A Danish toy production company, Lego has won a Copyright Infringement case against Best-Lock construction toys, a British competitor.
While reviewing the case on Thursday, i.e., 25th July 2019, the US District Court for the District of Connecticut determined that the figurines of Best-Lock had infringed several US copyright registrations that Lego had owned in 1994.
The dispute started when Lego sued Best-Lock in 2011. The former accused the later of producing and selling its minifigures.
The court explained that the Best-Lock’s ads had highlighted the interchangeability of its figures and their parts with Lego’s. The defendant claimed that the argument of the plaintiff concerning the copyright registrations is invalid and unreliable; however, the defendant couldn’t provide any evidence for the same.
It added that while specific elements of Lego minifigures are useful, the fact is that the components are functional and do not render the product uncopyrightable. It is beyond dispute that Best-Lock had accessed the copyrighted work of Lego.
The court continued and referred to the evidence of an interview that took place in 2012. In the interview, Best-Lock’s CEO said that since a child is growing up in Germany, he had admired Lego’s toys, but later found that it had copied a British psychologist’s bricks created in the 1940s’. It explained that products sold by the defendant are not only similar to the applicant’s but also indistinguishable. The comparison of Best-Lock’s products with Lego’s clearly shows that the former had copied the original elements of later.
Best-Lock, in defense, argued that it had been selling the toys in the USA market for several years. But, Lego filed a case against it after US Customs and Border Protection seized a shipment of its products, which they perceived were infringing the Lego’s copyrights.
Ruled in favor of the applicant, the court revealed that it would adjudge the defendant’s equitable estoppel defense at a plenary bench at a later date.
US Customs and Border Protection highlighted the reason behind the seizure and said that it carried out this act because Back-Lock infringed copyrights of Lego.
The filing said; the plaintiff had not previously attempted to stop the defendant from trading its figures in the US. Moreover, it had not provided any warning or notice revealing the information about the infringement of its minifigures by Best-Lock’s. Apart from all these facts, the Court emphasizes the direct interaction between Best-Lock and Lego. Took place abroad, i.e., outside the USA, the interaction misleads the former with the thought that the later would not sue it inside the US. For view source: https://www.trademarkmaldives.com/blog/lego-group-wins-copyright-dispute-against-best-lock/
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