Earlier today, a district court in China ruled against four companies for infringing multiple LEGO copyrights by producing and distributing LEPIN-branded imitation products. The companies were ordered to “immediately cease producing, selling, exhibiting or in any way promoting the infringing products” and to pay LEGO 4.5 million RMB in damages (about $650,000 US).
The four companies, including Shantou Meizhi Model Co. among others, were held liable by the Guangzhou Yuexiu District Court for copying 18 specific LEGO sets and multiple minifigures in addition to “carrying out unfair competitive acts.” Niels B. Christiansen, CEO of the LEGO Group commented that the rulings “send a clear warning message to other companies who may be copying LEGO products,” and that the company will continue to “take all necessary legal actions to protect our intellectual property rights.”
The ruling is another significant legal victory for LEGO as the company continues to battle imitators in China. Last year, LEGO won a similar case against Bela Bricks for creating, distributing and selling imitation LEGO products. The rulings also provide precedent to continue pursuing many other clone brands who have tried shutting down and reopening with different names to avoid enforcement.
Today LEGO launched a new initiative in cooperation with Bricklink called the AFOL Designer Program where fans can submit custom designs which will be then be produced and sold by Bricklink. (The term AFOL is an acronym that stands for “Adult Fan of LEGO.”) The creations will be judged by current LEGO designers, “crowdfunded” through pre-sales, then released as limited edition 60th Anniversary sets.
The one-time program will accept submissions through November 18, and the designs must be created in Bricklink’s new Studio 2.0 software. Up to 20 finalists will be selected for judging. The eventual release of the fan-designed sets is slated for April 2019, with 10 percent of the sales going to the designer.
Click to read more about the AFOL Designer Program
To celebrate May the 4th and the upcoming summer blockbuster Solo: A Star Wars Story, LEGO Master Builders created a Millennium Falcon pedicab out of 20,300 bricks that you can take a ride on if you are lucky enough to be near Bryant Park in New York City today.
(Jessica Hill/AP Images for LEGO, Inc)
Click to get a closer look at the Millennium Falcon pedicab
This morning in Billund, The LEGO Group has presented its full year financial results for 2017. Unfortunately, not everything is awesome for the Danish toymaker: the company has reported a decline in revenue and operating profit. Revenues declined 7 percent; global consumer sales remain flat.
Here are the highlights of the presentation:
- Revenue for the full year decreased by 8 percent to DKK 35.0 billion compared with DKK 37.9 billion in 2016. Excluding the impact of foreign currency exchange, revenue for the full year declined 7 percent compared with 2016.
- Operating profit (profit before financial items and tax) for 2017 was DKK 10.4 billion compared with DKK 12.4 billion for 2016, a decrease of 17 percent year on year.
- Net profit for the full year was DKK 7.8 billion compared with DKK 9.4 billion in 2016.
- Cash flow from operating activities for the year was DKK 10.7 billion compared with DKK 9.1 billion in 2016.
- Decline in revenue was driven in part by clean-up of inventories across the value chain. Global consumer sales were flat and trended upwards in the final months of 2017.
Read more about the annual results…
Being one of the most innovative and progressive toy manufacturers in the world, The LEGO Group is constantly looking for news of improving the manufacturing process and making it cleaner. Today it was announced that the production of the new plant-bases plastic elements sourced from sugarcane has been already started and LEGO botanical elements such as leaves and bushes made from sustainably sources plastic will appear in LEGO sets this year.
Click here to read the full press release
From wooden ducks to computer controlled creations and everything plastic in between, LEGO has come a long way since the early 1930s. To highlight the 60th anniversary of the LEGO brick patent, the company has pulled together some of its most important milestones in the timeline below.
What was LEGO up to the decade you were born in? What year did flesh color faces make their debut? What were LEGO bricks originally called? When was LEGO named the toy of the century?
Click to get a closer look at the LEGO timeline
To celebrate the 60th birthday of its iconic 2×4 brick, LEGO created a red 10-foot tall brick and placed it in New York City right in front of the Flatiron Building. The larger-than-life brick weighs in at 1,200 pounds, is made up of more than 133,000 individual bricks, and took 350 hours to make.
Even more mind-blowing than seeing such a plastic monolith in a concrete jungle is that a LEGO brick from 1958 still interlocks with a LEGO brick made today. This is due to precision injection molding and the original idea of using tubes to create clutch power. Before the Kristiansens settled on the familiar tube underside, they considered several 0ptions for the original pattern of LEGO bricks.
Click to take a closer look at the massive brick in NYC
Sixty years ago today on January 28, 1958, at 1:58pm, Godtfred Kirk Christiansen submitted a patent application for a toy building brick which was approved six months later. Little did Godtfred know that his “highly sophisticated inter-locking brick system” would lead to LEGO becoming one of the largest toy companies on the globe.
We’ll have more on the LEGO brick’s 60th anniversary later today, but we wanted to celebrate across all time zones. So today, let’s build a set, sort some parts, or create something new and amazing. Play well, everyone.
Want to know more about the history of LEGO? Check out our LEGO History timeline!
LEGO has dealt a major blow to counterfeiters in China by winning a court case against two companies that produce imitation LEGO products. This is the first case that LEGO has filed and won in China claiming unfair competition, following a ruling last month proclaiming LEGO to be a well known recognized trademark in the region.
The suit was filed against two Chinese companies including the company Bela Bricks that were producing sets nearly identical to those from LEGO’s Friends line as well as other top-selling products. According to the ruling from the China Shantou Intermediate People’s Court, the two companies must stop copying LEGO’s designs, packaging, and instruction books due to copyright infringement. Continue reading
According to their most recent press release, the LEGO Group’s revenue for the first half of 2017 is 5 percent down compared with the same period in 2016. Other key figures like operating profit as well as net profit are down too — 6 and 3 percent respectively. The board of management blames increased costs associated with investments in production capacity and organisational capabilities for causing mixed performance across various market regions. For instance, revenue has declined in the United States and in parts of Europe. On a brighter note, in growing markets such as China, revenue grew by double digits.
Commenting on the financial report, LEGO Group Chairman Jørgen Vig Knudstorp claimed that the company has already taken steps to change the situation for the better. The Group aims to bring the LEGO building experience to more children all over the world, and for this purpose the management is looking forward to resetting the company and revising and restructuring various internal processes.
Pressing the reset button includes some decisive moves which pursue a goal of simplifying the company’s elaborate global structure built during the past five years. “This means we will build a smaller and less complex organisation than we have today” said Knudstorp. As a result, the LEGO Group believes it would need to cut its total global workforce by around eight percent. This would impact about 1,400 positions. Currently the LEGO Group employs about 18,200 people.
One of the key goals of resetting the business is the development of innovative new toys. Knudstorp explains “We will find more opportunities to engage with kids and parents, including innovative ways to blend physical building and digital experiences, such as our successful LEGO Life social platform and LEGO Boost building and coding set”.
The full press release can be found on the LEGO Newsroom page.
Every year, the LEGO Group releases its financial results, providing an insightful look into the operations of the company. For 2016, the company reported the highest revenue in the company’s 85-year history at 37.9 billion DKK (approximately 5.38 billion USD), representing a 5.5 percent increase over 2015. Notably in the US, however, consumer sales were flat despite a significant increase in marketing spending from LEGO in the second half of the year.
After all expenses, that leaves The LEGO Group with a net profit of 9.4 billion DKK (approximately 1.34 billion USD), slightly higher than the year before. The net profit is calculated after subtracting all operating expenses, including costly construction projects like the LEGO House in Billund and a new manufacturing facility in China, which ate up nearly a third of LEGO’s overall net profits. Continue reading