Following the court case against LEPIN in November 2018, the Chinese counterfeiters are back in the news again and, this time, the police are involved. On Tuesday, April 23rd police raided the Shenzhen plant belonging to the notorious manufacturer of imitation LEGO products. Shanghai police orchestrated the raid, which led to four arrests including the leader of LEPIN’s parent company, Meizhi. According to a post on the Shanghai police’s Weibo account, over 200 million RMB (nearly 30 million USD) of LEPIN products were confiscated. This included more than 630,000 finished sets, 200,000 boxes, 200,000 instruction leaflets and manuals, and over 90 production molds.
LEPIN has earned notoriety among LEGO fans for manufacturing counterfeit LEGO sets and fan-designed models without permission. A subsidiary named Xingbao was formed to produce fan designs under license, while copies of LEGO sets continued under the LEPIN name. The April raid is the latest attempt in forcing LEPIN to cease production of imitation LEGO products. In November 2018, the Chinese district court ordered the company to stop making counterfeit products and pay the LEGO Group 4.5 million RMB in damages (approximately $650,000 USD). Whether or not this signals the indefinite end of LEPIN remains to be seen.
This news is making the waves, with the BBC having even interviewed the Brothers Brick’s Editor-in-Chief Andrew Becraft on the subject. You can listen to the interview here (starts at 38:30).
Raid images sourced from the Shanghai Police Department’s Weibo account.