Shanghai, China – It has been nearly two and a half years since LEGO filed a civil lawsuit in China. The claim was that a massive counterfeit operation was being run by a company named LEPIN, along with three other companies. Yeah, someone is trying to sell you a knock-off Emmett, from The LEGO movie. Well, LEGO was happy to learn that a judge has ruled in their favor.
The LEPIN/LEGO History
For years Lepin has been producing bricks that, well you can see just from the packaging, is a total rip off of LEGO. On top of stealing the look and style of a LEGO brick, the counterfeits are also 100% “LEGO-compatible”. Selling figures that are identical to the real ones we all know and love. Even going as far as copying the featured toys instructions and packaging. Come on guys, can you do one thing that isn’t stealing from LEGO?! Okay, it is worth noting they made some simple changes. Star Wars has now become “Star Plan”?! And the all new and famous “Lepin City” instead of LEGO City. Original right?!
Taking effective immediately, the defendants were ordered to pay around $670,000 in compensation and instructed to cease sales, promotion, and production of all offending items. The word stressed by the order, “immediately”.
At the Lepin factory
Well, clearly there was some sort of miscommunication. Or maybe the word “immediately” means something different in Chinese? But from the reaction of the Shanghai officials, I am pretty sure the word holds the same meaning. It seems Lepin wasn’t ready to close.
What They Found
Shanghai officials had to physically go to Le Pins – Long Jun Toy Factory, where they were met by employees wondering “what’s up”. And it gets better, well I guess that matters what side you are on. Authorities were also able to confiscate 200,000 manuals, 200,000 retail boxes and almost 100 molds. There were also 630,000 packaged sets ready to be sent out to distributors. But, what really got my attention, and was one of the reasons I wanted to write this article…..the cash! Yeah, CASH $ . To really show you the scope of what counterfeiters make from stealing copyrights, authorities “found” almost $30 MILLION in cash . So, clearly LEGO has every right to be upset.
Shanghai police also had to arrest four suspects for interfering with the investigation while they were collecting the goods and all that cash.
After it was all done police proclaimed a victory against the counterfeiters and that they “destroyed the criminal gang and all the gang’s equipment.” Only time will tell for how long.