Best-Lock

March 28, 2005 06:00 ET

Forty-year Monopolistic ``LEGO-Doctrine'' Ruling Reversed as Best-Lock Europe LTD Wins Patent and Trademark Case


NEWS RELEASE TRANSMITTED BY CCNMatthews

FOR: BEST-LOCK

MARCH 28, 2005 - 06:00 ET

Forty-year Monopolistic ``LEGO-Doctrine'' Ruling
Reversed as Best-Lock Europe LTD Wins Patent and
Trademark Case

SUMMERLAND, British Columbia--(CCNMatthews - Mar 28, 2005) -

Best-Lock Construction Toys announces a decision of the German Patent
and Trademark Office canceling a 2x4 stud block design trademark
registration in the name of an affiliate of the Lego group of companies.
The decision follows the announcement that Best-Lock Europe won its case
to market its construction building block sets in Germany when a
Bundesgerichtshof (Supreme Court) ruling reversed a 40-year monopoly for
LEGO. The German Patent and Trademark Offices' recent decision
effectively declares invalid Lego's registration for a three-dimensional
depiction of an interlocking toy block manufactured by companies such as
Best-Lock.

"We began this initiative six years ago to have a fair and competitive
opportunity in Germany. Needless to say, we are thrilled with the
outcome," says Torsten Geller, Best-Lock's CEO. "The aptly-called 'LEGO
Doctrine' essentially prevented Best-Lock and the rest of the toy
industry from selling related products in Germany, which is second only
to the United States in terms of building block sales at approximately
$250 million U.S. dollars." The legal actions were solely the
undertaking of Best-Lock.

Tribunals of various European countries whose laws are harmonized under
the EU Directive on Trademarks have likewise cancelled Lego's
three-dimensional block design trademarks or not allowed them to proceed
with registration.

"The ruling does not only favour Best-Lock, but opens up the European
market," says Stephen Minsk, Best-Lock's vice president sales and
marketing. "This levels the playing field and gives all the players fair
opportunity, which, of course, ultimately benefits the consumer."

Geller points out, "The trademark issue is even more intriguing as the
original building block design was patented in 1947 by Harry Fisher
Page, a child psychologist in Britain (who was never related to LEGO at
any time)."

Best-Lock is a privately owned company founded in 1997, which sells its
products in 36 countries. The company has offices in the U.S., Europe
and Asia.

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Contact Information

  • FOR FURTHER INFORMATION PLEASE CONTACT:
    Best Lock Group LTD
    Torsten Geller, 250-404-0225
    or
    Karwoski & Courage
    Rose McKinney, 612-342-9632
    r.mckinney@creativepr.com