Introduction

For the last few years, the Chinese government has been implementing strict measures for IP protection. Due to these measures, Chinese courts have heard more IP cases than ever before. One of the recent and encouraging cases is “LEGO vs LEPIN”. As “IPdaily news portal” reports, nine people were held and sentenced to 6 years in jail for violating copyrights of “LEGO” toys.

 

Background

The infringing company of LEGO toys is “LEPIN”. There is no information about the date of the company’s establishment, type of the company, the registered capital etc. The first illegal business activity was dated back to 2015. The company bought different sets of “LEGO” toys, underwent a thorough examination of their design, material, structure and produced a copy of these LEGO constructions on a 1:1 scale. After successful production of the “LEGO” copycat, “LEPIN” expanded business: they built factories, rented warehouses, registered trademarks and ran online shops on well-known e-commerce platforms such as Taobao. Since 2017-2019 “LEPIN” had sold over 4.25 million construction sets which equated to 300 million RMB.

 

Investigation

In 2019 the Police Department of Shanghai received numerous claims which concerned LEPIN toys. Owing to these claims, the Police Department of Shanghai decided to investigate this case. As a result, the Shanghai Police revealed a factory, special equipment for manufacturing fake toys and confiscated over 600,000 “LEPIN” brand toys, 289,000 construction boxes, 175,000 manuals and lists of sales orders with 50,000 clients.  The seized products became infringement evidence. The Shanghai Intermediate Court (No. 3) made the following decision: the infringers were sentenced to 6 years in jail and paid a fine of 90 million RMB.

The representatives from “LEGO” Group highly appreciated the Police Department and Shanghai Intermediate Court work, and hoped, that the Chinese governmental bodies would continue to combat with infringers for a favorable business environment preservation, as it is the core of factor for running a business abroad. Besides, “LEGO” Group will cooperate with Chinese Police and other governmental bodies to take actions against infringers and suppress the misleading of consumers.