful to the socialist market. In practice, enforcement of IP rights is on the rise in China.

Courts can, by law, impose a fine of 100-500% of the profit gained or 50-100% of the total turnover (depending on the extent of the infringement/loss of the owner). Anticipate this and register your most important IP rights in China, especially if part of the production is placed there.


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MENTOS has been selling chewing gum under the name MENTOS PURE FRESH for several years. In order to protect her rights MENTOS has registered the following trademarks: the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH, the logo MENTOS PURE FRESH 3 and a figurative depiction of the word PURE. Defendant sells chewing gum under the trademark DENTYNE PURE and has registered its logo as a trademark. Infringement or not?