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LEGO fight Against Chinese counterfeit LEGO

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Comments

  • AllBrickAllBrick UKMember Posts: 1,419
    edited July 2016

    As to people selling a used Lego model and claiming it to be from the original set, he could have built the Lego set and threw away the instructions/box while another person BL all the Lego parts and separately acquired the instructions booklet and box. How can you tell which is lying? And do you even care given both are of genuine Lego bricks? 

    Where do you draw the line? 
    And this brings us back to that ancient Greek dude's ship paradox. If you take all the parts off a ship and replace them with identical parts, is it still the same ship? ANd what if you use said parts to build a new ship. Is that the original ship?
    Also known as Triggers Broom....


    I don't care whether part of a set actually came from the set or was bricklinked, if it's genuine parts then it's all good.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    dougts said:

    I'm not condoning ripoff companies like Lepin in any way
    The sad bit is that you feel you have to say that - because those who ought to be your "friends" will jump on you if the truth isn't what they want to hear.

    There something about the emperor's new clothes...
    catwrangler
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    TigerMoth said:
    because calling them names achieves exactly NOTHING. We need something a lot better.
    Yes it's called 'THAAD' followed by "Play by the rules or it's regime change time."

    You say that's it's not illegal, but only within China is that true. In the end, it won't matter what China says anymore. It will be about what we declare to be true. Case in point, South China Sea trial judgement.

    Companies like Lego, Apple and Landrover have been playing nice and trying to cooperate with the Chinese companies & players there. But after repeated violations of their IP and blatant support of it by the Chinese government, this is becoming too obvious to ignore and conduct business as usual. So while you say the goal is targeting the larger homegrown market, we all know there is not enough wealth in the general populace to support this. Export of counterfeit goods is still a large economic driver and an important because of the modest domestic consumption and value of that market when compared against the total global economics in play for China.

    Once the US gov started to make a big fuss over the cyber thieving, the Chinese understood we meant it, so have been admonished from the CCCP down to restrict these acts for the past 1-2 years. The complaint will soon expand to include a sharp position on other IP thefts and subsequently counterfeit products. Will they then understand that they need to play by the International rules, and not just their in-house jungle ball rules, if they want to be a big boy global player? Time is running out for an about face from them. That or they can double down on their bets and dare us in a game of chicken.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    BrickDancer said:

    You say that's it's not illegal, but only within China is that true.
    We were talking about clones of coveted sets. If the pieces are old enough, so that there is no infringement actual infringement on their design, there is nothing to suggest that reproducing a classic LEGO set is illegal. And not just in China.
    Case in point, South China Sea trial judgement.
    You're fond of moral victories. Meanwhile, in the real world, the coral reef has been almost completely destroyed and the marine life devastated. The Chinese aren't about to leave any time soon.
    so have been admonished from the CCCP down to restrict these acts for the past 1-2 years.
    The CCCP ceased to exist 25 years ago.

    You're doing the ostrich thing - "it's all illegal, we're right, and we'll win". That's just the same old position that goes nowhere.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    In case of doubt, an earlier comment of mine relating to "the Chinese" was referring to the Chinese clone manufacturers, who have their own specific aims, and not to the citizens of China nor the descendants thereof.
    catwrangler
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    TigerMoth said:
    You're doing the ostrich thing - "it's all illegal, we're right, and we'll win". That's just the same old position that goes nowhere.
    But assuming that would be incorrect. Because the adage stops at the ostrich having his head buried in the sand. The response may be late, but it's coming soon if you haven't noticed the gathering clouds.

    And no it was not a moral victory, it was a legal victory in the eyes of the international cadre of countries loosely bound by the WTO framework. Only in China could they try to dismiss such a court judgement, because it is obviously against them and their ridiculous 9-dash line sales pitch from centuries ago. But we should recognize this for what it is, first legal case to be leveraged against China as just reason for the war to come.

    It is indeed strange to me that you can admit all the wrong that the Chinese are doing, yet at the same time defend their actions as being acceptable solely on the pretext that they have gotten away with their crimes so far and have not been retaliated against yet. What will you say when they do get punished for these crimes of theft?

  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343

    It is indeed strange to me that you can admit all the wrong that the Chinese are doing, yet at the same time defend their actions
    I do NOT defend  their actions.

    I think it's all immoral. Some of it is illegal; some of it isn't. Pointing out that some things aren't illegal is not defending the immorality of them - it is simply indicating that there is no legal redress. TLG know this, and it is why they appear to be taking a laid back approach. There's simply nothing they can do.
    catwrangler
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    edited July 2016
    ^It's all safe and legal so long as they don't leave their house right? But as soon as they step foot out of China and have an office in the USA then it's illegal correct? Or an office in France, or an office in UK, or an office in Korea, or an office in Japan. Basically it would be illegal everywhere except inside of their own country of China correct? And why do you think that is so? Could it be because the government supports this and the culture believes it is okay to steal from others?

    Out of all your posts over the past year in total on balance, I think it would be a fair call to say that you are indeed defending the illegal actions of Chinese companies. Equivocating them to legal competitors like Megablocks makes it oh so apparent. Dismissing outright theft of company logos, box and product pictures is too far a stretch to be seen as anything other than outright and blatant support/defense of their behavior.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    ^It's all safe and legal so long as they don't leave their house right?
    There is nothing to suggest that a selling a collection of parts to build a LEGO set, historic or current, is illegal. Anywhere.
    Out of all your posts over the past year in total on balance, I think it would be a fair call to say that you are indeed defending the illegal actions of Chinese companies.
    No. Can you read? In no way do I defend the actions of ANY clone manufacturer. They are ALL morally culpable. Can I make it any clearer?
    Equivocating them to legal competitors like Megablocks makes it oh so apparent.
    I suggest you look up "equivocate" in a dictionary. It doesn't mean what you think it does, nor can you equivocate something to anything else.

    Not withstanding that, I do not usually distinguish between the Chinese clone manufacturers and the likes of Mega Bloks for a simple reason - they are all clones and I find them ALL contemptible - including Mega Bloks. If it's compatible, then that manufacturer has copied the design details, when they could have instead come up with their own ideas and designed something different and perhaps better. We might then have had competing systems from which to choose.

    Suddenly we find the boot is on the other foot and you're arguing in favour of Mega Bloks, because it's legal, and I'm arguing against it because it is still immoral. Legality also has a timescale; morality does not.
    Dismissing outright theft of company logos, box and product pictures is too far a stretch to be seen as anything other than outright and blatant support/defense of their behavior.
    The artwork is flagrant copyright infringement. There is no question of that, even in China. However, things like logos and colours are a distraction, as is demonstrated by the fact that you raised it. It's largely irrelevant and serves only to distract discussions from the things that really count - the bricks. It's also something that is subjective - which means that TLG might lose. That is dangerous because it can lead to an outcome of a dispute that is basically "both parties won some of the arguments". That's what happened when Interlego sued Coko. They were arguing about 53 parts; the final score was 33:20. That's a lot less impressive than being able to say that Interlego were totally vindicated, so it's a lot better to keep subjective elements out of the equation.
  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    Um I do know what equivocate means and I think it is particularly apt in how I'm using it to point out your illogical and false argument that Lepin and Megabloks are in the same class, let alone league.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Equivocation

    But your dictionary and thesaurus skills aside. The fact that you can straight faced say that Lepin is equal to Megabloks is just ridiculous. One is a real and respectable company that operates legally in all countries, whom actually pays for licensing rights of IP, makes their own unique set designs and figures. The other is an illegal company who does not design their own products, packaging or pay for using other people's stuff. Why is this same thing to you?

    And don't deflect and say 'boot is on the other foot' when I never had a disparaging word to say about real companies like Megabloks or Kreo. They are legitimate competitors that make their own unique products.

    And instead of convoluting terms like clone and counterfeit, I have my own clear distinction I'd like to put forth:

    Clone (Legitimate, legal) = Megabloks, Kreo, Nano blocks
    Counterfeit (Illegimate, illegal) = Lepin, SY, Enlighten, etc.

    So at least it's clear when I call out a counterfeiter then it's those specific entities and not the other respectable clone companies.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,742
    AllBrick said:

    As to people selling a used Lego model and claiming it to be from the original set, he could have built the Lego set and threw away the instructions/box while another person BL all the Lego parts and separately acquired the instructions booklet and box. How can you tell which is lying? And do you even care given both are of genuine Lego bricks? 

    Where do you draw the line? 
    And this brings us back to that ancient Greek dude's ship paradox. If you take all the parts off a ship and replace them with identical parts, is it still the same ship? ANd what if you use said parts to build a new ship. Is that the original ship?
    I don't care whether part of a set actually came from the set or was bricklinked, if it's genuine parts then it's all good.
    Next point- prove that it didn't come with the original set...
    AllBrickcatwrangler
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    BrickDancer said:

    One is a real and respectable company that operates legally in all countries, whom actually pays for licensing rights of IP, makes their own unique set designs and figures. The other is an illegal company who does not design their own products, packaging or pay for using other people's stuff. Why is this same thing to you?
    Both use the designs of others. They may do other things, but both use the designs of others. If they didn't, they wouldn't all be compatible.
    And don't deflect and say 'boot is on the other foot' when I never had a disparaging word to say about real companies like Megabloks or Kreo. They are legitimate competitors that make their own unique products.
    You like trying to change what people say, don't you? I know you've got nothing bad to say about Mega Bloks.

    I said that LEPIN producing coveted but retired LEGO sets is legal; you (and I) say it's immoral. You say that Mega Bloks producing out-of-copyright LEGO pieces is legal; I say it's immoral, and that they should've designed something of their own. In both cases one of us says that a particular action is legal whilst the other says it's immoral.
    And instead of convoluting terms like clone and counterfeit, I have my own clear distinction I'd like to put forth:
    You definition is yours and yours alone. I just use the dictionary definitions. Everything is a clone. With a counterfeit, there's an intention to deceive. That is again subjective, except for one case - where another manufacturer actually brands their product "LEGO" - and for which I reserve the term. It's also the situation we should all fear the most.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,062
    edited July 2016
    Because I like the definitions of words...

    From Wikipedia, regarding equivocation:
    All jackasses have long ears.
    Carl is a jackass.
    Therefore, Carl has long ears.

    Here the equivocation is the metaphorical use of "jackass" to imply a stupid or obnoxious person instead of a male donkey.

    And to quote a famous Brit:

    I will not equivocate - I will not excuse - I will not retreat a single inch.

    (I think our friend the moth gotcha there!)

  • BrickDancerBrickDancer Dunes of TatooineMember Posts: 3,639
    ^In that case, you have me at a loss for the word. 
    SumoLego
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,062
    edited July 2016
    The word?

    Anyway, I always find waving around the big ol' book of grammar a silly distraction to the point of a discussion.

    Equate/equivocate - who really cares?

    Nonetheless, I think @TigerMoth gets mired in the details of pointing out (definitionally) a 'counterfeit' versus a clone.  Strictly speaking I don't think deliberate brand confusion is 'counterfeit'.  But we all know exactly why it is used by these manufacturers.

    Similarly, the strictly speaking 'illegal' versus 'immoral' distinction is really a jurisdictional discussion.  (Frankly, I would avoid selling my product in a jurisdiction that doesn't protect my product.)

    And, some people like to poke the bantha.  (Poke a bantha?)
    BrickDancerSprinkleOtterAllBrick
  • RecceRecce Tiny Little Red DotMember Posts: 919
    edited July 2016
    Looks like it is coming real soon...


  • MAGNINOMINISUMBRAMAGNINOMINISUMBRA Member Posts: 993
    ^ If Lepin takes the time to make sure that the thing can spin without blowing itself to bits every 2 minutes (which Lego failed so miserably at) This one might really throw a cat amongst the pigeons!
    legomentalcatwrangler
  • AllBrickAllBrick UKMember Posts: 1,419
    edited July 2016
    Not my pigeons.

    Rather have a genuine microscale.
    SprinkleOtter
  • CCCCCC UKMember Posts: 18,883
    edited July 2016
    @TigerMoth why do you try so hard to defend and support the illegal theft by companies like Lepin, SY, Decool, etc.? Is it because they are Chinese companies?

    It is not just Chinese companies that steal IP. British (and Brickset member) minifigs.me for example are printing and selling very very similar designs to Team GB's kit, rip-off Harry Potter torsos and figures ...

    Fake ...
    Genuine ...



    Star Wars, not infringing LEGO, but Disney ... (using Star Wars, Luke Skywalker and Yoda names)


    It's not just them, minifigures.com, firestar.com, etc etc

    All with many other infringements, films, celebrities, TV shows, games, ... I bet none of them are paying a royalty. This is not just a Chinese problem. People in the west think it is perfectly acceptable to use and make money from other companies' IPs.
    dougtsSumoLegocatwrangler
  • TheOriginalSimonBTheOriginalSimonB Felixstowe Member Posts: 1,503
    Hang on, I suggested that idea for Luke and a baby Yoda in one of the Star Wars threads.  I want some royalties too!
    andheMattDawsonSprinkleOtter
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,409
    Recce said:
    Looks like it is coming real soon...


    This is very interesting. I wonder if it will include the sound brick? Also, did they actually copy all the power functions as well? I can understand copying the bricks, but how easy is it to copy all the PF elements and the cloth top?
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,129
    edited July 2016
    @Pitfall69 - looking at the name of the thing, the really big question is what are they going to call it if you put 3 of them together?
    ChubblesPitfall69dougtsSumoLegoAllBrickYodalicious
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,214
    bandit778 said:
    @Pitfall69 - looking at the name of the thing, the really big question is what are they going to call it if you put 3 of them together?
    Le Grande Menage a twois? 
  • nhyonenhyone Member Posts: 145
    Recce said:
    Looks like it is coming real soon...


    15013 looks quite far off, since 15008 is Green Grocer, and that is by skipping 15005-15007.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    SumoLego said:

    Nonetheless, I think @TigerMoth gets mired in the details of pointing out (definitionally) a 'counterfeit' versus a clone.  Strictly speaking I don't think deliberate brand confusion is 'counterfeit'.  But we all know exactly why it is used by these manufacturers.
    Maybe so.

    And it's partially self-interest. Clones will affect most of us only indirectly - because they're likely to influence TLG's actions and which may or not be to our liking. Those of us (I'm talking about AFOLs) who choose to buy a clone, for whatever reason,  are aware of what we are doing. We can make an informed choice.

    However, the day that there really are counterfeits, everything changes. You'll walk into a local toy shop, see a set and you won't know whether it's actually a LEGO set or a counterfeit. Even if you walk into a brand store, you won't know if what's on the shelf is genuine or whether someone has bought a genuine set and then returned a counterfeit in its place.

    From not really affecting us, it suddenly affects us all.
    Frankly, I would avoid selling my product in a jurisdiction that doesn't protect my product.
    That doesn't work very well, does it? TLG has sued western clone manufacturers in western courts and lost. As far as TLG is concerned, those jurisdictions don't protect their product - and should therefore avoid selling there. Where does that leave?
    Similarly, the strictly speaking 'illegal' versus 'immoral' distinction is really a jurisdictional discussion.
    Yep. Morality is our own personal jurisdiction and, for individuals, is what actually wins. We'll even change our morality to suit our requirements. Legality comes with a sense of legitimacy (in particular jurisdictions) and also with the means for redress. What is wrong is take a moral stance and then try to pretend that it has the legitimacy afforded by a law.

    Along comes LEPIN's carousel. A few people will be quietly rubbing their hands in glee. Most of us will think it's wrong - but that's our personal morality because, other than the box design, it is once again likely to be completely legal. But wrong or not, you can't talk about it being illegal because it isn't. If there's ever going to be any sort of resolution to sets like this we need to look elsewhere.

    Once we get over that little hummock, things might get more interesting for AFOLs. I can't see that you're ever going to stop a company producing a cheaper version of a set. The thing is, what LEPIN can do, so can TLG. LEPIN must consider it a viable product or they wouldn't have produced it. It would be no less viable for TLG to produce it. They've already incurred all the advance costs so, if anything, they ought to be able to undercut LEPIN.

    Yes, that would open a whole bag of worms. For one thing, resellers would extremely unhappy. For the rest of us though it might mean things could change rather dramatically. I imagine quite a few people would be content to ignore TLG's next offering if they knew that LEPIN was going to duplicate it, at a fraction of the price, in a few months. Or indeed, if TLG was then going to subsequently reduce their price to match.

    I don't think this is something TLG can ignore, especially considering the frequency with which new sets are appearing. I don't think they can stop it. That leaves them either to accept what will be an ever-increasing number of clones - including current sets, or to make the price differential pay. LEGO was once a premium brand, and justified a sizeable price premium. It is no longer. Yes, there's rubbish out there, but the quality of many clones is now similar - "premium" has become "normal". Put it all together and you seem to end up with TLG having to use more "normal" pricing too - which, in itself, would also reduce demand for clones.

    (For what it's worth, I'm not sure why they bothered with the carousel. Of all the sets that I've bought, it comes top of the list of those that I wish I hadn't.)

    Has anybody noticed that the LEPIN set seems to have lost the Power Functions panel?
    pharmjodSumoLegocatwrangler
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    nhyone said:

    15013 looks quite far off, since 15008 is Green Grocer, and that is by skipping 15005-15007.
    15001 Brick Bank
    15002 Cafe Corner
    15003 Town Hall
    15004 Fire Brigade
    15005 Grand Emporium
    15006 Palace Cinema
    15007 Market Street
    15008 Green Groceer
    15009 Pet Shop
    15010 Parisian Restaurant
    15011 Detective's Office
    15012 Ferris Wheel
    15013 Grand Carousel

    16001 GBHQ
    16003 Wall-E
    16004 The Simpsons House
    16005 Kwik E-Mart

    17003 Sydney Opera House
    17004 Tower Bridge
    17005 Big Ben

    There's also a Helicarrier, a Temple of Airjitzu and an Ecto-1, to name a few.

  • ricecakericecake Maryland, USAMember Posts: 879
    edited July 2016
    TigerMoth said:
    However, the day that there really are counterfeits, everything changes.
    I've posted this link before, but there are counterfeit sets out there:
    https://mybrickstore.blogspot.com/2015/06/counterfeit-100-exact-lego-minecraft.html
    (the blog post was made over a year ago).
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    ricecake said:

    I've posted this link before, but there are counterfeit sets out there:
    Yeh, I know. But I live in denial in the hope the problem doesn't come this way. They're also not particularly good so that you can tell the difference.
  • EdmicEdmic ZürichMember Posts: 102
    We're just in luck that the good quality (or at least very decent ones) are polite enough to use another name and state very clearly it's not lego but something else, i have average knowledge of lego in my opinion, if i would have a box in my hand in a secondhanded store that has lego all over it and good quality pieces or i order a piece over bricklink that looks good and holds the logo than i might be fooled without even ever knowing it, and even sell in the future a set without knowing i'd sell fake parts, might cause huge problems with a collector with way above average who knows what to spot on which pieces, let's all just be happy for the moment that those who use the name of LEGO are absolute shit.

    However a general housewife might buy a cloned box and blame LEGO for selling shitty quality toy and she might for example switch to Playmobil of even megablocks in the store.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,569
    The original post about the Minecraft counterfeit sets is still up. I cannot read Chinese, did not see anything in the translation that mentioned build quality. 

    http://www.chinalug.com/portal.php?mod=view&aid=28

    As for truly craptastic knock-offs, I found a BEST LOCK Sherman tank in last weekend's thrift store lots. Wasted about 10 minutes before disposing of it in the garbage. I've got parts from other off-brand sets that I have kept around, and even purchased a few on purpose (Minions), but the BEST LOCK stuff was so bad I would not even bag it up and return it to the thrift store. Bricks like that could send somebody looking for Lincoln Logs or Tinkertoys.
  • MattDawsonMattDawson Solihull, UKMember Posts: 1,214
    @datsunrobbie
    Have you looked into the MB Sherman from the CoD line? Jang has done a review of it...
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,062
    I think it would be fitting if Lepin found these pseudo-faux sets to be completely cost-ineffective and stopped producing them.

    Anyway, as I basically have the same general take on things as @TigerMoth, I'll spare everyone a further treatise.  (Although every attorney atom in my body wants to inflict everyone with more words.)

    I point back to counterfeit money as the bright-line example.  One really has to reserve 'counterfeit' for actual counterfeit.  
    pharmjodbandit778stlux
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,742
    SumoLego said:
    I think it would be fitting if Lepin found these pseudo-faux sets to be completely cost-ineffective and stopped producing them.

    Anyway, as I basically have the same general take on things as @TigerMoth, I'll spare everyone a further treatise.  (Although every attorney atom in my body wants to inflict everyone with more words.)

    I point back to counterfeit money as the bright-line example.  One really has to reserve 'counterfeit' for actual counterfeit.  
    I feel like products such as Lepin are actually very similar to counterfeit money. I am no expert on counterfeit money, but when I used to hear about it, I heard that the cereal numbers were not different from bill to bill, showing it as a fake. But what happens when you take a LEGO box, and change one letter in the name (like some clone brands). Obviously fake- if you know what you are looking for. Same as a counterfeit bill.
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,062
    Mmmm... cereal numbers.

    ^ But that's the difference between brand confusion versus actual fraud.  Trading on someone's goodwill in the marketplace is different than literally passing off your product as the genuine article.

    If someone gave me a twenty 'dallar' bill, it's getting stuffed right back where it came from.
    pharmjodstlux
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,409
    I am sure we have covered just about everything, but we have been mostly concentrating on what's on the outside of the box other than what is inside of the box. Put a built Lego Green Grocer right next to a LEPIN Green Grocer and tell me if you will know which one is which without closer inspection?  
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,742
    SumoLego said:
    Mmmm... cereal numbers.

    ^ But that's the difference between brand confusion versus actual fraud.  Trading on someone's goodwill in the marketplace is different than literally passing off your product as the genuine article.

    If someone gave me a twenty 'dallar' bill, it's getting stuffed right back where it came from.
    ^ But would you notice is the point I am trying to make. I don't study every part of my bills extensively- and I doubt toy buyers do, either. Especially if I do not know exactly what to look for.
  • eggsheneggshen Middleton, WIMember Posts: 565
    I had a conversation on this topic with a good friend of mine that grew up in India (which I should have done long ago).

    According to him no one in India thinks that knockoff brands are real. @TigerMoth nailed it with the laziness thing. It's just easier to take all the existing artwork, photoshop your logo in place of the real logo, and BAM! You are ready for the local market. People in India want the real stuff but can't always afford it, so they roll the dice and buy fake.

    He talked about 4 different categories of goods. Real, counterfeit, copies, and crap. Counterfeit will get the seller in trouble, copies are fine to that market (like Lepin). Crap is, well, crap. No logos, no safety tests, nothing. You are really taking chances with that stuff.

    Anyway, he feels that the market in the rest of Asia is most likely the same. So I'm guessing we will continue seeing this kind of stuff until something major happens, like TLG finds itself losing major money in that market to the competitors that are selling the exact same sets.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    SprinkleOtter said:

    ^ But would you notice is the point I am trying to make. I don't study every part of my bills extensively- and I doubt toy buyers do, either. Especially if I do not know exactly what to look for.
    There's a twist here though that makes LEPIN's sets different from counterfeit bank notes.

    With a bank note, you have to have the real deal;  the counterfeit is (usually) worthless. Those small details are very important, whether you've noticed or not.

    With a construction set, if you don't notice the difference it probably doesn't matter. Round here that may sound like heresy - for one thing a coveted set is valuable. However, that's not a typical attitude. A construction set is made to be built, dismantled, rebuilt as something else - in short, to be played with. A typical buyer, particularly a child, isn't really going to be bothered whether it says "LEGO" on the studs or not, if everything else is the same - fit, clutch, colour consistency and just the general "feel" of the pieces.



    I bumped into a new term the other day. Apparently, the LEPIN sets are "premium clones". To most people, most of the time, a premium clone is as good as the original - actually, it's better because it's cheaper. In fact, on that basis, it's AFOLs that are out of step.

    We've really only talked about LEPIN. The quality of the pieces is reported as being good, but they're not true replicas of the original. It's almost as if somebody got hold of the instructions and used them as the blueprint. It means that you get different (incorrect) pieces being used. Cafe Corner is supposed to have owls rather than parrots in the tower.

    Which brings us to Pogo. Until recently, they only produced figures. Now, they have released a couple of modulars, but without LEPIN's discrepancies. Indeed, they actually claim they are completely accurate copies of the originals. Not only do we have other manufacturers pushing out copies of LEGO sets, they're competing amongst themselves to produce better copies.
    dougts
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,062
    I have a similar reaction to Chrysler producing a full-sized sedan that looks a bit too much like a Bentley.  (Or Kia producing a sedan that looks a bit too much like an Infinity.)

    But I place probably too much value in brand names and protecting IP.  But I also like to think that companies ought to be entitled to fabulous profits for innovation.  And in the same breath, I can say that I can't stand that Apple is a succesful company when they put such an emphasis on the propriety of their OS.

    As a Disney proponent, it gives me pause that Mickey Mouse could be in the public domain.  Where am I going to vacation if Mr. Mouse is able to be freely used without IP repurcussions?
  • SumoLegoSumoLego New YorkMember Posts: 13,062
    Also, nobody appears to be doing this with MegaBloks or Kre-O.

    So there!
  • EdmicEdmic ZürichMember Posts: 102
    SumoLego said:
    I think it would be fitting if Lepin found these pseudo-faux sets to be completely cost-ineffective and stopped producing them.


    Why fitting? They are earning money on them else they never would have produced them in the first place.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,742
    Edmic said:
    SumoLego said:
    I think it would be fitting if Lepin found these pseudo-faux sets to be completely cost-ineffective and stopped producing them.


    Why fitting? They are earning money on them else they never would have produced them in the first place.
    Not necessarily- they may have thought that they were going to make money on them, but are not. Happens all the time in business.
  • AndyPolAndyPol UKMember Posts: 374

    I saw this thread had a bunch of new replies. So I clicked on it to make sure those unruly Poles weren't up in here causing trouble yet again.
    At least the Polish seem to be getting off lightly at the moment!
    andhe
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    SprinkleOtter said:

    Not necessarily- they may have thought that they were going to make money on them, but are not. Happens all the time in business.
    Strictly speaking, you're right, but they seem to have an awful lot of confidence in terms of the range:



    No, they're not your favourite brand.

    You seem to be able to have it all, with a lot of change, for $1000.  I'd guess the price of genuine modulars on the secondary market won't stand that for very long.
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,569
    @datsunrobbie
    Have you looked into the MB Sherman from the CoD line? Jang has done a review of it...
    I was not really looking for a tank, it just happened to be in a small zip-lock bag hidden in a larger bag of real LEGO parts. I did build a lot of scale models when I was a kid, including tanks, and it looked to be a quick build, so I figured I'd give it a shot. Bricks either fell apart or popped off and flew across the table. It was by far the worst of any brick-based building sets I have tried to assemble.

    I look at the LEGO and the knock-offs the same way I look at boxed mac-and-cheese. Most grocery stores in the US carry several variations of this item. Kraft is the only brand I'll buy regularly. I've tried others, just to see what the competition is up to, but have always been disappointed by the others and came back to buying Kraft. LEGO works the same way.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,742
    TigerMoth said:
    SprinkleOtter said:

    Not necessarily- they may have thought that they were going to make money on them, but are not. Happens all the time in business.
    Strictly speaking, you're right, but they seem to have an awful lot of confidence in terms of the range:
    Confidence is not the same as competence.

    (I'm not saying that they are losing money- I'm just saying that it is a distinct possibility.)
  • EdmicEdmic ZürichMember Posts: 102
    Edmic said:
    SumoLego said:
    I think it would be fitting if Lepin found these pseudo-faux sets to be completely cost-ineffective and stopped producing them.


    Why fitting? They are earning money on them else they never would have produced them in the first place.
    Not necessarily- they may have thought that they were going to make money on them, but are not. Happens all the time in business.
    The fact that they make new sets within the same price range instead of discontinuing their items or raising the prices proves to me that they are doing just fine.
  • eggsheneggshen Middleton, WIMember Posts: 565
    It really makes me wonder how TLG is going to enter that market and compete. It's one thing to establish a brand and sell based on that brand as they have done in Europe and North America, but from my new understanding of the Asian market, people there don't really care about that as much. They want what they can afford, and are perfectly fine with substitutes provided the quality is close enough. 

    There are a couple of different routes they could take, but the one I hope they don't take is to offer low prices in that market to compete with copycats and increase prices everywhere else to absorb the loss. That would really irritate me.
  • SprinkleOtterSprinkleOtter Member Posts: 2,742
    ^ And also wouldn't make any business sense at all...
  • EdmicEdmic ZürichMember Posts: 102
    eggshen said:

    There are a couple of different routes they could take, but the one I hope they don't take is to offer low prices in that market to compete with copycats and increase prices everywhere else to absorb the loss. That would really irritate me.
    Low prices would kill their market inhere as for the big sets. Chinese government is subsidising export thus postage costs are almost nothing, and who would not want to have a legal business of buying something, adding $30,- and ship to Europe. Do that 5 times a week and that's an extra $600,- a month. I myself would so do that if Lego would offer me that option. And someone from China would do it for even less i guess. It's almost free money. So i can't see LEGO heading that direction, also it would be admitting that the overhead costs are not the only reason for high prices, but a big profit is also one of them.
    catwrangler
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