The LEGO Group takes action against clone brand LEPIN

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An interesting bit of news from the Community Engagement Team at LEGO:

Dear RLUG Ambassadors,

We would like to confirm that the LEGO Group have recently filed civil actions in China against the manufacturer and distributor of LEPIN/?? branded construction toys. Our cases have been accepted by Chinese courts and are now pending for trials. We expect the 1st instance decision to be handed down in approximately one years’ time. Please note that LEPIN will not be legally barred from marketing and selling its products while the case is being heard by the courts.

We deeply appreciate and share the LEGO community's concern and frustration about passing-off or imitation of LEGO products. We are committed to do whatever necessary to protect the LEGO brand and products against undue exploitation, and to minimize the risk of consumers being misled via improper use of LEGO Group intellectual property assets.

We want to thank all of you for your loyalty and support. Please feel free to share this message.

On behalf of the LEGO Group,
LCE

157 comments on this article

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By in France,

Chinese courts? Then TLG has probably already lost... And I presume they know it...

For the principle, it is a good idea to attack the problem at its base. But in this case...

It would be smarter I think to block in the US for the US, in the EU for the EU, etc. It would cost more but it would be more effective. ;-)

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By in United States,

^I agree. There is no way A Chinese court will side with LEGO. I wonder why Disney hasn't tried to use it's power to stop them for the unauthorized use of Star Wars?

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By in United Kingdom,

About time!

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By in United States,

Well then! This is nice news to come home to. I wonder if this has anything to do with their Star Wnrs products...

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By in United States,

Good.

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By in United Kingdom,

Yay! Good luck Lego!

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By in United Kingdom,

Star Wnrs, Episode 7, the Force Awnkens.
Starring all your favourites; Rey (Dnisy Riddley) , Fin (John Boyegna)and Poe Dnmeron (Oscnr Isnnc).
As well as Hnn Solo (Hnrrison Ford) and Luke skywnlker (Mnrk Hnmill)!

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By in Poland,

That's good AND bad thing.
Good because they are fighting with knockoffs riding their company, but bad because Lepin was doing good job releasing sets and they were cheaper alternative and showed us it IS possible to make better/cheaper bricks.

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By in United States,

^By the same logic, movie piracy is good because it allows us to buy movies for cheap...
It's not a good and bad thing. It's only bad. It's theft.

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By in United States,

@lordofdragoness,

Of course it is possible to make and sell the cheaper bricks when you don't have to spend any money on IP and design work! This is especially true if you have the public bear all the environmental costs.

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By in Canada,

I will only applaud when action(s) are actually taken that produce results. I have little faith in my own justice system so why would I have any hope in the court system of a Communist regime...which is all about protecting the state at all costs.

It's a catch 22; we in the western world are big(gest) consumers and want everything cheap which China is more than happy to oblige. Then we criticise them for it...go figure.

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By in United States,

Good, I hope they win!

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By in United States,

@lordofdragons: Does Lepin make a better brick? I've heard people — like my friend buying a their bootleg Tower of Orthanc—complain that in large builds their poorer fit tolerances left the models less polished and secure than Lego brand kits.

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By in Bulgaria,

Hope they succeed! I'm tired of seeing random Instagram posts with either lepin or other clone brands with #LEGO under them...

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By in United States,

They should sue with Disnet as a partner in the suit.

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By in United States,

Nice catch LEGO. Get rid of all that off-brand scum. I'm tired of having to sort through all the Lego's I buy for tyco and trash like that. Lepin is even harder to distinguish from real Lego, so I'm glad that they are stopping it now before it gets too popular.

*Real Lego fans won't use knockoff bricks...ehem......flexo users.......

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By in United States,

@General Grievous:

Knockoffs =/= custom stuff that Lego doesn't make themselves, especially part designs that are unique and not made by Lego.

I'm okay with buying custom parts and such, as long as they're high-quality and easily distinguishable from actual Lego parts. There's a difference from creating an extension of Lego and just being a cheap imitator with no creativity whatsoever. Lego doesn't own the concept of plastic building bricks.

Lego is about creativity, and creating custom parts and stuff to extend the Lego system is an expression of creativity, isn't it? There's nothing wrong with Flexo or Brickarms or all those 3D-printable custom parts on Shapeways.

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By in United States,

Finally! Those knock-off brands are pretty much always crap.

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By in United Kingdom,

As much fun as Lepin's Star Wnrs is, I personally prefer Lele's Star Wart...

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By in United Kingdom,

Sure the knock offs are cheaper. They didn't have to make any investment in design, they just stole other people's hard work. Part of the purchase price of Lego must include the hours of design that go into each set.
Good luck Lego!

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By in Finland,

So right! Lepin is probably one of the worst clone brands, if not THE worst.

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By in United Kingdom,

That said when I see what they are releasing I can't help but yearn for Lego to do an "archive" or "classic" line... Older modulars, grand carousel... I'd go for official re releases like a shot even in plain boxes.

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By in United States,

Dear Lepin... please copy 41999 before you are out of business!

I own 55 sets. I love and support lego. Unfortunately I missed out on 41999. I do not love and support "investors".

To clarify, I do think Lepin should be put out of business. I just hope they copy 41999 before that happens.

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By in Netherlands,

The chance TLG will succeed in Chinese court is very very small. If brands like BMW lose in Chinese court even when a knock-off brand 100% copied their car then how can TLG win this fight. They will probably loose.

I think there are only 2 ways to win the battle against Chinese knock-offs.
1. Become a part of the Chinese world. Invest in China. Give large Lego replica's of famous Chinese buildings to important government employees, politicians, and high ranked judges. Become friends with these people. Make them love Lego too. When you have them addicted to Lego too, TLG will win in court.
2. Overrun the Chinese market with a better AND cheaper product than any of the knock-offs. That will bring all knock-off brands down, period. People care about better AND cheaper. Within just a couple of months nobody will buy knock-offs simply because they are of lesser quality and more expensive.

Let's all hope TLG will go for choice number 2 :)

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By in United States,

I've been surprised at the quality of knock-offs these days. I've never had KO Lego in hand before, but KO transformers are amazing quality. Sometimes better than the originals (improved colors, better paint apps). The old "inferior Chinese knock-off" cliche is dead.

That said, that's why these are more dangerous than ever. I absolutely agree with Lego doing what they can to take these guys down. @LEGOMANWA nailed it--of course these guys can undercut Lego in pricing. Lego is doing all the hardest work (design, securing licenses, etc) for them and all they're doing is the manufacturing.

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By in United States,

Lego won't win in the Chinese court because this is not a copy of a STAR WARS set as made by Lego but instead it is a STAR WNRS set of brinks. It is completely different! Not the same things at all!

I've seen this happen too many times with other products.

The only hope is to get these blocked by customs.

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By in United Kingdom,

As we speak Lego is working on a stud shooter nuclear device.

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By in United Kingdom,

I wonder if we will see Star Wnrs 10179...

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By in United States,

This is probably the most unbelievably blatant rip off I've seen yet.
I mean, what happened to the easy-to-detect knockoff brand bricks?

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By in United States,

well, its about dang time!

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By in United States,

@LennyAbear

I find it interesting that you would support what is clearly unethical activity (and illegal in most of the modern world), yet cast harsh words toward people who maintain discontinued products in new condition and make them available to buyers who may have missed out.

It's an odd juxtaposition.

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By in Poland,

I might hate some of Lego's pricing, but I hate Lepin much more.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Jackthenipper

We already have Lepin 10179...it's £111.97.

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By in United States,

Hit em where it hurts Lego!!! OORA

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By in United Kingdom,

Funny how they are going after Lepin specifically and not any of the numerous others. Could this be TLG's way of admitting that Lepin is a genuine threat in terms of quality? Or is it because Lepin show no signs of slowing down and will surely begin to damage TLG's profit? Or that Lepin's products, that sell for a fraction of Lego's, are showing the consumers just how cheap Lego actually should be?

Yes, Lego does all the hard work (because playing with Lego all day is such hard work) and pay for licenses etc but below is a snapshot of Lego's prices compared to Lepin's and there is no justification to mark up any Lego set by 653%

10234 Sydney Opera House £249.99 Lepin £33.18 653% mark up

10221 Super Star Destroyer £349.99 Lepin £49.02 613% mark up

42056 Porsche 911 GT3 RS £249.99 Lepin £35.17 610% mark up

76042 The SHIELD Helicarrier £269.99 Lepin £39.84 577% mark up

21128 The Village £169.99 Lepin £28.48 496% mark up

75159 Death Star £399.99 Lepin £67.69 490% mark up

10246 Detective's Office £132.99 Lepin £23.36 469% mark up

10236 Ewok Village £199.99 Lepin £38.82 415% mark up

70810 MetalBeard's Sea Cow £169.99 Lepin £36.42 366% mark up

10251 Brick Bank £119.99 Lepin £26.06 360% mark up

71040 The Disney Castle £289.99 Lepin £65.12 345% mark up

75827 Firehouse Headquarters £274.99 Lepin £64.43 326% mark up

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By in United Kingdom,

... are you trolling or just unbearably naive?

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By in Canada,

It's incredibly too bad, cause they have little chance of winning. Knock offs are bad and dangerous to all companies involved. Quality issues, licensing, really it's totally unfair, too bad they cannot be stopped... Go Lego Go!!!! From a true believer in the real stuff. You pay for quality. You certainly don't buy cheap knock off brakes or tires for your car, would you????

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By in United States,

@LennyAbear: As someone who just got back into LEGO and is seeing all the cool stuff I missed that is now retired, I'm actually surprised LEGO doesn't issue remakes of popular stuff like modulars or the Taj Mahal that go for crazy money on the secondary market. I've seen $150 modulars go for $700 (used!) and LEGO gets none of that. I would buy most of the old modulars, the Haunted House, etc in a heartbeat if they did this.

Stern Pinball was in a similar situation and made "Vault Editions" of some of their machines that had gotten really popular after retired and were going for inflated prices. Of course some owners and "investors" cried foul, but is that really who the company should serve? They pleased many fans and made money for themselves by making a highly desirable product (with little design and mostly just production expenses).

I'm sure for LEGO there are issues of production, shelf space and sales cannibalization, but it still seems doable given the demand and prices I see online. Maybe one new modular and one remake per year?

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By in United Kingdom,

Lego can't win this as it will be government backed.
Land rover had a similar case against a fake Discovery made in china only to find themselves facing tougher import regulation imposed by the authorities.

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By in Poland,

@Roobot
My thoughts exactly.
Now I'm wondering - to buy Lepin version of 10228 or not to buy? Lego, will you save me from Lepin? Don't you care about my soul?

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By in Slovenia,

@Roobot, @parsom, count me too!

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By in United Kingdom,

@JonMarten

Your question by definition is trolling. I was just pointing out how cheap Lepin is.

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By in United States,

I will be suprised if actions are actually taken and by the looks of it, the company can continue to sell its products…

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By in United States,

I am amazed that Lepin can run its business while selling the exact product as Lego at 1/4 of the price. What is more amazing is that people here are cheering for Lego and with that cheering for paying 400% more for the same thing. Obviously Lepin isn't paying licensing fees but if that much of the price is licensing fees, then why are so few people outraged by Lego's high price?

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By in Netherlands,

They even copied the UCS Millennium Falcon .... how rude !!!!

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By in Belgium,

Only if they've tried to prevent the violation at source (China) will they be able to attempt to prevent the import into more protective regions (EU, etc.). Success or failure, action at an EU level would likely not succeed if Lego don't first try to assert their rights where the product is manufactured.

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By in United States,

hope lego wins but unllikly

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By in United Kingdom,

Lego prices aren't just due to licensing fee's
Designers are a high income group, and it costs a lot of money to design a set; This (as we see in the channel 4 documentary/ the Lego Star Wars visual dictionary) can take months, whereas Lepin can get round that by not even designing the set, just reissuing the bricks;
You've then got the fact that Lego bricks are incredible quality; they use a CMM system, which can measure distances within nano meters, These machines, the calibration equipment and so forth are important for getting your bricks to stuck together; something which Chinese knock-offs are pretty bad at; but again cost money.
Along with that you've got quality control, which again costs money and Lepin defiantly doesn't have,
Plus after that you have test it with focus groups, then market the product (with that lovely expensive artwork Lepin's nicked),
as well as other costs Lepin will certainly avoid, such as running their website, paying staff members above minimum wage,
whilst also making sure the money coming in exceeds that going out, and that there share holders get a return on their investments.

If after all that, you still think Lego should be the same price as Lepin then you clearly don't get economics.

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By in United States,

@durazno33 if you look at the Lego company's operating cost they spend a lot on salaries. It's not cheap to run an organization that pays employees on a European salary to design and manufacture at the level of quality we have come to expect. Clone brands don't require the same level of designers. I can't speak to the level of quality since I don't have personal experience with them. If TLG were to outsource all manufacturing to China and didn't have product design and IP costs I think they could compete on price but that isn't their business model.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Greendude
I didn't know they had got as far as the Falcon.
I'm not someone who would buy a knockoff but I can see the temptation, and the prices are very attractive. I still hold out for a re release or update at some point.

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By in United States,

Shouldn't EU and US copyright laws prohibit these sets from being sold in either the EU or US? I know China makes a lot of different knockoffs but I thought they were prohibited. My sister who is a Flight Attendant for a major airline flies to Beijing 2-4 times a month and she and others have tried to bring items they bought there and many times customs confiscate them. My sister does buy many items but she has to declare them and if there is any copyright issues they may get confiscated.

So how does Lepin get around these laws.?

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By in United Kingdom,

Copyright is a useless bunch of nonsense that does not apply to specific assemblies of bricks, anyone can sell a LEGO set, made from official bricks or their own. The only copyrighted items are the box art and instructions both of which you can remake. The consumer gains nothing from copyright and set designers work is not protected, only graphic designers. Its well past time copyright was nullified.

But Lepin were trying way too hard to look like LEGO boxes. Trademark enforcement is important so manufacturers can be identified. Chinese courts don't care though.

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By in United Kingdom,

@thedent42

What shareholders? I thought it was still a family business.

Anyway, when the owners of Lego are multi-billionaires...do you not think they've over-priced their product? The product has a break-even point...beyond that is pure profit + taxes. It's made the entire family into individual billionaires and multi-billionaires and made billions in tax revenue. Those billions are what Lego sees fit to gouge their customers. If Lego's owners were content to be mere millionaires, imagine how cheap Lego would be for the consumer.

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By in United States,

Is Lepin related at all to a company called BlockTech? Saw some product at a store the other day that was a direct rip of LEGO Architecture. Called Structures I think.

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By in United States,

@thedent42

"If after all that, you still think Lego should be the same price as Lepin then you clearly don't get economics."

Of course not. But if you don't believe there is a ton of added markup in LEGO above and beyond everything you said, then I have a bridge to sell you...

LEGO having a legit competitor (and no, I don't think Lepin will be that), would ultimately be a great thing for the marketplace. If they were forced to compete on price a bit more, we wouldn't see these rapidly inflating prices we've been getting.

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By in United States,

@thedent42: bingo! Every business has a ton of expenses that aren't immediately apparent when you look at the final product. There are probably even more than you listed. Safety testing and working to comply with all government regulations in every region they sell come to mind.

If you don't feel the product is worth the price, don't buy it. We aren't talking about EpiPens, here -- this is a luxury good. If enough people voted with their wallets, LEGO would have to react somehow. Change price? Lower expenses? Revamp the product line? I don't know. (Wait, didn't they already do this about 12 years ago to avoid going out of business?). I'm not saying there may not be a healthy profit margin and cheaper is always more appealing as a consumer, but I wouldn't use the term "gouging".

But anyway, Lepin is directly profiting off LEGO's work and expenditure, particularly in design, branding and marketing. They aren't making a LEGO-like product like Mega Bloks, they are recreating/stealing exact LEGO designs and assets. Even if the physical quality is good (I have no idea), it's short-sighted to support them. Imagine if most people that saw a sweet LEGO-designed set they wanted bought the Lepin version instead because it's much cheaper and "pretty much the same". How long do you think LEGO would survive under those conditions? And what would Lepin make after LEGO went out of business?

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By in United States,

Guys, please stop complaining about the "ridiculous" prices Lego charges for their products. Remember, those prices could be much worse than they are now. There are old(retired) Star Wars battle packs selling for $30 or more on Amazon. Now, those sets ARE retired, but that doesn't mean that Lego couldn't charge that price for them if they wanted to. Remember, it could always be worse. And Lego's getting better. The SW RO1 wave is very cheap in terms of pricing- the most expensive set is $100 and the rest are mostly decently priced except for the Tie Striker which probably should be $40.

But again, I myself am griping about prices, but we would be griping a lot more if Lego raised them. So please stop whining about the prices and remember, it could always be worse ;)

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By in United States,

^ oh give me a break. yes, we should all just be thankful that the prices aren't even higher. LEGO could gouge us all even more...

::eyeroll::

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By in Slovakia,

You can't compare prices like :
"10234 Sydney Opera House £249.99 Lepin £33.18 653% mark up"

- the Asian wholesaler sites have really wide ranges for the 'same' product, the cheapest ones usually have high shipping, sometimes more than the listed price of product. If you take the ones with free shipping and the ones with additional shipping, you usually come to the same cost - which is lot more than the lowest list price.
- you should also note what kind of product you buy, the cheap ones are not 'retail' and come in plastic bags without box. While this might be enough for some, it's not right to compare 'bulk' LEPIN and retail LEGO versions. If the boxed LEPIN version exists, you would see it is usually 50-100% more and with higher shipping (depends on size).
- If you import the LEPIN stuff from China, you should count in the tax (VAT) and customs (where applicable). While on individual import you might be lucky to be spared, if imported by company you would have to pay it. Unless bending the rules/laws, but such 'saving' should not be counted against LEGO.
- oh and as a knock-off it can be legally held and disposed off by import authorities at any time
- Keep in mind you are not buying retail and therefore for cutting the middleman (with higher costs and margins in your home country) you save money but lose any rights and protection coming form commercial laws in your country.
- If some company in your country would risk importing such KO stuff, they would still have some additional costs and will want to make a profit, so don't expect the price to stay the same as wholesaler online site
- you are also losing the customer service of LEGO for parts replacements and the LEPIN reviews usually list some problematic parts (unless being a total ass and asking from LEGO the parts to fix the LEPIN)

That is even without talking about the production costs, stolen designs, unpaid IP rights, questionable quality (just read the reviews)...
it's possible that the real cost to import to Europe can be 'just' half of official set and it might never arrive (BTW the non-retail box-less version might be safer to import being less obvious KO)

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By in United States,

I'm surprised you used an image of a fake Star Wars: The Force Awakens set as the header image for this article. A more appropriate image would have been a fake Clone Wars set. :-)

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By in United Kingdom,

@Roobot
I think they would make Mega Blocks, then Decool, and then Lepin ;-)

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By in United States,

@Librarian1976:

Lego-Clone Star Wars-Clone: The Clone Clone Wnrs :P

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By in Australia,

Good to see LEGO taking action against bootleggers and I hope they extend it to other bootleggers including the scum who make all those bootleg Super Heroes and other minifigs.

Some will say that its OK to buy those things because LEGO has never made a Mk xxx Iron Man suit or a Thing or a Guy Gardner Green Lantern or whatever. But I dont think its OK and will never do it.

And I hope they consider taking action against people selling the bootlegs on sites like eBay (they could use the eBay rights holder system and have people in the community report the auctions to LEGO who then gets eBay to take down the auction, its what companies like Gucci do to shut down auctions of bootleg handbags and things)

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By in United States,

I bet Disney can probably sue Lepin over using the names of Star Wars characters on their packaging. Does anyone know if Lepin Star Wars, sorry, Star Wnrs sets use the names of Star Wars characters on the packaging? Or do they use made-up names like: Riy, Yakku's Jug, Rylo Ken, and/or Funn??

EDIT: Is there a "tm" above the minifigure names? I can't really see the box very well, but it seems to be absent.

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By in Spain,

I will continue surmising that at least part of the reason UK prices are pretty high is because I hardly ever see clone brands (or even Megabloks) on sale in this country to bring the competition - but then small toy shops seem to struggle so most shops are large chains that wouldn't want to stock knock-offs.

I disagree with the person that said intellectual property shouldn't exist. If that were the case innovation would stagnate and everyone would expect everything that's currently considered a luxury (ie not food etc) for free. Obviously that's a bit of an exaggeration but you get the idea.

As an illustration I get repeatedly asked by friends whether I have binge watched the latest 'must watch' TVs series. When I reply "no I still don't have Netflix" a reply comes "I don't either I just torrent it". When I say "I prefer to pay for something people have spent time and money to make" there's hardly ever a retort, with a look as if to say that I'm the weird one for actually paying.

Any creative practice seems to be subject to this now so TLG will have to rise above it. Psychologically I can't bring myself to buy an exact ripoff of something else if I'm fully aware it's a copy, but plenty of people don't feel the same way.

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By in United States,

This changes nothing. LEGO will never win.

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By in United States,

@thedent42
Your first comment - Hilnrious!

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By in Australia,

With any luck when Lego inevitably loses this will finally shut up all the people who think suing a chinese company for copyright infringement is possible. but, it wont. We all know it wont.

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By in United States,

STAR WNRS!

Yeah, unfortunately LEGO will probably lose...

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By in Hong Kong,

Just a finding for LEPIN product price in China "ebay"
10179 - MF UCS - 120$
10188 - Death Star - 68$
10221 - SSD UCS - 60$
As a close compare with LEGO and LEPIN, actually 90% is the same on brick feelings.

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By in United States,

I think TLG has a chance to win:
Although the PRC has history of ignoring common sense law (Ahem South China Sea), Lego has a lot of leverage over Beijing here since they are building Legoland in Shanghai. That's a business opportunity the PRC does not want to miss out on.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Dalek135
Yeah, I guess Lego could charge us more, oh wait, I don't live in the US and they already do charge us a lot more...

@papluh
The price of £33.18 is the price of the set. Shipping is the price it costs to ship. Of course it costs more depending on where you live but that doesn't change the price of the set. All the other stuff you said doesn't interest me.

@The Rancor
Even Tesco is selling clone brands now. Can't remember the brand but it's awful.

IP law should probably exist but it needs massive reform.

@EVERYONE
So if Lego loses in court, will you all agree with their judgement? Ya know, since you're all so big on law and what's right etc? Oh I forgot, it's a chinese court, their law doesn't count, right? Hmm, maybe that's why our laws don't count in their country?

@stefzen
RE: South China Sea, I guess China sees the US doing it so thinks they can get away with it too.

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By in Slovakia,

Also they are not just another foreign company, they made a huge investment in the new factory in China. More so, they have deliberately chosen a region that is not home to the copycat manufacturers (info from LEGO's own magazine), this makes the local government side with LEGO to protect the investment and let the factory grow. The primary market for that factory would be Asian markets which are hit worst by these knock-offs. It still won't guarantee a win in this power game, but it makes the starting point better.

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By in United States,

So much salt over prices. If it matters that much to you all, I bet you could part out the sets you want off BrickLink for a good bit less than RRP/MSRP.

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By in Australia,

I don't know if lawsuits will change the knock-off market. Instead, I think Lego and Lego fans should spread the message that knock-offs are lower quality and potentially unsafe. Lego *is* expensive, yes, but that cost is partly because of quality control and safety testing. You know 40 year old Lego works very well today. You don't know anything about knock-off rubbish...

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By in United States,

You can really only call it price gouging if it's a necessity or some sort of good that people rely on. Lego is the definition of a luxury good. They can price however they want and it's not the same as gouging. People act like they're forced to buy Lego, so they're mad at the price. Get over yourselves people.

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By in Singapore,

I did come across some people who bought Lepin products on the mistaken belief that it's Lego. They are usually casual buyers who buy them as gifts, only to embarrass themselves at birthday gatherings when the kids point out it's FAKE! haha! Education is also important as well. Even though Lego might not win this in China, at least Lego raise the awareness. This year, net foreign direct investment in China is negative, let's see how China court responds to this case to send the right message of investing in China and rights protection.

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By in United States,

@dougts

"people who maintain discontinued products in new condition and make them available to buyers who may have missed out."

Gee, thanks?

If investors didn't horde limited sets, more of us could have bought them at retail prices. I get people wanting to make money, but let's not pretend investors are doing anyone a favor.

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By in Japan,

I question the value of the outcome either way. There is no end to how far knock-offs go in China. IF these courts side with LEGO all that will happen is these guys will change their name and probably set up shop someplace else in China.

As long as there is value in the brand some one will make the effort to make a knock-off. It is a never ending battle I doubt most companies even LEGO can go full hilt on for long.

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By in United States,

As a Chinese citizen I must say I'm sad a lot of pathetic copycats come from my country of origin. Glad LEGO took legal action and honestly there has been precedent of LEGO winning cases in China so don't be too pessimistic, hope LEGO can put an end to this farce

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By in Indonesia,

lego very hard for a win,
how many thousands of pirated protected kind in china? they continue production can not stop, because they are the largest taxpayer for his country,
can be when lego impose demands, factory in china will be closed between the government there,
moreover 80% lego biggest factory in china today

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By in United States,

I reported several Lepen Death Stars on ebay I saw a few weeks ago. They were quickly taken down. Sad to say that even if Lego wins in court, another clone, likely with the same owners, will spring it's place.

As consumers the best action, if you are concerned with fakes, is to report these things whenever they pop up.

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By in United Kingdom,

I am fairly new to the internet side of being an AFOL and since joining the forum I have only recently heard of this lepin lot. I do buy clone brands such as blok tech and wilko's blox range(which I believe is actually the same stuff). I have noticed a few sets that are very similar to lego sets(blok tech Easter bunny for example) and I think to myself ooh a bit naughty there. But at least it is obvious that these aren't 'lego' sets, they don't have an almost identical logo and style boxes etc. I think lepin are very naughty indeed and I am surprised that TLG haven't taken action before.

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By in New Zealand,

Olè Olè Olè Olè ...

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By in Czech Republic,

Greendude: you seem to have very little knowlege of how company economics work. Of course it is possible to produce cheaper if you only produce and so have no research, testing, marketing... costs. If you only see the final product and compare its price you are only judging by the tip of a vast iceberg, so to say...

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By in Belgium,

Lepin won't be marketing those products in the EU, therefore there'll no legitimate CE certification (even if the CE mark is present), which in turn means not having to prove they've met the required safety standards, even if they have. This isn't a cheap process. The same will probably be true of US standards, Canadian standards, Australian standards, etc. In fact, the importation of such goods into some countries may even be illegal, even if you're only importing as a consumer. Having worked at HMRC myself several years ago, I am absolutely certain that a container load of any Lepin product would be seized and destroyed at the border if intercepted - if only for the attempt to pass off as Star Wars and Lego.

Regarding why Lepin is so much cheaper than Lego, consider that Lego is a European company with European employees, all with European wages and European social payments, income tax, etc. etc. You simply cannot compare the costs of a Chinese-based company to the costs of a European-based company, and this would be true even if Lepin were designing their own sets rather than blatantly ripping Lego off.

Without Lego's innovation none of these other companies would even exist. Buying a dodgy copy of a clone brand, even if it's a quality imitation, will only increase the risks of long-term damage to Lego. Who knows what the future would hold if these clone companies began to make serious inroads into Lego's margins.

And I'm no Lego fan boi, I've seriously cut back my spending on Lego because I think they've over-stepped the mark on pricing.

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By in United Kingdom,

Frankly this shows that LEGO should reconsider expanding its' business model for China. Half of the copycat items such as this set, come straight off the LEGO production line into an employees rucksack and then into the hands of companies such as Lepin. Anyone wonder how others such as Mega Blocks get their products to work with LEGO so well.

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By in Germany,

The problem is not the parts, the problem is the copying of the sets, simple as that.

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By in China,

Well done!

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By in United States,

@SuperGeniusCreator

Exactly, you just made my point. The goal of Lego is to be creative and make amazing things out of the bricks you have. You're not being creative if you make a new custom part if you are unable to be creative enough to find a way to make it work with the Lego bricks you have. Now when it comes to making custom bricks that Lego already has made, (chroming, printed designs, ect.) this is something I don't do but I don't have any problem with either. But when you mold a new part or make a traditional Lego brick in a new color, ITS NOT OFFICIAL LEGO. The whole point is to IMPROVISE with what you have! This is not creativity, this is laziness.

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By in Canada,

@greendude

You have just proved the point of why they are trying to stop Lepin. They are blatantly stealing and replicating numerous products, artwork and designs.

For those of you who say/think 'oh they are cheaper and have a good quality just as TLG, I will tell you to stop buying knock offs. You are essentially paying criminals and encouraging them to make more. Inferior products are just that. I get really irrated by knockoff companies and the ppl who think buying from them hurts no one. Think of it this way, if you spent and slaved over creating a work of art and someone comes along and produces a copy of your original work while selling it for less, wouldn't you be angry? Wouldn't you do everything you could to stop that from happening?

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By in Australia,

woohoo - go Lego !

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By in United Kingdom,

@aleydita, As an aside, it's illegal to import genuine LEGO into the EU (including for the time being the UK) in wholesale quantities unless you're TLG or part of TLG's approved distribution network.

@General Grievous, Using third party parts is neither lazy nor uncreative. I mostly collect minifigures and there are lots of concepts that you can't (or couldn't) create so that they're recognizable using only LEGO parts. Prior to the CMF musketeer, for example, how would you create D'Artagnan while remaining purist?

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By in Netherlands,

@Whodanis - Well said!

Just don't buy anything that says "Made in China". Period.

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By in United States,

Go Lego!

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By in United States,

I certainly hope LEGO wins but before everyone gets to up in arms remember that LEGO's founder ripped of Kiddicraft to create the basics of what we know and love today. Not trying to be harsh toward LEGO but let's keep things real.

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By in United States,

@Wodanis

I couldn't agree more!

@Zander

Yes it is. You are not creative enough and you don't have the love for building Lego creations so you just order a custom part. When a company makes bricks that look a lot like Lego and you cannot distinguish which brick is Lego and which is not, THAT'S A BAD THING, OK?!? It means a company is stealing Lego's patented rights to THEIR PROPERTY. Those companies have to go and hide in countries like China that don't give a rip about anything that goes on outside of it's borders. And to answer your question, if you don't have enough creativity to improvise and make do with what you have, that's not my problem. Sure, go ahead and order custom parts. Just know I won't give you any credit for anything you make that contains fake Lego's, and every real Lego fan will do the same as well.

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By in Netherlands,

I wish TLG all the best of success in China with their court case, even though I have NO faith in China's courts and judicial system. (I do not even always have all that much faith in the courts and legal system my own country and that of many other western countries, based on the rulings of the various courts, still it is above and beyond the practice in China.) China is a country with a rich and ancient culture, and I know there a plenty of good and honest Chinese people, but that does not change the fact that it is also a very corrupt country with no regard for free speech and human rights, and 'rule of law', run by a most corrupt and nepotistic elite, whose economy is build on slave labour, as well as many disingenuous, outright deceitful Chinese entrepreneurs with who it is most precarious doing business. Personally I think TLG should have never outsourced any of their Lego production to China to begin with, but instead have invested more in Europe, and other western countries. BMW not too long ago lost a law suits they filed in China, and I have read numerous articles, as well as heard several accounts of people from my country doing business with Chinese companies, investing there, and setting up, or outsourcing a part of their business in China, and all the obstacles, problems they encountered doing so, such as the Chinese not being honest; not sticking to agreements and contracts; espionage and theft of technology and knowledge, producing a surplus on top of what has been agreed to be sold off clandestinely etc.

I am a Lego fan so I do not buy fake rip-off stuff such as what ever Lepin makes and sells. I suppose many people who consider themselves to be a Lego fans, and care about the brand, the quality, the originality, creativity in design, authenticity, and everything Lego embodies and/or claims to represent would probably do the same. Although paradoxically at the same time, I understand that people out of curiosity may want to know what the 'competition' is up to, and see for them selves what their products are like.

I have no problem with a brand such as Megablocks, even though I don't own, or have any interest in their products myself. The difference between a Lego compatible brand such as Megablocks that develop their own sets, product lines, and (licensed) themes, and Lepin is: that Lepin is a blatant copycat and counterfeiter of Lego sets. Even if Lepin have changed a few letters on the box art of copied and forged Lego sets.

I hope for TLG's sake that they are successful in dealing with Lepin, and that China's authorities, and courts will corroborate the validity of the civil claims made by TLG.

However I also do think that there is a correlation between Lego set retail prices and the emergence of the various cheaper knock-off brands springing up, and being successful and more more widely available.

TLG's pricing policy is something to be critical about. As a result of Lego getting more and more expensive, marking up their prices, and thus becoming too expensive for many consumers, resulting in people buying fewer Lego sets, as their budget to spend on Lego is not increasing, yet still having a (economic)demand/desire to buy construction toys, more and more knock off brands, and loose 'clone' bricks have started popping up in various stores in the Netherlands over the last couple of years. N.B. wages of most people in Europe have not increased since the crisis of 2008, interest is close to zero, but many things in life have become more expensive, even though models used to calculate inflation indicate it is low, for many people life has become more expensive. If I compare Lego prices in the Netherlands with those in Germany, or other countries (such as the USA), I can only conclude that Lego in my country is too expensive, and on top of that even more so with the resent price mark up. It would not surprise me if this will have an adverse effect on TLG in the long run. Especially because so much is being sold and bought via the internet nowadays.

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By in Netherlands,

ps.
I think it would be a good idea for TLG to consider (even though Lego resellers will hate me for it) to reissue certain 'classic' sets (such as the UCS Millennium Falcon etc.) and make them available to consumers for affordable prices, as well as undo some of their price mark-ups.

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By in Malaysia,

I hope Lepin change their strategy and offer part packs to build whatever retired sets and for MOC. Over here getting bricks for MOC is very expensive and our local Lego trading thinks we have the spending power as our Singaporean neighbor by increasing the PAB price by 100%. They have yet to implement VIP points and our benefits is pitiful compared to those in the US.

I don't really care much about the sets, I just want the bricks which are useful for MOC into modular buildings. Will have to skip posting at RLUG pages or attending RLUG events since RLUGS are pretty strict when it comes to non-Lego bricks (they even delete nanoblok posts), but I rarely have time to prepare or attend any RLUG event anyway.

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By in United States,

@The Big Legoski (referring to the pricing)

Yes, the prices are getting quite high in the USA as well. While I have noticed it for a while now, when it really blew my away was when they released the Star Wars 7 sets. When they charge you $40 USD for 75100, which I was interested in buying before I saw the price, I was very upset. It has driven me to order most of my pieces of of BruickLink. It's a win-win for me. I get the pieces I want for cheaper than they are sold for and I don't get unwanted pieces that I would get if I bought a set. Don't get me wrong, I still buy sets, but it gets tougher and tougher. However, I was thrilled to see the new Rouge One prices. They seem much more reasonable.

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By in United States,

@LennyAbear

Please provide a list of all these "limited" sets that resellers horded up and prevented regular customers from buying. 41999 and 21110 come to mind, but I honestly can't think of any others. 2 out of over 2000 sets released in the past 4 years. And don't start talking about comic-con and bat pods - those were limited by LEGO, not resellers. (heck, 41999 was too, to a lesser degree)

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By in United Kingdom,

@General Grievous, Companies like BrickArms, BrickForge, BrickWarriors and Flexo ( http://brickset.com/article/23637/flexo-is-on-its-way ) are most certainly not infringing TLG's intellectual property rights. They aren't "fakes" as you put it. The companies that make - and people who use - those parts aren't trying to deceive anyone or hide anything. There's nothing financially damaging to TLG or inherently illegal or immoral with being non-purist. Heck, even TLG once used a BrickForge part in their marketing. One really shouldn't try to be more Catholic than the Pope!

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By in United States,

@Zander Great comment!

Anyways, now there's the conversion, I was expecting. The continued deliberations between the "purists", "loyalists", the "economists" and the "rebels". Based on the heated responses, it seems like Lego's become the Apple of the toy world.

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By in United States,

@Zander

I was referring to the companies like Lepin, that blatantly copy and steal Lego's ideas and patents.

Obviously, our opinions are just very different. I am a "purist" and you are not. I don't like to use anything that is not made by Lego, but you don't have a problem with it. I think we can get over our differences here. It just addles me when I see people that make "great creations" but are really just made out of off-brand bricks.

Well, it was nice arguing with you. Visit my BL store everyone!

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By in United Kingdom,

The USC Kevin millennium falcon has the cockpit on the wrong side!!!!!

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By in China,

ok,i am so sorry to everyone, the brand of Lepin makes a very terrible impression to China.

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By in China,

I also expect the judge can be fair and justicial to make a right judgement.China should make more laws to protect copyrights.

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By in United States,

Guys get on bricklink or use one of the myriad or programs out there to design their own sets, some of which are absolutely amazing. You've got people making sets left and right on Cuusoo/Ideas, all using existing parts, and people still was defend what it takes to design a set as part of the pricing problem? Come on.

LEGO is doing exactly what any company with a (what we can safely call)monopoly does: sets the price and increases it because there's no real competition. MEGA Bloks continues to try and doesn't get anywhere.

LEPIN is a dirty KO company, but don't try to ride your little pony around acting like LEGO isn't laughing at us all the way to the bank.

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By in United States,

Bout Dang Time GL Lego

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By in United Kingdom,

The Fall of Lepin begins!!!

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By in United Kingdom,

Everyone out in China it is not your fault that lepin is in your country.
Help us fight it. Don't support it. And it will die

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By in Japan,

That's what happens when you open factories in China...

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By in United States,

This is no different than branded vs generic drugs. Yes we know the branded companies make investments for the original product and they own that market for a time period. The generic product is also not a 100% clone of the original, but they both serve there needs.

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By in United Kingdom,

Long live Lepin, and all those that offer fair priced bricks!

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By in Spain,

Wow this thread is hot! I don't think I've ever seen so many arguments and counter arguments in the same line of comments.

Just to clarify, I don't live by Lego in a religious sense that I feel forced to buy every set I'm ever interested in no matter what the price. But I do live by intellectual property in a sort of religious sense, and will always be infuriated by people that infringe on it. I don't care if a copy is cheaper, or free, it's still a hollow shell of the original and that's baggage it can never get rid of.

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By in United States,

Regarding prices, this is a very interesting analysis of the data. It actually shows the "real" price has remained remarkably stable over the last 30 years and has some interesting theories about the perceptions of price increases.

http://realityprose.com/2013/01/17/what_happened_with_lego/

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By in Belgium,

i knew fake lego existed but reading all of this 'free advertisement' for Lepin made me decide to check it out and just ordered my first Lepin set from Aliexpress, the shield helicarrier for 75€ incl shipment
cant wait for it to get here and check out the quality :-D

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By in United Kingdom,

@General Grievous

I hope to god you are not bricklinking the parts to 75100 and then stealing Lego's design by building it without paying anything to TLG!

Hmmm...isn't this what Lepin is doing?

@Faire

I'm not too interested in making TLG's billionaire owners even richer. The wealth they have is sickening. If Lego was reasonably priced, they wouldn't be billionaires. The simple fact that Lego's owners are multi-billionaires is proof that they're charging too much for their product.

@CarelKerel

Ok, you first...throw out all your belongings that were made in China...don't forget the components in your electrical products, phones, tv, computer...

@kor

Thanks for that reminder. It seems nobody wants to even acknowledge that Lego itself is a clone brand rip off. That would be my defence in court, "i'm not ripping off Lego, I'm ripping off Kiddicraft"

@WenJiachen

Don't even attempt to suggest Chinese courts can be honest and fair here.

@Roobot

Interesting read but I think the conclusion is wrong. I think the perception that Lego is more expensive now is because of the amount of new sets Lego produces each year. In 1981 there were 59 new Lego sets compared to 779 in 2016. If you're a Lego collector, chances are you are spending much more on Lego now than ever before because we're buying more sets. It used to thrill me to see all the new sets Lego had made but now that initial thrill is replaced with dread as I add up how much this Lego year is going to cost me. I've only been buying Lego since 2012 and only seriously since 2014 and according to my Brickset collection, which excludes about 100 sets, I've spent over £10000/$13000. Lego's price has remained pretty stable, perhaps even come down a little but are there any other products in the world where the price doesn't come down significantly after 50 years of production!?

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By in Canada,

This is a very interesting comment section! Some people in here have made extraordinary points and no doubt have a background in business like myself. I'd just like to touch on a few things:

LEGO is a monopoly and therefore they are price setters. A lot of people aren't understanding the fundamentals of business, especially in the broad realms of brand power and marketing. The reason LEGO is priced the way it is, is a result of this monopoly. We (the consumer) perceive the quality and durability (among other attributes) of LEGO products to be far superior than that of the competition. As such, we have demonstrated with our wallets that we are willing to pay these prices for their offerings.

That being said, please, PLEASE, don't kid yourselves people- Lego could more than half their retail prices and STILL realize a profit margin beyond our wildest dreams. I'm sorry, but if you don't think they have their R&D, Production, Marketing, Supply Chain Logistics, and Retail Distribution down to a SCIENCE at this point, you're sadly mistaken. TLG could realize a profit at a fraction of the retail price we currently pay. That's just a fact.

But this is business- you don't sell for less when you are a monopoly and know the consumer is willing to pay more. It's really that simple. That's how the world turns.

The irony in all this is that people are staunch supporters of said monopoly. They fiercely defend Lego in one breath, yet opine their lofty prices in another. I truly find this amusing, and certainly, unique among luxury consumer products. The sense of brand loyalty created and fostered amongst Lego consumers is truly amazing.

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By in Australia,

@Greendude

Purchasing second hand LEGO bricks that were already bought and paid for from LEGO to build a LEGO design vs buying knock off bricks from a company stealing the design and passing it off as their own?

Not even remotely similar.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Karrakazul

It's almost exactly the same. Those bricks were bought from Lego to build a different set. Why should Lego pay designers, pay for research, boxes, art and all the other things lego fan boys here moan about if you are going to bypass all that cost by buying from a rival seller of bricks, albeit Lego bricks, which you then use to build the set that you have not paid for.

Lepin's bricks are not illegal. That is fact. So what you're accusing Lepin of is stealing the design. How is that any different to what Bricklink does? What if Lepinlink decides to open up shop? Is it ok to buy Lepin bricks to build whatever you want, be it a Lego design or not. Lego makes no money from Bricklink. In almost every way imaginable it's a competitor to Lego. True purists would stay away from Bricklink and give their money to Lego.

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By in Poland,

Lego could hurt Lepin and make people happy at one time. Just re-release some of these retired sets copied by Lepin!

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By in United Arab Emirates,

I don't know TLG's pricing in China but I would assume it is high. Here in the UAE I pay double the UK prices. When I asked TLG why they (this was an official response) mentioned a few things but specifically focused on currency conversion. Since the UAE dirham is pegged to the USD it was frankly an insulting response. I see many parents of arabic or south asian heritage (who did not grow up with Lego) simply balk at the prices in the shops.

TLG is likely missing out on a bigger market by pricing many new consumers out. Seems very short term thinking to me.

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By in South Korea,

I've heard these Chinese fakes are actually very good in terms of quality. Just a couple of years ago they were relatively inferior but now they are almost as good as the originals. I think LEGO never should have constructed its factory in China. I suspect Lego's manufacturing know-hows have leaked through it.

So LEGO sued, but can we anticipate a foreign company in a mercantilistic and nationalistic communist country get a fair trial? Intellectual property protection in China is very weak, they have a tendency to regard it as a common legacy of humanity.

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By in Australia,

@Greendude

Sorry, still nowhere near the same. As with any second hand market the company already has its money from selling the product to the original consumer, LEGO might not make money direct from Bricklink, but everything on there has already been bought from LEGO. Bricklink is individuals selling second hand LEGO bricks, it isn't a company stealing LEGO's designs and fabricating their own knock off bricks to pass off as their own product.

If Lepin had to focus on more than stealing LEGO's designs and shoveling out bricks, instead having to come up with their own sets, pay their own licenses, open their own stores, come up with their own work and pay for the staff, infrastructure, services and facilities to provide a quality product then you'd see their prices approach that of LEGO, just like Mega Bloks, because the price of something is more than just what it took to make.

(Sorry if this is a double, my first post got eaten I think.)

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By in Netherlands,

I've had a Lepin set in my hands just recently through a misguided friend who thought he was getting a pretty good deal.

The parts quality is absolutely HORRIFIC. Rough seams all over the place, bad quality plastic, miscolored stickers... of course even if this wasn't the case, it would still be terrible to give criminals like Lepin any money. But still.

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By in United Kingdom,

As we speak Lego is working on a stud shooter nuclear device

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By in Poland,

sigh.... I love Lego with all my heart and I wish best for them but Lepin gave me opportunity to get UCS Star Destroyer from 2002 for ridiculous price of 120 $ ! Sure quality of bricks is nowhere near Lego's but for display only is best deal there is. I feel like a fraud by supporting Lepin but that was the only way for my budget. Still I hope Lego can do something about it but in Chinese court?! TLG must think of another way to fight and win against these types of companies. I Ido not know how the situation looks like in US but here in Europe it is a real plague

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By in United Kingdom,

^Aim stud shooter missile device to red 5 brick in Poland
I agree with your idea but the quality issue is too much for me.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Karrakazul

It is the same. Let's say a new set comes out in time for this christmas. The price is £350. Bricklink are offering the parts to build this set for £100. What if everyone Bricklinks this set and only a handful of people buy the actual set from Lego. Who is going to pay the poor designers and IP holders? What about all the infrastructure? Ya think Lego will be happy that somebody gave them some money several years ago for an entirely different product? How is that paying for this set? What if people did that for every set released from now on?

Your analogy for other used markets doesn't apply. Other things stay what they were, a 2016 E-Class will always be a 2016 E-Class, so when the 2017 E-Class comes out it is a totally new product and people have no way of obtaining it unless they give Mercedes money. Bricklinking old retired sets I guess could be seen as fine, as long as Lego are ok with you using their designs. Lego has no way of making money from a discontinued product. Bricklinking a new product is stealing their design and not paying Lego one penny for it.

Lepin are not knock off bricks. They are just bricks. As mentioned by another poster, Lego is a knock off of Kiddicraft. Lepin is obviously using Lego's designs. So is Bricklink.

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By in Poland,

@ James"Bucky"Barnes
I think stud shooter missile device is not really necessary
Yes the quality of bricks is bad (not "garbage" bad) but it's either nothing or anything :/

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By in United Kingdom,

^ I guess I will never know the quantity of the sets until I try them. Is there a retailer or something or is it just online?

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By in Poland,

^ Didn't hear of any retailer so i assume just online

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By in United Kingdom,

^couldnt Lego just block that site?

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By in Poland,

^ I mean websites like ebay

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By in United Kingdom,

I've seen several people saying that Lego was a knock-off of Kiddicraft, and here's what I have to say:

No. It wasn't, or at least not in the same way as Lepin is to Lego now.

Kiddicraft made self-locking bricks with studs on top and a hollow underside in several different colours and shapes. Lego decided to do the same thing a few years later, they made self-locking bricks with studs on top and a hollow underside in several different colours and shapes. But that's where the similarities end. The actual design of the brick was different; Kiddicraft bricks were larger and more rounded than Lego bricks. Even the original Lego bricks from 1949, which had the holes in two sides and completely hollow underside, still had smaller studs, smaller size and more squared off edges than Kiddicraft bricks.

Let's look at what Lepin are doing to Lego: using the exact same moulds, exact same design, exact same box art, and all with no regards to intellectual property but for calling it Star Wnrs so the lawyers don't 'immediately' come in and ruin them. Is that the same as what Lego did to Kiddicraft? Not remotely!

Put it this way - is Spec Ops: The Line a knock-off of Mass Effect 3? Nope. They're both story-driven, third-person shooter games, with multiple endings and a main character who travels with their squad, sure, but there are substantial differences in the details. In this situation, Kiddicraft is Mass Effect 3, Lego is Spec Ops: The Line, and Lepin is a pirated copy of the latter named 'Spec Nps: The Line'. Lepin is intellectual theft. Lego was competition. And I did not need to write this much.

I wish you the best in court, Lego.

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By in United States,

Sure... The Chinese kangaroo courts will convict Lepin... Sure....

kazar14. I agree with your point. Lepin is theft, while say, Mega Bloks is competition.

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By in United States,

I have to imagine Bricklink is actually good for LEGO overall. Think about how many official sets people buy just to part out and sell to people. Think about how many awesome MOCs are made with Bricklink pieces and then shown all over the Internet, at conventions, etc. I've even seen stuff like Destiny LEGO MOCs on major video game news sites, for example. You don't think this gets more people into or back into LEGO that then start buying sets? That's what happened to me.

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By in United Kingdom,

@Roobot

Wow, people using Lego to infringe on IP by making Destiny MOCs.

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By in Singapore,

Hello All:

I am an American AFOL, living in Singapore, who travels to Hong Kong and China often. All three markets provide easy access to these LEPIN sets. As a big LEGO Star Wars Fan, I have frowned on these fakes, until I recently saw the high quality clones of LEGO's UCS Death Star II, Falcon & Executioner at roughly less than $150-200 SGD each.

Well executed on LEPIN's part, pardon the pun, considering what these retired LEGO sets now sell for. That said, as a content creator, I respect IP and refuse to buy fakes of anything. However, I ask everyone to consider the possibility that LEGO is pricing itself out of the market (much like the entertainment industry has done in terms of CD's & BluRay) and has indirectly encouraged this 'black market' piracy behavior.

I just returned from a stay at the Shanghai Disneyland Resort, home to the largest official LEGO retail store in the region. I was hoping to buy the Disney Castle and bring it back to Singapore (where prices are 25% more than USA) but to my horror, it was $240 USD more than if I bought it in Boston (including Massachusetts' high sales tax).
While trademarks should be respected and enforced, brands should honor their customers. The recent, overpriced, 're-release' of the Death Star is an example of a brand taking them for granted in my opinion.

Even though LEGO fans should unite to protest price gouging across many markets, they will not. Similar to battered spouse syndrome, we will keep coming back for more.

What are your thoughts?

Best,
Ron

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By in United Kingdom,

Here's a thought. If lepin get away with this then anybody could. We already have tales of cheap (fake) products like GHD hair straightners almost burning down houses and all those hover boards that were the thing to have last Xmas bursting into flames. People get so carried away with a bargain but is it such a bargain when your toddler decides to chew on some 'bargain' duplo bricks that are made of poisonous chemicals a becomes seriously ill (or worse). How can you decide which fake brand is good and which is bad? You can't.

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By in United Kingdom,

Surely TLG would have done a press release saying that Lepin causes cancer or something if it was harmful. It isn't hard or costly for TLG to test a sample Lepin brick and provide the results, I would have thought they'd have done this already in house. Nothing puts people off children's toys more than danger. My conclusion is that it's probably not harmful. I'm pretty sure we could have a Lepin brick tested ourselves.

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By in United Kingdom,

I not saying the lepin bricks are dangerous in anyway. Just if they can copy lego in such a way, so can the next company and the next and next and so on. Each company would want to be cheaper and cheaper and would use any means to be the cheapest.

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By in United Kingdom,

I think the current situation is a rather logical consequence of globalisation, and things will only get worse from now on. Unless a country agrees to ban a specific brand altogether. Look at the car market in EU - for better or for worse it is rather tightly regulated.

@ Greendude

The notion of Bricklink being an IP-infringement facilitator is just preposterous. The usual volume of produce will be soaked up by the market either way (keeping IP holders happy) since very few would actually go to the trouble of BL'ing the sets, while designers would still get their agreed-upon salary. And if the prices of sets do happen to skyrocket, so will the prices of their pieces on BL.

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By in United States,

For those people who believe all copies are Chinese, there are other companies that are absolutely horrible at making Lego sets. Look at Character Building in Britain. Nice minifigs, but absolutely horrible sets. Trying to assemble their Doctor Who Dalek Spaceship was a nightmare- I literally had to disassemble it three times, then reassemble it before it even was able to stay relatively together. The instructions were a mess- sometimes I couldn't tell what was added on, so that probably explains why I had to do it THREE times- because I probably missed putting on some important brick. Also, getting them to stick together....I literally had to hammer some of the more reluctant pieces together before they even stuck together. Three years later, not a one of these sets is intact- I disassembled all of them and am using them as spare parts in my MOCs. Ironically, they stick to actual Lego pieces better than they stick to each other. Most of my troubles were with their baseplates, which formed about 85% of everything I had to build.

Lego is good enough for me. I'm not buying any CB stuff ever again.

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By in China,

Lego gives me and my child a lot of fun. I love Lego and good luck to TLG!
I am in China and I will not buy any clone set.
And I always feel unfair about Lego's price in China. It's almost a half more even twice of price in Germany & USA. Not long ago I could buy Lego sets from Amazon.de, Amazon.co.uk and ship them directly to China , but now it is not possible to do directly shipment by Amazon. I don't know why Lego/Amazon closed the door for China customers.
I really hope TLG solve price problem not long after.

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By in United States,

China is communist, everything from the court system to the businesses are state owned and ran.
Lepin is only one brand of many that they have.

I stopped buying Lego sets once I have found their replacements. I go online and get free instructions to lego sets and build these fake chinese sets. They are 1/3 the cost at least and free shipping.
top quality figures.. you can find on ebay for a ton more..
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Latest-Minifigures-Single-Sale-2016-New-Suicide-Squad-Movie-Marvel-DC-Super-Heroes-Avengers-Batman-Block/32710672737.html?spm=2114.01010108.3.39.Ut35wp&ws_ab_test=searchweb201556_0,searchweb201602_1_10065_10068_10067_112_10069_110_111_418_10017_109_108_10060_10061_10062_10057_10056_10055_10054_10059_10058_10073_10070_10052_10053_10050_10051,searchweb201603_4&btsid=7114226d-ee92-49cc-a5eb-adb1e3c8ed08

They are even coming out with better sets..
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/building-block-set-compatible-with-lego-happy-farm-244-3D-Construction-Brick-Educational-Hobbies-Toys-for/32647622354.html?spm=2114.10010108.1000014.7.E03BdH&scm=1007.13338.46806.0&pvid=2be1bfc9-41d5-46cf-ba82-74acf381d6a5&tpp=1

and
https://www.aliexpress.com/item/Ausini-City-28001-Farm-Animals-Building-Blocks-Sets-884pcs-Educational-Jigsaw-Model-DIY-Construction-Bricks-Figure/32512054915.html?spm=2114.10010108.1000014.9.E03BdH&scm=1007.13338.46806.0&pvid=2be1bfc9-41d5-46cf-ba82-74acf381d6a5&tpp=1

are my favorite..
I used to buy from 3rd party suppliers like Brick Forge & Brick Arms, but these chinese toys are ten times cheaper..

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By in United States,

@Brick N Stix

You are a stupid idiot. You do not appreciate Lego at all and have no respect for their hard work to make their excellent products. You should be banned from this website.

Get out.

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By in Netherlands,

@General Grievous
No, I hope Huw or any of the other admins do not kick and/or ban him from Brickset.com !
Not because I agree with him, but if the admins only allow people to express views and opinions here that are deemed 'Lego/brickset politically correct' (so to speak) it will not make a very interesting discussion.

Plus, I hope that the Community Engagement Team at LEGO will also read all these comments and make note of them.

Brick N Stix obviously loves the Lego construction toys but has no brand loyalty, so if he can buy imitation bricks that are much cheaper, he will apparently. I wonder how many other people think and act the same way as he does? Most people who buy Lego for their kids, are not such aficionados as us (A)FOL's, they just have so much to spend on toys for their kids, and may be much easier swayed to buy non-Lego (imitation/fake/compatible) construction toys, when they are much cheaper, and the original Lego toys are not affordable, or at least much more expensive.

Earlier I wrote here that I consider myself a Lego fan! I want to support Lego (and I do, because I only buy genuine Lego sets!), however I am not a zealous 'Lego fan boi' either. Just because I only collect construction toys made by TLG, does not mean I am part of some Lego cult, that will not ever criticise it. You mentioned earlier in response to my post, that in your view: "prices are getting quite high in the USA as well. While I have noticed it for a while now, when it really blew my away was when they released the Star Wars 7 sets".

I won't become a Lepin fan and collector, no way! But it does not mean we should not also be critical of TLG. Because why are these counterfeiters so successful at what they are doing? I think it is not only because in China they can get away with it? I think that it may to some extend also have something to do with retail prices of Lego sets, the availability, and affordability.

Regardless of the quality, which many people who have bought Lepin rip-off sets b.t.w. state is surprisingly good (on this thread as well as the brickset forum), though not on par with the quality of that of the REAL Lego bricks (yet!?), Lepin is a disingenuous unoriginal copycat and counterfeiter of Lego sets. However Lepin is also not the only fraudulent rip-off imitation construction company in China.

Lego is not a luxury brand, and if it has become a luxury brand in the eyes of many people, TLG may want to rethink if that is how they want to be perceived (by first and foremost their target audience: children and their parents etc. who ultimately are the ones paying for the toys). Lego is a premium toy brand (which I like!) that also embodies a certain set of values. TLG's slogan is 'only the best is good enough', and that comes at a price. Does it mean Lego sets ought to be priced as it is, perhaps TLG needs to re-evaluate whether or not they may be pricing themselves out of the market. TLG as a commercial enterprise exists because it is profitable, however the founders as well as the present people in charge of the Toy company also want(ed) to make toys that are not only are fun and creative, but are also affordable to most families and ultimately the children playing with them (and adults too who once decades ago as children grew up with Lego and are now buying it not only for their (grand)children but for themselves too), and not just the happy few.

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By in United States,

This is crazy...only China could get away with something so blatantly against any patent rules that have been established, not to mention common courtesy

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By in Netherlands,

@The Big Legoski:

If these people you speak of are willing to support criminals just to save a buck, then why don't they go all the way and simply steal Lego? Can't beat free, right? :)

BTW, I frankly wouldn't trust the impartiality of anyone who went and bought one of these sets when they say the quality is "surprisingly good". Perhaps they expected to find a literal bag of rocks? Like I said, I've had them in my hands, and it's like... well... any Chinese fake.

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By in United States,

street vendors are selling a LOT of those Lepin and also Lele brand "clones" in Hong Kong, Sham Shui Po, Fuk Wing st. Its a shame the police and/or custom are not doing anything as Hong Kong suppose to be a SAR with own laws and intellectual property rights..

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By in Japan,

Don't know if LEPIN had registered their trademarks and copyrights before LEGO built their Chinese factories... But the law in China doesn't recognize copyrights outside of China. (Obviously.)
However, assuming they had TLG registered before LEPIN, TLG does stand a chance if they have an officially recognized copyright registered in China.
There are a few avenues that TLG could take:
1) Under-cut the competition. Take note of what the music industry did to combat pirated CDs over a decade ago... They looked at the average selling prices and priced the competition out of business. People quickly found no need to buy fake shit.
2) Embargo. File request in the EU & USA to block all imports of LEPIN products. This is a short term solution. But would likely result in stiffer penalties within China for TLG. And, even higher prices.
3) Hostile Takeover. Outright buy the LEPIN company in cash and effectively put it out of business. This can be very effective if it's not blocked by the Chinese government. I've seen many global companies do this and it's works regardless of who had the better product.
I'm sure there are more avenues that could even be pursued in parallel.

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