Author Topic: Fakes  (Read 1174 times)

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Offline Tom a.k.a. eastawat

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Controversial topic, but we've probably all seen that Chinese companies are making counterfeit replicas of Lego sets - the likes of Lepin etc.

I'm curious if anyone owns them or just has any thoughts on them.

Personally I would never buy a set that's currently in production. I'd also be extremely wary of buying Lepin products for the parts - I'd be afraid to mix them up with real Lego in a MOC, (a) because it might affect the quality of the MOC and (b) because if I ever set up a Bricklink store in the future I'd hate to have even a tiny risk of accidentally selling fake parts.

A circumstance under which I think I might consider them is for a prohibitively expensive discontinued display model, for example the Model Team Black Cat which is around €250 minimum (used) on Bricklink - the Lepin clone is around €80. I'd consider a couple of Star Wars display models like this too. But my conscience also nags at me about these dark thoughts I'm having!

Offline Royalridge

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I'd be careful about the term "fakes".  Lego has lost cases against companies that are making "compatible" bricks.  I believe it's around things like the patent expiring and the fact that a brick can't be copyrighted.

I've already posted about my experience with the https://www.lug.ie/forum/index.php?topic=286.0 and brought the (many!) spare bricks to the Dublin meetup where the quality was discussed and deemed "not bad!"

Personally, if a set I was after was in production then I'd buy the Lego set.  If it was something that was out of production and the "official" Lego sets were being price-hijked then I'd probably consider a different manufacturer.
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Offline David

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They are generally referred to as clone brands which I think is apt as nearly all parts are clones of LEGO or very near clones of LEGO. I understood that the 2x4 and perhaps some other bricks were out of patent however I wonder how other parts could be out of patent if they are very recent. Perhaps they do not have a patent but even if they do not it seems you could charge most of these brands with IP theft (ie theft of element design).

This charge presumably does not apply to brands such as Oxford as they are stocked in reputable stores such as Smyths but for the majority of other brands I would feel they may well be guilty. It is quite possible that Oxford only clone the parts that are no longer protected under patents and have swapped out the more recent parts with their own versions. This could explain some of the more unusual variants I saw in your spare parts list.

Personally I am not a fan of clone brands but did dabble in the early 1990s and bought 2 boxes of Qubo parts (basic bricks and roof slopes) which my low funds could afford. Like Oxford now the quality was good.


This is FAKE FAKE FAKE!

Offline Royalridge

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I believe the patent was related to the mechanism where the blocks link rather than individual block designs.  Some more information here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lego_Group#Trademark_and_patents
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Offline David

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Interesting stuff, thanks for sharing.

Offline Chris Hastings

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My thoughts with the clone brands was that while the specific patent for the lego brick is quite up in the air, it always did make me wonder why companies like Disney didn't go after them instead of Lego themselves chasing them for IP theft.

Because even if the Lego brick patent is not protected or has expired, the fact remains that the design of the set itself belongs to lego designers, and the IP in cases like star wars would belong to disney, whereas the clones of Lego IP's like Ninjago and Bionicle are within the lego IP.

So while little could be done about the bricks, it does make me wonder about the IP.

The likes of Oxford is interesting because the sets I have seen of theirs are unique in design, their titanic and effiel tower sets are their own designs rather than being a rejig of an existing or out of production lego set.

In terms of buying them, most of the sets I am interested in are within a realm of price that is too close to lego for me to be bothered buying the clone brands.
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