Mega Bloks wins latest battle against Lego

Netherlands

In the latest instalment of the long-running battle between Mega Bloks Inc and Lego System A/S over Mega Bloks' rights in the shape of its toy bricks, the Court of Appeals has ruled in favour of Mega Bloks (Mega Bloks Inc v Lego System A/S, Case C0501330/BR, June 12 2007).

On July 6 2005 the Breda Court of First Instance dismissed Mega Bloks' application for a declaration that its micro and mini bricks did not infringe Lego's toy bricks (see "Mega Bloks' toy brick claim knocked down by Lego"). Although the Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market cancelled Lego's three-dimensional mark for toy bricks because the shape is functional (the decision is under appeal before the Court of First Instance), the court considered that the similarities between Mega Bloks' and Lego's bricks was likely to cause confusion among the public.

On appeal, the parties extended the scope of the case to all bricks (ie, not just basic bricks). The Court of Appeals found that Mega Bloks had established that there is a need among the relevant public for a system that is compatible and exchangeable with that of Lego; this need justifies the similarities between the bricks.

Lego has appealed the decision to the Supreme Court.

Paul Steinhauser, Steinhauser Hoogenraad Advocaten, Amsterdam

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