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Official / Unofficial LEGO Distribution

CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
edited June 2012 in Buying & Selling Topics
I want to understand the LEGO copyright, infringement issues.

If a business is made official by TLG to act as distributor/agent/wholesaler in a specified region say Turkey, does that mean any other business who is not a official partner with TLG is viable to be sued or taken to court? Do we have to become official Lego partners/create an account with the group to start selling in same region i.e. Turkey??

Any help and information in this respect (hopefully I have made enough sense due to my query) will be very much appreciated.


Comments

  • akunthitaakunthita USAMember Posts: 1,038
    @Coolsplash: if the LEGO sets are aquired legally there is no reason why the store that is not an official distributor would get in trouble. As far as official distributor, all it means is that they can get sets from LEGO directly for discounted prizes and large quantities. But if there is a small mom & pop toy-shop down the street that also sells legally aquired LEGO, there is no problem.

    I would suggest you also ask on the BrickLink Forum, as most of the people hanging out there are sellers in various countries with lots of experience. They should be able to give you further insights and advise...(c:
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    I'll just add that although selling legally acquired product should be alright, you need to be careful about using their trademark. If you're not specifically allowed to, you can't give the impression that you are sanctioned by LEGO through the use of their trademarks.
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,332
    Firstly trade laws will be largely specific to each country. Secondly its likely not as simple as above. There can be rules about import of goods for sale if you are either running a business or effectively running a business. There can also be rules in place about the selling on of goods not bought for personal use. Exclusive distributor rights can occur in some countries and can also have some legal standing in some countries, although I doubt they do with Lego. The long and short is that its dependant on your location and unless thats somewhere that lots of bricksetters or bricklinkers are familiar with, in terms of law, you may need to look elsewhere. If this is because of a legal challenge you've faced then thats even more true. It would likely just be bullshit trying to intimidate you but I personally would seek advice from someone with a good understanding of your countries laws.
  • brickmaticbrickmatic Member Posts: 1,071
    Generally speaking, if you have a legal question you should get a legal opinion from a lawyer qualified to answer your question. My previous comment was not legal advice, but I do know trademark infringement is one way to get in trouble (in addition to other ways to get in trouble).
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    ^ This...

    Don't ask for legal advice on the Internet, it is worth what you're paying for it.

    The laws are different in every country of the world, you need a lawyer to answer your question.
  • Brewer51Brewer51 Member Posts: 248
    If I'm not mistaken, are you not from Pakistan? The laws on IP there are probably very different to any of the US or UK laws.

    If you're interested, there's a case about a company that made a product very similar to Lego, but that's to do with the product rather than just being a 3rd party seller.

    The name of it is Lego System v Lego M. Lemelstrech. It was an Israeli company I think.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    The laws in Pakistan are indeed going to be different than the US or UK, but he is asking about Turkey, which has another set of laws.

    Another thing to consider is that if you're doing business overseas, generally you're now subject to both nations laws. Depends on the situation.

    If you're selling one or two items, I doubt either government really cares. If you're really running a real business with real money involved, run, don't walk, to a qualified lawyer or law firm with experience in such things.
  • Brewer51Brewer51 Member Posts: 248
    I thought the Turkey thing was an example? But you are right. TRIPS and the Berne Convention both mean that you have to adhere to the laws of the country you are selling in, and the laws of the country in which the company's copyright you may be infringing is based.

    But yeah, by far and away the best advice is speak to an IP specialist, or even just a commercial firm for a general business idea.
  • HuwHuw Brickset Towers, Hampshire, UKAdministrator Posts: 7,014
    Reading between the lines, @Coolsplash has found out that Pakistan has a official, perhaps sole, agent for importing LEGO and he wants to set up something in competition, possibly importing via some 'grey' channel, but I may be wrong...
  • IstokgIstokg MichiganMember Posts: 2,322
    Um.... from a historical perspective, there has never been more than 1 official sales agent PER COUNTRY for LEGO......

    Here's some excerpts from Chapter 73 - LEGO Sales/History By Country.... of my LEGO DVD...

    ---------------------------

    Iceland

    1955-1977. Sambands íslenskra berkla- og brjóstholssjúklinga (SÍBS), Reykjavik, via license from LEGO A/S. SÍBS had an occupational therapy center for tuberculosis patients (named Reykjalundar). Sets were sold in Iceland under the name SÍBS kubbar from 1955-1960.
    Starting in 1961 SÍBS bought the boxes/packaging from LEGO. They stopped manufacturing the toy once the LEGO line became too complex.

    1978-2003. Sales via Reykjalundar/SÍBS, an independent sales agent.

    2004-present. Sales via Reykjalundar Plastiðnaður. This is perhaps the only independent LEGO sales agent remaining.
    -----------------------------------

    Italy

    1958-1960. Distributed by D.I.G.A., Milano (Milan), via a license from LEGO A/S.

    1961-1969. LEGO S.p.A. Via Colombo, A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.

    1970-present. LEGO S.p.A. Milano (Milan). A sales subsidiary of Lego A/S. From 1971-1974 LEGO S.p.A. produced Italian-specific Minitalia sets.
    ------------------------------------

    Japan

    1962-1977. Sales via an independent agent.

    1978-1991. Nipon LEGO K.K. Tokyo. A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.

    1992-present. LEGO Japan Ltd. Tokyo. A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.
    -------------------------------------

    Korea

    1985-present. LEGO Korea Co., Ltd. Seoul. A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.
    --------------------------------------

    Luxembourg

    1957-60. Distributed by SA J. Frankfort NV, Brussels, via a license from LEGO AS.

    1961-1971. SPRL LEGO Belgium PVBA, Brussels. A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.

    1972-1995. SA Lego Belgium NV, Brussels. A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.

    1995-present. Sales handled through LEGO Benelux.
    ---------------------------------------

    Malaysia

    1990-present. LEGO Malaysia. A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.
    ---------------------------------------

    Mexico

    1994-present. LEGO Mexico S.A. de C.V, Naucalpan de Juarez (Mexico City). A sales subsidiary of LEGO A/S.
    ----------------------------------------
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    Thank you guys for the feedback and advice. And yes I know I should talk to a lawyer about this which I will very soon but Brickset always has helped me out understanding everything about LEGO so thought I should discuss this here as well.

    And guys, I do resell in my country, some of you must have seen some posts of mine and I have been for last 2-3 years. Volumes are low though. But I asked about Turkey as I might start reselling there with a good Turkish friend so we are just doing our homework you can say.

    Thanks for the information @Istokg, always so informative Sir :)

    And yes there is a official Lego retailer/Importer in my country now @Huw and that entity is creating problems or you can say Bullying around being Authorized by LEGO A/S. But I wanted to know, does that mean no one else can sell Lego in my country???? I mean, its not someone would smuggle Lego here right as logistics, duties, taxed have to be paid.

    But based on what @Istokg has shared, does it really mean only an official sales agent is allowed to sell Lego products in respective countries? I don't think so.

    I always thought anyone can sell Lego wherever they reside. We just cannot use the word Lego or Lego's logo due to copyright issues.
  • LegoFanTexasLegoFanTexas TexasMember Posts: 8,409
    And yes there is a official Lego retailer/Importer in my country now @Huw and that entity is creating problems or you can say Bullying around being Authorized by LEGO A/S. But I wanted to know, does that mean no one else can sell Lego in my country???? I mean, its not someone would smuggle Lego here right as logistics, duties, taxed have to be paid.
    I wouldn't know, and since I think you're the only Pakistan member we have, I doubt anyone else knows...

    What I do know is that if I paid good money to be the authorized Lego importer, I'd want to keep everyone else out. You might have an uphill fight on your hands. But again, you need local help, none of us really know Pakistan law...
  • CoolsplashCoolsplash Member Posts: 935
    @LegoFanTexas, I appreciate you and your advice always dear brother since you are one of me Lego mentor :)

    But I guess you are right. When it comes to big money (which I do not have and would not invest in a market like ours) I will be bullied yes. But I have enough experience in business to handle that. BUT I just need to make sure I am not taken to court or something due to some small print I might miss. I do need more and more feedback on Copyright and trademark of Lego. And as I keep looking at other brands like Nike, Reebok or others, there are many many importers who work in those products and there are exclusive Nike stores over here, but it does not stop other small importers to earn their bread and butter. I will keep my brethren posted on this :)

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