Because the patent on the 'stud and tube' connection method expired some time ago, other companies, including M??? B????s, are legally able to produce compatible bricks. LEGO wanted the design of the brick designated a trademark to prevent them from doing so, but yesterday the European Court of Justice upheld the decision made in 2004 to cancel it.
What does this mean to us fans? Not a great deal, other than the shops will continue to be cluttered up with inferior products, and perhaps LEGO will be forced to keep their prices in check, although there hasn't been any evidence of that so far!
M???????s and LEGO may well be compatible in as much that they fit together but as we all know that's about as far as it goes: in terms of quality, design and appeal to adults there is no comparison...
Update: LEGO has published their own press release on this now.
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