17 December 2018Copyright

Lego takes on toy company over ‘infringing’ figurines

Lego Group has accused competitor  Zuru of trademark, copyright, design patent, and trade dress infringement in a 57-page  complaint filed at the US District Court for the District of Connecticut on Thursday, December 13.

The suit explained that in 1978, Lego introduced its Minifigure figurine and, in the US, more than 120 million have been sold since. The figurine is protected by “numerous” copyright registrations, including VA0000655230 and VA0000655104, which cover the 3D sculpture.

Lego said that it displays the copyright symbol (©) on its product packaging.

The Danish company also owns trademarks covering the Minifigure figurine, including 4,903,968 for the figurine’s design.

However, according to Lego, Zuru—which was founded in New Zealand in 2004—sells figurines which are “confusingly, strikingly and substantially similar to the overall look and feel of the Lego Minifigure figurine”.

Zuru’s Max Build More 15 Max figure sets are advertised for sale on Zuru’s e-commerce website, as well as on and third-party sites. The disputed products are also sold in Walmart’s retail locations for $12.97, Lego said, and became available around October 2018.

“Zuru’s infringing figurines are unauthorised reproductions of the Lego Group’s copyrights and trademarks including the Minifigure copyrights and Minifigure trademarks,” the complaint said.

Also in the suit, Lego accused Zuru of infringing four design patents relating to building blocks.

The Danish company owns a number of design patents relating to the iconic blocks, including D701,923S, called ‘Building Block From A Toy Building Set’, and D641,053S, which covers a step-building block.

Lego also asserted a number of trademarks related to its building blocks and stylisation.

Zuru’s Max Build More Building Bricks Value Set (759 Bricks), Max Build More Building Bricks Value Set (253 Bricks), and the Max Build More Building Bricks Accessories and Wheels Value Set (250 Pieces) were listed as infringing products.

Lego also accused Zuru of infringing its Friends line of toys.

The series of miniature figurines, which were introduced in 2012, are both copyright- and trademark-protected. Zuru allegedly infringes Lego’s Friends IP by using similar imaging on its Mayka Toy Block Tape packaging.

Lego said that Mayka Toy Block Tape is sold directly by Zuru, as well as via Amazon, and in-store at Target.

Finally, Lego claimed that Zuru has adopted an identical colour scheme—red, yellow, black, and white—to that of Lego’s trade dress, and this confusingly similar colour scheme is used in conjunction with the disputed products.

Lego has asked the court to order injunctive relief, the destruction of all infringing materials/products, actual damages, Zuru’s profits, and reasonable attorneys’ fees.

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More on this story

6 November 2018   The Guangzhou Yuexiu District Court in China yesterday found that four companies infringed Lego’s copyright, in another IP win for the Denmark-based toy maker.
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