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LEGO fight Against Chinese counterfeit LEGO

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Comments

  • danstraindepotdanstraindepot Member Posts: 160
    I think these will end up hurting resellers, and honest folks trying to make some money to support their hobby. 

    This will not slow down my purchasing from LEGO, but it will definitely make me think twice about buying anything on eBay, and even Bricklink, if they filter over.

    By the way I think this is highly illegal, and I would not support any of these companies.  Its theft plain and simple.  Buy it if you want, its akin to shoplifting in my eyes.  

    I think custom figs are fine, they are purchasing legitimate LEGO items, and then using their own ability to make the figures more valuable.  I applaud these folks.  Even custom parts I am fine with, such as BrickArms.  These folks are using good business sense to capitalize on the success of LEGO.  I support them whenever I can.  Custom instructions, custom printed parts, all great.   Fun, and clever folks who work hard to provide some additional choices.

    But I have ZERO tolerance for the thieves and scum who steal a companies property, to cheaply knock it off and then resell it.  In fact if I knew of a dealer selling these knowingly I would not purchase ANYTHING from them, legitimate LEGO or not.

    I'll step down from my 'high horse' now, but lets not forget what this garbage counterfeit stuff really is.

    oldtodd33BrickDancerPhonebooth
  • khmellymelkhmellymel United KingdomMember Posts: 1,187
    ^ I think it is pretty inexpensive for businesses, though how one would get a "business" account I've not really any idea.  But when I tried to send items home through China Post (I did my exchange year in Shanghai), it was pretty expensive - almost, though not quite, as expensive as sending UK-CAN (or vice versa).  
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228

    I think custom figs are fine, they are purchasing legitimate LEGO items, and then using their own ability to make the figures more valuable.  I applaud these folks.  Even custom parts I am fine with, such as BrickArms.  These folks are using good business sense to capitalize on the success of LEGO.  I support them whenever I can.  Custom instructions, custom printed parts, all great.   Fun, and clever folks who work hard to provide some additional choices.

    But I have ZERO tolerance for the thieves and scum who steal a companies property, to cheaply knock it off and then resell it.  In fact if I knew of a dealer selling these knowingly I would not purchase ANYTHING from them, legitimate LEGO or not.

    So are customs of other people's IP OK for you, so long as they use genuine lego parts? That's what many of the highly rated customisers do - make versions of Super Heroes and the like that lego don't make. Sure they are not ripping off lego, but they are ripping of the companies who hold the IP for the various characters.

    PS. I don't think you'll have a problem on bricklink buying genuine figures. ebay is a completely different matter of course.
    Galactusdougts
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 1,960
    @CCC   I'm pretty sure there is some funny stuff going on on BL with minifigures also. Look at the larger Chinese stores and you will find they have thousands of popular minfigure torsos but few if any parts for sale. Something is amiss there. 
  • danstraindepotdanstraindepot Member Posts: 160
    First off, I apologize for my ignorance, I do not know how to do the 'Block Quote' on this forum.  Feel free to educate me, I am using Firefox, and probably missing something simple.

    In reference to the question: "So are customs of other people's IP OK for you, so long as they use genuine lego parts? That's what many of the highly rated customisers do - make versions of Super Heroes and the like that lego don't make. Sure they are not ripping off lego, but they are ripping of the companies who hold the IP for the various characters."

    I think that is a very legitimate question.   And it shows why its dangerous sitting on a 'high horse'.   I have always felt I was purchasing someones 'art' work.  Sort of like buying a great MOC, if for example I purchase a 'customized' figure, or playset, that is not available through LEGO.  Which I have done, quite a lot actually.   But a case could be made, the artist does not have the 'right' to use this IP.

    Further I prefer purchasing items like BrickBuildersPro does, where he creates his own 'LEGOIZED' for lack of a better term items, which have his own style and flair, and do not use an IP.

    But it shows you where black and white can quickly become gray.

    I love the innovation some folks show, like that 'crazy arms' idea.  That was clever.  But I just hate it when people try to do a direct, blatant, inferior copy and try to pass it off as something else.

    Those are my thoughts anyhow....


  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^It's not a 'high horse' so much as others going 'low down' to save a buck. It's all relative, but I prefer to think of doing the right thing as walking the normal walk.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    ^^ Yes, lines get very blurred. I avoid fakes for my collection, but don't mind the kids having them. In fact, as they break them and lose them, I'd prefer they use the cheap fakes.

    I normally try to use Lego parts but think nothing of using brickforge or brickwarriors parts if they are better than the Lego equivalent, or Lego doesn't make what I want.
    durazno33
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 777
    Those bootleg modulars seem very expensive to me.
    andhe
  • oldtodd33oldtodd33 Denver 4800 miles to BillundMember Posts: 1,960
    edited July 2015
    I love their disclaimer about the quality.

     This item is a copy custom-made works of LEGO 10182 Coffee Corner. It is just 10% bricks parts of the item from original Lego, e.g. cherry, windows,etc.  Most of brick parts and accessories are made by difference factories in China. All of them can compatible with Lego parts & bricks and in good quality. Durable, similar material but required care during using and playing. However, they are not as perfect as Lego bricks and BUILDING IS NOT EASY! It might be a slightly difference in colour. REFUND FOR THIS ITEM IS NOT ACCEPTED!

    MrJ_NY
  • theLEGOmantheLEGOman UKMember Posts: 1,410
    Did you read this bit?

    More COPY WORKS of Modular Building Sets are available or would come out in the future,Such as 10196-Grand Carousel, 10143- Dealth star and 10179-Millennium Falcon 10179,10197-Fire Brigrade.
    Pls contact me for details. If you have any special models are interested, pls feel free to let me know and see any feasibility to make.


  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    Its the natural progression. They've probably been making decent money on knock off minifigs and Lego has not tried to stop it (or if they have they failed) so now they are moving onto bigger bucks.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,806
    I'm curious if the knockoff parts have LEGO stamped on them.
  • MrJ_NYMrJ_NY A flick missle away from Brickagara FallsMember Posts: 581
    Wonder how many days until their copy of Town Hall is available.
    "However, they are not as perfect as Lego bricks and BUILDING IS NOT EASY!"
    I hope anyone who purchases this junk can't even get the bricks to clutch,even with glue >:)
  • NintendawgNintendawg Member Posts: 18
    It's all quite depressing. At the moment us afols probably have a pretty good eye for spotting counterfeits when buying new and unused. The real damage will be in 10 or 15 years. All used Lego will become a minefield unless it has all boxes and instructions.

    Anyone watch antiques roadshow? It's not uncommon someone will come on with a fancy heirloom plate or vase only to be told it's a cheap mass produced forgery. Maybe in 2120 we'll have people trying to get their fake SDCC figures appraised.

  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    It will be interesting to see if there is a market for them. There seems to be two main groups of people that want older sets like CC. (1) people that want to build it (and I'll included sealed box collectors in this) and (2) people that want it because it is valuable. I haven't got a clue what the relative portion of each is. I imagine most people in (1) would want a genuine one, but would they prefer nothing or a fake in their collection? Most people in (2) won't want a fake as it is essentially worthless for resale, or they could claim it genuine and then get in trouble for selling fakes. So it is not clear to me that there really is a market for these. I think they are quite different to (fake) minifigs, where there is a clear market for them.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    edited July 2015
    I want CC, but have all the others and I'm a builder rather than a collector and have them all built and on display. I wont touch a fake simply because the eBay auction is full of disclaimers and I have literally zero faith in the quality based on that. If it was £50 I might be tempted but I'd never pay a couple of hundred all in for something that could be terrible quality and fall off the shelf.

    If anything, the lowest I'd stoop is to Bricklink one, using fake Chinese parts to fill in the gaps where TLG isn't making the parts anymore, but frankly I doubt I could even be arsed to do that. I'd rather just stump up the cash for the real deal.
  • prevereprevere North of Bellville, East of Heartlake, South of Bricksburg, West of Ninjago City Member Posts: 2,806
    Speaking of Bricklink, has anyone found fake parts with orders placed there? I always avoid Chinese sellers, but you've got to think fake parts are worldwide (as the figs), and those parts are finding their way into inventories.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,516
    prevere said:
    I'm curious if the knockoff parts have LEGO stamped on them.
    A few close ups of the bricks show the studs are plain and are more similar to Kreo/mega blocks in colouring.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^^Only once so far, it was a Dark Tan torso for my monochrome figs. At the time it was only available from one of the new Ewoks in EV. The neck peg was too thick (and also missing the black mark) to have a proper minifig head to attach on. The seller had more in inventory when I unleashed a firm message to inform him of the situation. He immediately removed the others of it from sale. But that was my closest call yet other than a suspiciously blurry torso for Zam Wesel.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    ^ The dark tan torso is plain in EV, so there should not be a black mark on the neck. That is only needed when there is printing on the torso.
    BrickDancer
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^Youre right on that, I just checked my legit one and it doesn't have the mark either. Didn't realize it needed printing in order to get the mark.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    I wonder if this will do anything to clone / fake production ...

    http://uk.reuters.com/article/2015/11/05/us-walt-disney-china-idUKKCN0SU1ED20151105

    China will give special trademark protection to Walt Disney Co as the iconic U.S. firm prepares to open its first theme park in mainland China next year, a regulator said on Thursday.

    Authorities will carry out a year-long campaign to crack down on Disney counterfeits, the State Administration for Industry and Commerce (SAIC) said, underlining wider concerns that fake products are damaging the country's reputation.

    "(This) will promote the development of a fair and competitive market, and protect China's international image for safeguarding intellectual property rights," the statement said, adding the "special operation" would run until October 2016.






  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,308
    I think if this does lead to changes in the way China deals with internationally copyright issues then it really will prove that we live in a world ruled by the Mouse........
    Kevin_Hyatt
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 777
    Maybe Marvel and Star Wars bootlegs will get phase out and we'll see a lot more new series
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    I'm curious...
    How much value would you (the consumer) place on having an anti-counterfeiting label/seal place on the outer packaging of genuine Lego products? It could work in concert with a point-and-shoot app using your cell phone camera. This could be connected to a database for instant authentication, along with potentially covert ink present on the label/seal which is also detectable by cell phones but difficult to counterfeit. This type of brand-protection solution is emerging/present in the pharmaceutical market among others. Other features could be implemented at the brick level (covert material additives) but these require fairly expensive (low $100s) for hand-held readers to authenticate.

    My wife (and me until earlier this year) works for the largest security ink company in the world based out of Switzerland. Mainly they provide security solutions for bank notes, but they also cover brand-protection.

    But in order to make a business out of this, the value to the consumer and the parent company needs to be realized. So I am curious how many of you would place real value on this and pay a few dollars more per set?
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    No, not me. Better tamper proof seals, but not the need to authenticate something over the internet.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Some shops shrink-wrap sets, sometimes over their price sticker. If a shop thinks it's worthwhile, I'm slightly surprised that TLG don't - they used to.
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    While tamper proof seals and shrink wrapping certainly address the huge problem of stolen/swapped out product and other theft related fraud, it doesn't really address counterfeiting. You could improve the seals and make them difficult to duplicate for small-timers (such as hologram images printed on them) but these passive methods are easily reproduced by big-time counterfeiters such as Chinese players that make copies of sets including packaging.

    There may not be enough money in it now, but perhaps as more and more people look at bigger sets as 'investments', maybe TLG and consumers would be willing to invest more into brand-protection schemes. I'm just not sure though which is why I asked.
  • ShibShib UKMember Posts: 4,308
    Anything to authenticate Lego as non counterfeit really has more implication to the secondary market. If I only buy from reputable retailers why would I want to then authenticate the parts when there is no chance of them being counterfeit?
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    We've been here before. The problem of out-and-out counterfeiting is different in different countries. That suggests that there is something different about how the issue is dealt with in those countries that do have a problem, and isn't necessarily something that TLG should look to address.

    In other countries, the answer to your question is simple - why pay more to guard against something that isn't an issue?
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    ^ and ^^ Totally agree. As I was writing the last paragraph above, I thought to myself, 'Of course TLG would actually have to care about the integrity of the secondary market'. This sort of answers my question in that only those consumers interested in the secondary market (either buying from or selling to) would really care. Only if there was a vast underground market for Lego sets such as in tobacco/alcohol with many 'reputable' retailers that could actually be not so reputable would it be appropriate business wise for TLG to care.

    Just not enough meat on that bone... But I thought I'd ask.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    It always seems to be an American that mentions counterfeit LEGO.

    Is it a  problem, there?
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 955
    As far as I can tell I have yet to purchase any counterfeit LEGO, but I do regularly find "off-brand" pieces in the stuff that I buy at local thrift stores. I've sorted so many pieces in the past year I can spot the off-brand bricks and plates before even checking for logos about 90% of the time. I tend to find a lot of Megabloks and Knex parts mixed in with both normal LEGO and with DUPLO. Don't tell anybody, but some of it is pretty nice, particularly if you have kids that want Sesame Street characters. I'm planning to use the off-brand blocks to build bleachers for minifigs and Bionicle characters rather than bagging them up and putting them back out in the wild. 
  • BrewBrew New Mexico (It's an actual state in the US)Member Posts: 181
    I personally am not worried about it. As @Shib said above, I only buy Lego from reputable places. I was just curious and thinking out loud because I've been in the Security/Anti-counterfeiting business and was wondering about any potential opportunities with Lego sets. I've worked with everything from various global currencies to the authentication of 'real' New Mexico Hatch green chile.
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,516



    Saw these for sale in Smyths. When this sort of blatant rip-off is allowed to be sold in 'proper' toy shops it's not surprising that fake 'lego' continues to be prevalent in less reputable shops (the campers even have the cmf geek tank top torso design).

    My friend told me he saw a stall in the city centre selling all fake Lego figs (superheroes etc). This is in a major UK city, not some random market in China or elsewhere.
  • Kevin_HyattKevin_Hyatt UKMember Posts: 777
    edited November 2015
    I like that little kick scooter in the camping set.
    kiki180703tedward
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 377
    UK market stalls have always had a bit of a rep for selling less than kosher goods, but seeing them in the shops is bizarre. I've seen a knock-off brand on the shelves in a shop near me.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    The interesting thing for me is not that they are sold, but sold in a store that also offers lego. I have nothing against Oxford brand. To me, they aren't very good and I wouldn't buy them. There is no confusing the two brands, they are clearly not trying to pass themselves off as Lego. I often see them in small independents or local chains. But when a store like Smyths does them then it is clear that they cater for both ends of the market.
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 377
    Wilkinsons used to sell Lego and Mega Bloks, but decided to stop selling both in favour of their own clone brand. I guess they decided that would be the more profitable route!
  • andheandhe UKMember Posts: 2,516
    CCC said:
    There is no confusing the two brands, they are clearly not trying to pass themselves off as Lego.
    I think they've got a close as legally possible. These sets were on opposite side of an aisle to the official lego (though thats obviously more Smyths decision, and I guess it makes sense to keep all 'brick' sets together). But I think it would be very easy for the unsuspecting customer (who often think of 'Lego' as an umbrella term for brick building sets) to buy this inferior product. The box design, colours and minfigs all mimic Lego's official style in my eyes.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    andhe said:

    Saw these for sale in Smyths. When this sort of blatant rip-off is allowed to be sold in 'proper' toy shops it's not surprising that fake 'lego' continues to be prevalent in less reputable shops (the campers even have the cmf geek tank top torso design).

    My friend told me he saw a stall in the city centre selling all fake Lego figs (superheroes etc). This is in a major UK city, not some random market in China or elsewhere.
    In what way are these "blatant rip-offs"?  The LEGO system of building has long been available, generally legally, to other manufacturers. So I don't really see what's different about these sets. In particular, they don't look like any LEGO sets, past or present, unlike some that are on the market.

    As for "less reputable shops", they're all just selling what they are allowed to sell.

    I asked earlier about counterfeits in America. I did so because I've never seen them. One reason for that is that it would be difficult to import them into the UK in any quantity. Counterfeits aren't allowed, but clones are, although a clone manufacturer that produces sets that are too similar to TLG's would be skating on thin ice - so they don't!

    The same applies to your fake figs - if they really are fakes, trading standards would be interested.

    Don't get me wrong - I don't like the clone brands. Construction toys aren't something that are essential to life, nor even remotely obvious, so I think manufacturers have plenty of room to go and invent something of their own. There are even quite a few now-defunct systems that could act as inspiration, but without the failings of the original, for a genuine competitor to be created.
    CCC said:

    The interesting thing for me is not that they are sold, but sold in a store that also offers lego. I have nothing against Oxford brand. To me, they aren't very good and I wouldn't buy them. There is no confusing the two brands, they are clearly not trying to pass themselves off as Lego. I often see them in small independents or local chains. But when a store like Smyths does them then it is clear that they cater for both ends of the market.
    Most toy stores of any size sell multiple brands, and have for a long time. They don't just cover "both ends of the market", they try and cover everything in between as well. There's nothing special about Smyths in this regard, so I'm surprised that it's even worth a mention.
    Chang405tedward
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 15,228
    Oh I agree that many places sell _big_ competing brands alongside Lego such as Megbloks and K'nex and to some extent Cobi (through Character Building), especially the licensed themes for the latter, so in the past Dr Who, Monsters vs Zombies, ScoobyDoo etc. At least in my experience, not so many sell Lego alongside brands like Oxford, Best Lock (even though this is also Cobi), Jubilux, etc. Not that I do much buying in toy stores these days. The less well known brands seem to appear in cheaper / discount stores where they don't tend to sell lego (or if they do it is where they have managed to get a pallet of for example Friends animal bags, or a load of Lego games, rather than genuinely stocking lego as a range).

    I don't think there is any intention to deceive customers with it. They are clearly not lego. Imitate, yes but deceive, no. They are clearly a cheaper option and some people may think that they are just a cheap alternative to lego. But not actually lego.
  • binaryeyebinaryeye USMember Posts: 1,731
    CCC said:
    At least in my experience, not so many sell Lego alongside brands like Oxford, Best Lock (even though this is also Cobi), Jubilux, etc.
    Wal-Mart (at least where I am in the US) sells Best-Lock, on the same aisle as LEGO, sometimes intermingled with it. Though it's not branded as such, the "minifigures" and some pieces are identical to those in Best-Lock branded sets.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    That might be the crux of it.

    Neither Cobi nor Best-Lock are particularly prevalent in the UK. Cobi's Polish. Go to Poland, and everybody sells their products - including Tesco (the UK's largest supermarket). So is Cobi a major player? It depends where you look.

    Of course, having got the attention of Tesco's buyers, it's probably only a matter of time before their products appear in the UK stores, if they don't already. The same goes for Wal-Mart, Best-Lock and Asda (the UK's second largest supermarket - at least, it is for the next couple of months).

    So you'll end up with the two largest supermarkets selling their products. Whether they're branded "Cobi" or "Best-Lock" is neither here nor there - they sell the same sets under both names, albeit normally in different countries.

    Smyths and Oxford? Smyths have stocked their stuff for a while - I remember seeing a display case with the Titanic in it. Oxford aren't a minor player either - they make Kre-O for Hasbro.

    Unless you're globetrotter in a big way AND make the effort to seek out clones, it's easy to dismiss a lot of them whereas they might be a lot bigger than we imagine in other markets.

    Don't forget some of the clone manfacturers have licences for some major IP - Oxford has a Disney licence for example. That tends to give them an air of added legitimacy. Furthermore, retailers aren't going have any loyalty to TLG, or anybody else; they simply sell whatever is going to make money for them.
  • XefanXefan Member Posts: 1,149
    TigerMoth said:
    I asked earlier about counterfeits in America. I did so because I've never seen them. One reason for that is that it would be difficult to import them into the UK in any quantity. Counterfeits aren't allowed, but clones are, although a clone manufacturer that produces sets that are too similar to TLG's would be skating on thin ice - so they don't!
    eBay is the obvious place to look, it's full of them even from UK based sellers.

    I agree regarding Oxford though, I don't really see much of a problem with them, they're not breaking any laws, and to be fair on them they actually do have some of their own innovations - there's a lot of parts they design themselves, and I think some of their newer minifigs now have rotatable torsos. Whilst it's clear some of their sets are inspired by those produced by Lego, there's also a lot of unique stuff there too - all these things require actual design effort, rather than simply completely stealing someone else's design and then undercutting them on their own product because you haven't had the R&D expense having leeched it off of them.

    Seeing the Oxford stuff in Smyth's doesn't really offend me any more than seeing car garages selling Chrysler 300s, the design of which is a blatant rip off of Bentley's. At the end of the day it's legal and if someone wants to pretend they have the real thing by buying a cheap imitation then leave them to it - they were never going to be able to afford the real thing anyway, so it's no harm done.

    I've bought Oxford stuff before, some of the military stuff just because it was an easy way of getting some guns for some of my Lego minifigs which obviously TLG don't produce, but I'd never buy the sets like those pictures above because they are just cheap imitations of sets TLG produce. I like the Titanic model they produce, but I'd never buy a set like that from Oxford due to lower quality of parts, perhaps somewhat ironically I'd almost like TLG to copy Oxford on that one.
  • bok2bok2 Member Posts: 52
    I think you have to be British to consider the Chrysler 300 design to be "a blatant rip off of Bentley".

    Some will argue that the 300 is inspired by the Rover P5B offering a "coupe" option which brought a low roof-line and shallow windows, but retained the four door saloon body.
    SumoLegoVorpalRyu
  • theLEGOmantheLEGOman UKMember Posts: 1,410
    bok2 said:
    I think you have to be British to consider the Chrysler 300 design to be "a blatant rip off of Bentley".

    Some will argue that the 300 is inspired by the Rover P5B offering a "coupe" option which brought a low roof-line and shallow windows, but retained the four door saloon body.
    There is a funeral home or wedding hire firm that has a 300c with a B badge on the front and refer to it as a Bentley.

    Very cringeworthy when you see one badged up as a Bentley. How can the owners not be embarrassed.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    bok2 said:

    I think you have to be British to consider the Chrysler 300 design to be "a blatant rip off of Bentley".
    So why do Americans rebadge them? It's not just one or two, either. They are obviously sufficiently similar. And remember this is from the people who have bought them - who ought to be proud of what they do have rather than of what they don't.
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