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Shanghai People’s Procuratorate Launches Criminal Prosecution of Lego Block Infringers

On February 26, 2020, the Third Branch of the Shanghai People’s Procuratorate launched a criminal prosecution against Li Moumou (李某某) and nine others for copyright infringement of Lego toys. From September 11, 2017 to April 23, 2019, Li Moumou and others produced and sold 634 types of infringing products with a volume of 4.24 million boxes and generating revenue of more than 300 million yuan (about $42.6 million USD). On April 23, 2019, public security organs seized more than 600,000 boxes of 344 types of infringing products for sale in the infringers’ warehouses, with a value of more than 30 million yuan.  Also seized were molds, spare parts, various packaging boxes,manuals, etc.

The defendants produced the infringing products in a toy factory in Shantou, Guangdong Province, and sold them online and offline under the “Lepin” (乐拼) brand.  Sales channels included export to Russia and Germany, physical stores within China, and online such as via Taobao and WeChat.  The price of the infringing products were generally 10% to 20% of the original Lego products.

Under Article 48 of the Copyright law, copyright infringement, if serious, can be a criminal offense. Article 217 of the Criminal law states the penalty for copyright infringement can include up to seven years of imprisonment and fines.

As can be seen from the images below, packaging is substantially similar showing an assembled Great Wall of China toy and similar logos, fonts, layout, etc. on the packaging itself.

Lego Great Wall of China
Lepin Great Wall of China

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Author:
Director of China Intellectual Property Practice

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