On February 5, 2015, LEGO A/S of Denmark, LEGO System A/S of Denmark, and LEGO Systems, Inc. of Enfield, Connecticut (collectively, "LEGO") filed a complaint requesting that the ITC commence an investigation pursuant to Section 337.
The complaint alleges that LaRose Industries LLC d/b/a CRA-Z-ART, MEGA Brands Inc., and Best-Lock Construction Toys, Inc. (collectively, "the proposed respondents") unlawfully import into the U.S., sell for importation, and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain toy figurines and toy sets containing the same that infringe one or more of the following U.S. design patents: D682,367 ("the '367 patent"), D678,432 ("the '432 patent"), D689,568 ("the '568 patent"), and D672,413 ("the '413 patent") (collectively, "the asserted patents"). LEGO also alleges that the proposed respondents infringe one or more of the following U.S. Copyright registrations: VA 1-876-291, VA 1-876-279, VA 1-876-378, and VA 1-876-373.
According to the complaint, the asserted patents generally relate to the ornamental design of LEGO's Friends line of figurines that live in the imaginary LEGO toy world of Heartlake City. In particular, the '367 patent depicts the ornamental design for a toy figurine torso. The '432 patent depicts the ornamental design for a toy figurine waist and legs. The '568 patent depicts the ornamental design for a toy figurine head. Lastly, the '413 patent also depicts the ornamental design for a toy figurine waist and legs. The asserted copyright registrations similarly depict male and female toy figurines.
In the complaint, LEGO states that the proposed respondents import into the U.S. and/or sell within the U.S. after importation certain toy figurines that, in the eye of an ordinary observer, are substantially the same as the designs in the asserted patents. As to the asserted copyrights, LEGO states that the toy figurines are strikingly and substantially similar, and have a substantially similar overall look and feel, to the asserted copyrights.
Regarding domestic industry, LEGO states that it conducts substantial activities in the U.S. including licensing, research and development, and technical activities relating to the Domestic Toy Industry. In particular, LEGO states that it has made large investments in order to license the technology, including the employment of various personnel who are involved in LEGO's overall licensing operations. LEGO also states that it has invested significant amounts in its facilities in the U.S. to support the activities of its licensing employees, including retail and office spaces, rent, operating expenses, and leasehold improvements.
As to related litigation, LEGO states that the asserted patents and copyrights are the subject of a lawsuit filed on March 20, 2014 by LEGO A/S against CRA-Z-ART in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut, styled as LEGO A/S v. LaRose Industries LLC d/b/a CRA-Z-ART, Action No. 3:14-cv-00350.
With respect to potential remedy, LEGO request that the Commission issue a permanent general exclusion order, a permanent limited exclusion order directed at proposed respondents, and a permanent cease and desist order directed at proposed respondents.