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'LEGO' in domain names

HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,886
edited August 2011 in Everything else LEGO
This always makes interesting reading, a list of domain names with the word LEGO in them which LEGO is attempting to shut down:

http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/search/domain.jsp, enter LEGO in the 'Search WIPO Cases by Domain Name' box.

It looks as if in all cases they are successful in getting them terminated or transferred.

I'm surprised that these relatively high-profile ones, lego-instructions.com and legobrickinstructions.com, are not in the list though.

Comments

  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    Fair enough though, I understand where they're coming from.
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited August 2011
    It's as if Lego looks at all their fans and says "Please dont love us, just love generic bricks instead". Theyre leaving the way wide open to competitors (as soon as they have decent products), because all their fansites can just as easily be fansites of other blocks. Most companies encourage their fans, but not Lego it seems.

    Sorry, doesnt really answer the question :)
  • RobbRobb Member Posts: 144
    As a product that is enjoyed by children (and often purchased by less-tech savvy parents and grandparents), I can see another reason why TLG works against the use of "lego" in non-official sites. They probably want to reduce the chance that uninformed internet users will think that fansites are official (or officially-endorsed) sites. Imagine if bricklink used the name legolink? I am sure that many naive internet users would simply assume that they were purchasing from TLG.

    It's a shame though, because Si raises a good point. Bricks can be anything, but LEGO is one of a kind.
  • vynsanevynsane Member Posts: 179
    Imagine if bricklink used the name legolink? I am sure that many naive internet users would simply assume that they were purchasing from TLG.
    IIRC, BrickLink was originally BrickBay, which caught the attention of eBay. Imagine if they had named it LEGOBay and caught the ire of both LEGO and eBay - it might not even be here today!
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 814
    I note that the two Huw mentioned are both registered in Australia? Wonder if there's something different Down Under...

    The policy originiated from late 1995, before LEGO had a website, and exactly as @Robb points out, there was confusion at the time regarding what was "official" and what wasn't. At the time, various fansites were already more robust than many corporate webpages, and were easily confusable with an official homepage (there were no rules regarding use of the LEGO logo, either). One hobbyist actually received hate mail from an angry Californian, who was mad that LEGO was building a theme park in Carlsbad.

    LEGO essentially decided on 2 major policies for fan sites: avoid the use of the word "LEGO" in the domain name, and also avoid use of the red LEGO logo. And ever since, that policy has remained in place (and they've pursued most websites that haven't abided by those policies).

    Ever since, most members of the hobbyist community centered around the word "brick" (and avoided "block", thanks to proximity to MegaBloks, probably), but it's not as distinctive as one would hope. I recall hearing about a "Brick Fest" event (for example) that had absolutely nothing to do with LEGO. It's a shame that there isn't a better term for hobbyists to use-- but I'm not sure there's a good alternative, unless LEGO decides to change its policy.

    DaveE
  • Cam_n_StuCam_n_Stu UKMember Posts: 368
    I am led to believe the brand owners are also motivated to pursue infringements merely to show they are willing to take action to protect the brand to courts and thus avoid the risk of it becoming a generic term.
  • EricEric Queensland, AustraliaMember Posts: 376
    ^ Do you mean the way that term 'Google' is now? How can that be a bad thing for them?
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    ^ Because if it becomes a generic term, a competitor can start using that word on their packaging, and in their marketing.

    Imagine what would happen if Megablocks put "Made with legos" on their box. LEGO doesn't want that...
  • prof1515prof1515 EarthMember Posts: 1,561
    I guarantee I'll sue anyone who infringes on my trademarks. I paid $1400 for each of them and sure as hell don't want someone possibly damaging them through unauthorized or inaccurate use.
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 814
    Well-- at some point it gets tricky to sue-- like if someone registers a conflicting domain in, say, Burma or Angola :)

    DaveE
  • jwsmartjwsmart Member Posts: 298
    ^Well, that's what WIPO is for. They have authority over ICANN. It's not really a lawsuit: http://www.wipo.int/amc/en/domains/guide/index.html
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    I really dont see why any of this risks making it generic.
    Volkswagen isnt a generic term simply because of Volksfest events, volksworld magazine, volkspares parts etc ..
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,635
    ^ Isn't that a bit like saying that "Microsoft" isn't a trademark because words like "microwave" and "microprocessor" are in common usage ?! Good luck with that.....
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    edited August 2011
    ^ OK, see your point - substitute "Performance VW magazine" then and do u see what I mean? Volkswagen positively encourage everyone to use their brand name.
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,635
    I don't claim to be an expert on any of this, but my understanding is that LEGO don't want their brand name to go down the road of the likes of Hoover and others such that ANY building brick can legitimately be referred to as LEGO without fear of reprisals. Let's face it - to many people, that's already the case, which is I guess why the company is so dogmatic about the use of its trademarks and pursues transgressors so aggressively. If it didn't, it could well end up losing the exclusivity of the name as it has entered common parlance.
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,270
    Drdavewatford... I dropped a Kleenex on the way to the Xerox machine....

    I know what you mean! :-)
  • drdavewatforddrdavewatford Hertfordshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 6,635
    ^ Exactly !
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    ^^ But was not at all affected by doman names.
  • MartinMartin Member Posts: 375
    It's feasible that lego-instructions.com and legobrickinstructions.com are not in the list because they have permission. I own greatwesternlegoshow.com and have explicit written permission from LEGO legal bods to use it for the purpose of promoting said show.

  • GalactusGalactus NLMember Posts: 259
    enter LEGO in the 'Search WIPO Cases by Domain Name' box.
    I obediently put in LEGO:
    Search Results for: LEGO
    0 case(s).
    Apparently it's case sensitive...

  • Its absolutely ridiculous. I own and run a lego fansite "legotoysareus.com" and have also been contacted also asking me to transfer the domain to Lego Group. I was surprised to say the least, more shocked than anything. How am i infringing there copyright when there is companies out there copying there brand such as "Mega Blocks" Now the Lego Group took this company to court to sue them. The Judge ruled in favor of Mega Blocks and said that they can`t copyright an outdated Patent on the Lego Brick Design. So i`m thinking....is TLG still sore over this and are now pursuing the little Guys whom happen to be fans of Lego All their Life..If i was LEGO i`d be very very careful that LEGO FANS don`t jump ship to their competitors. WE ARE AT THE CORE TO THEIR SUCCESS.... I`m sure these competitors would have no problem with the free marketing and would also help i`m sure LEGO PLEASE RETHINK YOUR POLICIES with the notion of using LEGO IN A URL...
  • davee123davee123 USAMember Posts: 814
    How am i infringing there copyright when there is companies out there copying there brand such as "Mega Blocks"
    The problem is that it's potentially confusing to the audience, who might think that a website with the word "LEGO" in the domain belongs to the LEGO Company, rather than a fan-- particularly if you're also linking to LEGO's website and also have the name of another reputable company in your domain.

    This was a HUGE problem for LEGO back in the mid 1990's, and there was a LOT of brand confusion. Back then it was even worse, since many fan sites, in addition to using LEGO's name in the domain, also used the LEGO logo on their pages, making their sites look quite official.

    As a result, LEGO has cracked down on all domain names with the word "LEGO" in them. LEGO has asked fans not to use the word in domains (or other titles). That's why you see major fan sites use the word "Brick" instead, like "BrickLink", "BrickSet", "BrickShelf", "Brothers-Brick", "BrickFest", "BrickFair", "Brick Journal", etc., rather than using the word "LEGO".
    The Judge ruled in favor of Mega Blocks and said that they can`t copyright an outdated Patent on the Lego Brick Design. So i`m thinking....is TLG still sore over this and are now pursuing the little Guys whom happen to be fans of Lego All their Life..
    The lawsuit against Mega Bloks (note, it's not "Mega Blocks") is pretty different. That's based on MB selling something resembling what LEGO considers to be their trademark-- IE, the shape of the LEGO 2x4 brick element. It's a pretty stupid lawsuit on LEGO's part in my opinion, although they've had success with the same argument in Europe (particularly Germany and other Scandinavian countries, I believe). But that's not about their use of the word "LEGO", but rather what LEGO feels is their trademark, being the basic bricks.

    I might agree with you on the fact that LEGO ought to change its policies regarding domain names if the public were better educated about the internet in general. It's MUCH better than, say, 1995, when LEGO really started having serious problems with its internet presence, and major confusion with fan sites.

    But it amazes me how many people still think that, for example, BrickSet, has a team of paid developers and staff, or that they're sponsored or endorsed by LEGO. The same is true for pretty much any reasonably professional-looking LEGO-related website-- people often simply assume there's a formal link to the company, or some actual business, rather than simply a single or small group of dedicated hobbyists who do it in their spare time.

    DaveE
  • MrBerreMrBerre Member Posts: 246
    But it amazes me how many people still think that, for example, BrickSet, has a team of paid developers and staff, or that they're sponsored or endorsed by LEGO.
    I've seen blogs (I'm talking in general, not LEGO-specific) that are clearly personal blogs and not remotely linked to something official where people post reactions like "please say happy birthday to " or complaints about services (as if the guy running the blog is an employee or as if that blog post's comment form is the official way to contact that firm).

    I know of a blog post that makes fun of people getting tattoos of Japanese signs, yet five years later that single post still gets comments which amount to "please give me the Japanese sign(s) for my name". It's as if people put some search term into Google ans assume the first result they get is an official source.
  • YellowcastleYellowcastle Northern VirginiaAdministrator, Moderator Posts: 5,027
    ^^^ If I were you, I might also prepare for a letter from Toys R Us. :o)
  • korkor Member Posts: 392
    ^^^ If I were you, I might also prepare for a letter from Toys R Us. :o)
    My thoughts exactly!

  • misatomisato Banned Posts: 12
    Lego is stupid. The vast majority of Lego websites provide information about Lego and their products. Their domain name, while containing the word 'lego' look nothing what-so-ever like www.lego.com or any of it's sub directories.

    This is just ridiculous to go after every website that you can find that contain the word lego.

    Now for the stupidity of Lego.
    Number one. Any website that is about Lego is free advertising for Lego.

    Number two. A big percentage of these domains are owned by Lego enthusiast, which in turn mean, they are owned by Lego customers who give Lego a great amount of business.

    Number there. These are also websites that help other Lego enthusiast in ways that Lego can't and / or chooses not to, thereby relieving Lego of customer support that might otherwise be demanded of Lego.

    And these are the people that Lego wants to sue??? It's amazing that a company as large as Lego lacks this much business sense and has this much apathy toward the very people ( their customers ) who keep them in business.
  • BeardedCastleGuyBeardedCastleGuy Member Posts: 127
    misato said:

    Lego is stupid. The vast majority of Lego websites provide information about Lego and their products. Their domain name, while containing the word 'lego' look nothing what-so-ever like www.lego.com or any of it's sub directories.

    This is just ridiculous to go after every website that you can find that contain the word lego.

    Now for the stupidity of Lego.
    Number one. Any website that is about Lego is free advertising for Lego.

    Number two. A big percentage of these domains are owned by Lego enthusiast, which in turn mean, they are owned by Lego customers who give Lego a great amount of business.

    Number there. These are also websites that help other Lego enthusiast in ways that Lego can't and / or chooses not to, thereby relieving Lego of customer support that might otherwise be demanded of Lego.

    And these are the people that Lego wants to sue??? It's amazing that a company as large as Lego lacks this much business sense and has this much apathy toward the very people ( their customers ) who keep them in business.

    Stupid? hardly they MUST do what they are doing to protect their copyright, it the way the LAW works and unless they want to give control of their 'Brand' they HAVE TO, repeat HAVE TO enforce copyright. Otherwise anyone, that's ANYONE can associate the word LEGO with whatever they want, they don't get to pick and choose when to enforce copyright. If you don't enforce copyright constantly you LOSE copyright. Since LEGO takes it Brand seriously, they cannot afford to lose control of it, you do realize that their stores are referred to as LEGO Brand Retail Stores....
    Does this sometimes wind up being unfair to some of these smaller fan sites, perhaps, but if successful sites can adapt, perhaps these sites can as well. One does NOT need the word LEGO in the name of a site to succeed. See the following site names that didn't need LEGO in their name:

    Bricklink
    Brickshelf
    Brickset
    Brother's Brick

    Those are just a few I can think of off the top of my head.

    Does LEGO really want to shut down little inoffensive websites? no, they don't, but they have to so they DO have some ability to influence actually offensive sites.....
  • Si_UKNZSi_UKNZ NZMember Posts: 4,179
    Everyone else already has control of their brand - brands are social.
  • misatomisato Banned Posts: 12
    edited July 2012


    Stupid? hardly they MUST do what they are doing to protect their copyright, it the way the LAW works and unless they want to give control of their 'Brand' they HAVE TO, repeat HAVE TO enforce copyright. Otherwise anyone, that's ANYONE can associate the word LEGO with whatever they want, they don't get to pick and choose when to enforce copyright.

    Well, they do get to pick and choose cause almost every other company does just that. If what you are saying is true, then how come Lucasfilm doesn't sue every domain owner who's domain has the word 'star wars' in it? There are a lot of star wars fan sites out there that do. That's just one example. Lego has sued over the domain name issue even more that Microsoft or Google has. That takes Lego from looking like a copyright protector to just looking like a cyber bully.

    Plus, there is being right, and then there is being practical. If I had a trademark that others were make website about and I seen that a lot of these sites actually generated more exposure and revenue for my company, I would be sending them letters of gratitude, if anything, other than lawsuit threats, end ESPECIALLY if these people were already long time, fervent, loyal customers of mine.
  • misatomisato Banned Posts: 12
    vynsane said:

    Imagine if bricklink used the name legolink? I am sure that many naive internet users would simply assume that they were purchasing from TLG.
    IIRC, BrickLink was originally BrickBay, which caught the attention of eBay. Imagine if they had named it LEGOBay and caught the ire of both LEGO and eBay - it might not even be here today!


    And what about that too? If Lego was really wanting to be fair about the whole thing, they would be going after eBay as well. Go to eBay, and type in Lego in the search box, like a person who wanted to find Lego sets on eBay would. Now look at the URL at the top of your browser. The word Lego is there somewhere, and Lego isn't going after eBay. Wonder why??

    Hmmm.. Looks like Lego doesn't want to mess with other domain owners who can fight them.
  • atkinsaratkinsar Member Posts: 4,272
    edited July 2012
    misato said:

    If Lego was really wanting to be fair about the whole thing, they would be going after eBay as well. Go to eBay, and type in Lego in the search box, like a person who wanted to find Lego sets on eBay would. Now look at the URL at the top of your browser. The word Lego is there somewhere, and Lego isn't going after eBay. Wonder why??

    Hmmm.. Looks like Lego doesn't want to mess with other domain owners who can fight them.

    No, the domain name is ebay.co.uk or ebay.com, anything that comes after that is not part of the domain name.
  • TyoSoloTyoSolo Member Posts: 539
    @misato - Considering you are on a Lego community site, you are coming across as a bit of an opponent of the company, and dare I say, trolling somewhat, (notwithstanding your blog, "I hate lego" which repeats the same as you said above). Perhaps you should have a break from the hobby if it is upsetting you this much?

    On topic. I can see the reasoning. There is the potential that if every AFOL site had the word LEGO in the domain, some unsuspecting KFOL looking for official LEGO could happen across some language or material that wasn't intended for them. They are of course LEGO's core audience.
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 19,651
    They are also happy for you to discuss your own LEGO creations and use the name LEGO in text on your website, just not use their company name as part of your website name. Fortunately the internet has a number of search engines, so people looking for LEGO ideas and blogs can find them even if the sites do not have LEGO in the name.
  • BustinBustin Member Posts: 286
    So far I haven't had issues with my son's blog using the word Lego in the domain.
  • LegobrandonCPLegobrandonCP CanadaMember Posts: 1,917
    edited July 2012
    Bustin said:

    So far I haven't had issues with my son's blog using the word Lego in the domain.

    BUSTED! I hope LEGO doesn't read this thread and track your son down... ;-)
  • BustinBustin Member Posts: 286
    If they want to take my almost 5 year old's photo blog I'll find us a new hobby ;)

    He's still young enough to be swayed by daddy.
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