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LEGO fight Against Chinese counterfeit LEGO

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  • MAGNINOMINISUMBRAMAGNINOMINISUMBRA Member Posts: 593
    Its specifically CMF's I'm interested in - the sellers I've seen have sold MANY copies without any apparently negative feedback on eBay. I'm hoping that the cost versus worth of having to produce a complete series including all its individual and display packaging and accessories would outweigh the easier (and probably more popular) licensed targets.
  • MAGNINOMINISUMBRAMAGNINOMINISUMBRA Member Posts: 593
    The looks of horror from my seven year old when he is regaling stories of fake Star Wars and Super Hero figs from the latest visit to a friends house makes me EXTREMELY wary of risking a counterfeit in OUR house...
    boad
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    You should be OK with the CMFs, the main copied ones I have seen are the dwarf, elf and roman but none of their accessories are quite right.

    Most fake sellers are good enough not to call them lego, so that is something to look out for. If you purchase something labelled as lego and it isn't, then complain.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    I accidentally bought some fake CMFs and castle figures last week on an impulse buy, thinking that I was getting a bargain. In the description, it says "works with lego" and it's listed in the Lego category. I've reported a number of sellers in the past, but eBay do not seem to be doing much to prevent these incursions to their rules.
  • Farmer_JohnFarmer_John USA - 4,035 Miles from 62 West Wallaby St., Wigan, Lancashire, UKMember Posts: 2,337
    The best way to deal with counterfeit Lego sets or minifigures (not "works with Lego sets") is to just file a claim with Paypal in the "not as described" category. If the seller loses enough money mailing counterfeit Lego parts and sets, then they will quit selling them.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    I doubt they will stop. There is even an ebay seller advertising their ebay sales on the brickset marketplace now, and many of their items are fake lego minifigures - not customs that are compatible with lego as they describe them, they are faked versions of lego minifigures.
    andhe
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,558
    prevere said:

    Blatantly illegal is like saying something is completely destroyed. Just a bit redundant. Sorry, this is the newspaper copy editor coming out in me.

    It's not redundant because there's the factor of ignorance that needs to be taken into account when it comes to illegal activities. Plenty of people, including some in the Lego community, violate copyright law in regard to intellectual property rights all the time. However, they don't do so because they're trying to engage in illegal activities but rather because they're ignorant of the law (and in some cases, just not bright enough to understand something as simple as intellectual property rights). People selling custom minifigures are engaging in illegal activities. Companies styling their toys and packaging to resemble Lego products are engaging in blatantly illegal activities.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,565
    Doing a law course currently and having to have studied the laws around IP. All I can say is that, in the UK at least, is that it is a bit of a mess.

    When it comes to toys you can copy an idea. However, it should be significantly different in someway so that it cannot cause brand confusion or be seen to be endorsed in anyway by the company. The best example of this is Lego and its denial of allowing other websites to use lego in their name.

    The rules are there to ensure that people don't nick other people's ideas but without stifling creativity. So it is how a company like minifigs me can create a character that looks like certain characters but there are enough differences to ensure they can't get slapped with a cease order.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 775
    I reckon exact copies of existing figures would break the law but things like Punisher, that LEGO don't make themselves, wouldn't. I'm no lawyer though so don't quote me in court!
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    ^ While lego wouldn't care as much, Marvel might.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 775
    CCC said:

    ^ While lego wouldn't care as much, Marvel might.

    True. All this talk of LEGO had me for getting that Marvel still own the characters (plus DC for other side heroes).
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,487
    Taking a slightly different slant... but I didn't know where else to post it without starting a new thread.

    How can Chinese sellers sell (fake) figs for £2 and ship to the UK for free? Surely it costs more than that to post it, so what's the catch? If it was some dodgy website I presume that they were just harvesting credit card details, but as it's on ebay is it just to boost their sellers ratings? Seems an expensive way to go about it, unless international shipping really is that cheap from China.

    Any suggestions??
  • iamterryiamterry Member Posts: 149
    andhe said:

    Seems an expensive way to go about it, unless international shipping really is that cheap from China.

    That seems to be the answer - there's lots of bits and pieces (mostly electronics related) that you can get shipped from Hong Kong/China for not a lot of money on ebay.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    I've bought a number of things from China (not minifigs though) and nearly always the UK-UK postage would be equal to at least the value I paid for the item alone. They must get very cheap shipping - maybe huge volume discounts?

    It makes you wonder how much the Royal Mail gets when they deliver the packages.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,487
    It must be a pittance. I often find that stuff ordered is marked as 'a gift' to avoid customs charges, but surely the post system must know this is happening. I guess they let the little ones slide if there's so much stuff shipped over.

    I've seen (fake) big figs going for £2, which includes free postage. To ship something that size within the UK would probably cost you that if not more. So the Royal Mail must be losing out, or screwing us Brits over, or charging us to make up for the international losses?
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,088
    consider just how much stuff comes out of china. it's almost certainly bulk shipping deals.
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp City 17Member Posts: 1,021
    Found a site that says its 5 CNY for the first 50g then 0.09 for each additional gram.
    andhe
  • wayneggwaynegg Texas,USAMember Posts: 388
    5 CNY = 80 cents or 50 pence
    andhe
  • ShpadoinkleShpadoinkle 13 hours West of BillundMember Posts: 417
    My wife and I own one knock off minifig, and I would buy more, and here's why:

    Lego knows exactly what they're doing with their "chaser" figs and comic con exclusives. We've all seen the mangled series 10 bags at stores, and it was "major" news that finding a Mr. Gold could get you a lot of money. We've also all read the stories of people waiting in line at comic con for 4+ hours for a "chance" to win an exclusive minifig, and then what percentage of these find their way to eBay? 50%? 75%? Many have argued that selling these is a way to defray much of the cost of going to the con, which is fine, but Lego knows exactly what they're doing when they offer exclusives like this, that almost none are finding their way into the hands of children, and most are going straight to the secondary market TLG supposedly abhors.

    The knockoff minifig we own is a SDCC Phoenix. We found it for $2 at a flea market. She's up in the showcase next to Wolverine, and it makes my wife happy to see her there. Do we think that we own the real thing? No. Do we take it out and stroke it lovingly like so much Gollum? No. Would we get $150+ worth of pleasure from the real thing? Doubtful. Do we get $2 worth of enjoyment from this one? Yes.

    Now for the big question: Would I let a child play with this minifig? Yes!

    A couple of weeks ago we had a friend over and she brought her sons (our Godsons) and we turned them loose on our Lego collection. We like to do this a couple times a year...They get to play with whatever they want (except UCS sets) and then we spend a day or two putting everything back like so much President Business. The youngest son (5) at one point was looking at the stuff on the coffee table. We all looked away at what the other boy was doing, and then heard "CRASH". We looked back, and the 5-year-old had taken Batman off his UCS Tumbler Stand, and smashed the exclusive and very expensive Heath Ledger Joker fig so he flew across the room. I gasped, but calmed myself down and realized that it had been 100% my fault. I'd left the figs and the set within reach and the natural thing to do was for Batman to smash the Joker! The boy didn't know that combined these figs would cost $50 to replace. He saw a toy, he played with it.

    And that's the crux of my issue with the knock off figs, at least when it comes to copies of the exclusives and promotional minifigures...Above all these are a childrens toy, but when the cost of a minifigure exceeds $20, $30, or $100 is it really *meant* for children anymore? Or is it meant to be hermetically sealed by the Comic Book Guys of the world and traded back and forth? If the latter, fine, then any knock off is absolutely appalling and we should take up arms. But if the former, if there are children who would want to play with a Green Lantern, or a Phoenix, or some other character that they can't get in a set (yes I know Green Lantern is finally coming out in a set) do we tell them that they'll just have to do without their favorite character because the $2 one they see at the flea market in front of them "isn't real"?

    Frankly, I'd let them play with the $2 and keep the $150 figure in the showcase.
    Kevin_Hyattsnowhitie
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    That reasoning is fine, but why stop at $20. If you can get a $2 fake of a $4 figure for a kid to play with, then you've saved 50%.

    Which is the reason they sell well on eBay.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    Because at that point $2 or $4 most people wouldn't care about the difference, it's no big deal if a kid smashes up a $2 or $4 minifig, but a $20 might be a point at which you get annoyed by it.

    I don't think it's about the saving, it's about whether you're spending so much on it you wouldn't want a kid to prat about with it. What value that cutoff occurs at is a personal choice I guess. If you're near broke then $4 may well be too much, if you're a billionaire you probably don't care if your kid smashes up a $500 exclusive minifig.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    For a collector, maybe. For a parent, a $2 minifig is better value than a $4 one. There should be no reason for fake Simpsons CMFs. Official ones are cheap to buy on eBay if you don't want to buy blind packs. Yet truly awful quality quality fake CMFs sell for about £5-£10 for a set of six.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 775
    I've seen both Simpsons and tlm fake minifigs. Not great and not really all that cheaper than originals.
    Also seen one piece, naruto, Dragonball, and loads of superheroes not available and never likely to be either (LEGO punisher anyone?).
    Am happy to let kids play with(smash!) these ones.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    CCC said:

    For a collector, maybe. For a parent, a $2 minifig is better value than a $4 one. There should be no reason for fake Simpsons CMFs. Official ones are cheap to buy on eBay if you don't want to buy blind packs. Yet truly awful quality quality fake CMFs sell for about £5-£10 for a set of six.

    But is that just people being screwed who don't know any better rather than intentional purchase of perceived to be much cheaper fakes?
  • AdzbadboyAdzbadboy London, UKMember Posts: 2,240
    I never plan to buy any LEGO that is used or opened, new/sealed sets or ploybags are fine. Fakes just make me want to throw up. Speaking of fakes I still see and hear stories of people stealing, opening boxes and altering the contents of the set, so the secondary market is very risky for that very reason but I guess it's who you are purchasing from.

    When the time comes I don't plan to give fakes to my children either I want them to have the same experience and quality that I did throughout my childhood and adulthood.
    Andor
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    Xefan said:

    CCC said:

    For a collector, maybe. For a parent, a $2 minifig is better value than a $4 one. There should be no reason for fake Simpsons CMFs. Official ones are cheap to buy on eBay if you don't want to buy blind packs. Yet truly awful quality quality fake CMFs sell for about £5-£10 for a set of six.

    But is that just people being screwed who don't know any better rather than intentional purchase of perceived to be much cheaper fakes?

    I don't know. Some are so obviously fake, the descriptions state that they are not Lego, but still people buy.
  • ChrisbstmChrisbstm USAMember Posts: 151
    I wouldn't let my niece play with any fakes. There isn't the standard of materials and quality. Imagine the fake figures possibly cheaper plastic leaking toxins? What if a child puts that same figure in their mouth? Nope. I'll shell out the extra couple bucks.
    oldtodd33AndorAdzbadboyBJ21Gurooosnowhitie
  • SuperTrampSuperTramp City 17Member Posts: 1,021
    Chrisbstm said:

    Imagine the fake figures possibly cheaper plastic leaking toxins? .

    I agree, god forbid that happens and my wee one turns in to the green goblin.

    boad
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    Looks like the Chinese counterfeiters are expanding their range, which is hardly surprising.

    As someone that buys quite a bit of Lego from eBay, I am concerned by the recent increase in counterfeit Lego being offered on there, mainly as it's clogging up searches as it mentions Lego in the description.

    It looks like stormtroopers are next on the counterfeiters' lists.

    http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/4-X-Star-Wars-Storm-troopers-Clone-Troopers-mini-figures-like-lego-DUE-IN-JAN-/291317759566?pt=UK_Construction_Toys_Kits&hash=item43d3e43e4e
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    I think Lego have lost the battle ...

    Fake S1 Zombie anyone?

  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 775
    CCC said:

    I think Lego have lost the battle ...

    Fake S1 Zombie anyone?

    Where's the pic from? Wondered what the currency was.
  • RevBluesRevBlues Member Posts: 113
    Ebay is just filled to the brim with fake goods and tax evading dealers. It's why it never gets my money. Amazon is headed the same way.
  • yys4uyys4u USA SoCalMember Posts: 1,090
    edited December 2014
    At comic con this past year I ran into a booth selling Minifigures that weren't lego, but they looked really good. When I asked the guy about them (I knew they weren't lego because they were figures not made by lego), he didn't try to pass them off as LEGO, he said they weren't but I misunderstood because they looked so simliar and of equal quality. I thought he meant they weren't lego but were custom printed figures or something. I ended up buying the fantastic 4 figures, and odin. I've come across some fakes before, but these were by far the best. The legs had different connections, and that's how I finally figured it out, but if more fakes end up like the figures I bought, it's going to be a really hard battle for lego.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,487
    CCC said:

    I think Lego have lost the battle ...

    Fake S1 Zombie anyone?

    That's crazy how many fakes/breaches of copyright can be contained within one picture...

    Fake Hulkbuster, Giant Green Goblins and Hulks to the left. Fake Star Wars behind...

  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    I am reporting about half a dozen listings every day on eBay for either misusing the Lego trademark or listing in the Lego category, but they seem to pick and choose which ones to pull.

    If TLG can stop the eBay trade, they'll block the main marketplace for all these counterfeit minifigs.
    TXLegoguyGuroooBrickDancer
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    The only way they will stop the trade of fakes on ebay is to stop the trade of all (including legitimate) lego on ebay.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    IMO, eBay should be made liable for counterfeit goods being sold via their website.
    margot
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    How would that work? For ebay to protect itself, then they would need all items to be posted to them, unpacked, checked by an expert, repacked, and then posted on. So there would be double postage costs, probably 10 minutes time per item for unpacking, checking and repacking - that's probably another £5 for that service at least.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,487
    ^I think there's a simpler solution. If you're a business selling who is obviously selling fake goods (in this case, anyone who is selling chinese 'compatible' not-lego) then it's easy enough for eBay to remove the listing once it's been reported.

    The problem is as this stuff infiltrates general sellers or people's lego collections. In that case it would be up to the buyer to send it back for a refund.

    I think the truth is eBay don't care what you're selling as long as it makes them money. They're only going to act on it if it's likely to get them in trouble (eg if TLG pressed them to clamp down on counterfeits).
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    There are some genuine Chinese brands that are compatible with lego, and they would be unfairly removed. Flagging up what is Chinese or not is probably quite difficult since the sellers are often not in China. Many UK businesses import them to sell on ebay. I also doubt it would be legal to ban based on country of origin. Plus lots of lego is Chinese too anyway.

    The other problem is that fakes would be sold as genuine lego. At least now, it is obvious (at least to those in the know) if something is a fake. If fakes are routinely removed, then the descriptions would say that they are genuine and the sellers would just refund the minority of people that realise they have bought fakes and complain.

    They should probably also ban any custom jobs too - since many of those infringe IP, even if genuine lego parts are used.
  • augenaugen Worcester, UKMember Posts: 317
    CCC said:

    How would that work? For ebay to protect itself, then they would need all items to be posted to them, unpacked, checked by an expert, repacked, and then posted on. So there would be double postage costs, probably 10 minutes time per item for unpacking, checking and repacking - that's probably another £5 for that service at least.

    As it currently stands, anyone buying counterfeit Lego can ask for a refund if the item is listed in the Lego category, so on that basis, eBay already guarantee buyers against buying counterfeit goods.

    If eBay were made legally responsible, they would be forced to take more action against sellers misusing trademarks and categories for search engine manipulation. Part of the current problem is that sellers are allowed to twist words in their descriptions, which eBay should stamp out. The word Lego should not appear anywhere in a listing, so these listings do not appear in searches for the name. Also, where an item is clearly a licensed theme, sellers should be required to state that it's licensed product, so they will either sell a genuine product, or unequivocally be breaking the law. The way to stop counterfeit products is to hit the sellers in the pocket, so make it as hard as possible for them to pass off goods and easy for buyers to claim refunds for even the smallest infringement.

  • Thanos75Thanos75 Member Posts: 1,053
    I saw my first fake LEGO this weekend in the French Market. There was a really nice booth all set up and it looked like it was doing a fair amount of business. They had trays with minifigs on them with prices of $5 up to $15 each. Lots of cmfs and figs I have seen in other sets. That's when I noticed all the oddball figs like Odin and Winter Soldier and Punisher...etc. They also had trays of pieces to build figs. While I was looking around one of the customers asked what set a certain fig came from. The lady working the booth said that they made the figure in their warehouse because LEGO wouldn't make it. She then started telling the customer how each mold cost her $12,000 so that's why she and to charge $5 a fig. At that point I just walked away shaking my head.
  • Rainstorm26Rainstorm26 Chicago Burbs USA (and sometimes Ireland)Member Posts: 837
    andhe said:

    CCC said:

    I think Lego have lost the battle ...

    Fake S1 Zombie anyone?

    That's crazy how many fakes/breaches of copyright can be contained within one picture...

    Fake Hulkbuster, Giant Green Goblins and Hulks to the left. Fake Star Wars behind...

    You missed the fake Frozen Lego just to the top left of the S1 stack.
  • RedbullgivesuwindRedbullgivesuwind Brickset's Secret HeadquatersMember Posts: 1,565
    @Thanos75‌ was that for a copy of the Lego mould or her own custom made ones, because they are very expensive to cut.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,088
    Seeing as most of the fakes are just copies of Lego pieces I think it's fair to assume anyone claiming to have had moulds made for their fake figures is likely lying to justify the inflated cost of their knock offs. They will most likely be made by the same people selling them on ebay - with the market trader buying in bulk from china.
  • superstarbeejaysuperstarbeejay Member Posts: 121
    So to be clear, when people in this thread refer to fake Lego they are referring to products not labeled with the Lego trademark.

    As said above, things really start getting bad when the fakes start using the trademark too. EBay was awash with fake game boy and DS games for years that were quite hard to spot for the in trained eye. Many millions of these were sold to people who never knew any different until the cart save failed. Then Nintendo get the blame and the reputational hit.

    While fakes are easily recognisable as being so, there isn't a massive issue IMO but as soon as they start being close enough to wear the Lego trademark that is when things really start getting to be a problem.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 14,345
    ^ Yes, and that is the problem when you ban fakes. Sellers just list using different images, and then send fakes. Many people will not notice, although of course some will. Those that notice get refunds.
  • jack_bricksjack_bricks Member Posts: 78
    edited December 2014
    Can I also report over priced Lego to Lego and ebay? I assume not and therefore I'm a bad bad Person and not a Lego Fan, so why should I bother reporting any other stuff to the company. Lego loves their aftermarket and resellers, this is also part of the aftermarket, sorry if you hit reality.

    A lot of AFOL are like (or become sort of) Apple-Fans, just woreshiping a company no matter what they do and the product is the holy grale.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,088
    edited December 2014
    ^Really? Did you not see the masses of negative comments on just about every Lego forum regarding the Barrell arms of the Exo-suit, or the huge lists of missed characters in the LOTR line?
    I get what you mean that being a fan of something doesn't mean you have to like everything that company does but frankly supporting people who are violating copyright law etc on the basis of you don't have to support all of TLGs decisions is a bit ridiculous.
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