July 13, 2005 12:10 ET

LEGO Group Wins Lawsuit in the Netherlands; Competitor's imitation precluded from sale to prevent consumer confusion

BILLUND, Denmark--(CCNMatthews - Jul 13, 2005) -

The LEGO Group, global construction toy manufacturer and category leader, has won a lawsuit in the Netherlands, where the District Court in Breda ruled that the Canadian toy manufacturer, Mega Bloks, is not permitted to market and sell bricks which can be mistaken for LEGO® bricks in the Netherlands.

The civil lawsuit was brought by Mega Bloks as an "action for declaration", whereby Mega Bloks asked the court to confirm that the company could lawfully sell its products in the Netherlands.

The court found that Mega Bloks' bricks were such close imitations of LEGO bricks that there was a risk that consumers would be confused. The court highlighted the fact that Mega Bloks could have opted to sell bricks of different dimensions from those of the LEGO brick or with a different interlocking system or appearance (e.g. angular studs or oval bricks - Ed.) without diminishing the consumer's ability to use Mega Bloks. Moreover, the court considered the fact that the end-user was unable to see the difference between Mega Bloks' and LEGO brand bricks once they were out of the packaging meant that Mega Bloks would create an unnecessary risk of confusing the consumer.

Henrik G. Jacobsen, corporate attorney for the LEGO Group, says:

"It is a very positive note that, in issuing this judgment, the Dutch court prioritizes the interests of the consumer. The ruling ensures that Dutch consumers will not be misled. We think it is also valuable that the court confirms that it is not technically necessary to use exactly the same shape as the LEGO brick to produce a brick for use in a construction system. We have no objection to competition - as long as it is fair. The Breda Court has indicated very clearly that with its identical brick products, Mega Bloks is indulging in unfair competition."

Since the world-famous LEGO brick was created, the LEGO Group has brought - and will in future continue to bring - legal action in courts all over the world to protect its rights and corporate goodwill, and to prevent the sale of copies, which can mislead the consumer.

The Dutch case was handled by the law firm of NautaDutilh N.V.

The LEGO Group, a privately-held, family-owned company based in Billund, Denmark, is one of the world's leading manufacturers of high quality, creatively educational play materials for children, employing approximately 8,000 people globally. The company is committed to the development of children's creative and imaginative abilities, and its employees are guided by the motto adopted in the 1930s by founder Ole Kirk Christiansen: "Only the best is good enough."

LEGO and the LEGO logo are trademarks of The LEGO Group. (C) 2005 The LEGO Group.

For more information, contact Michael McNally, LEGO Americas, 860-763-6731 or

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