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LEGO fight Against Chinese counterfeit LEGO

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Comments

  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,785
    Pitfall69 said:
    As I said before; I am also a business owner and we sell retail products that are counterfeited. Over the years this has cost us over 70% of our retail sales. Many people have come into our shop to complain about the product and we find out that it wasn't bought from.us and that the product was either fake or so similar that they thought it was something else; much like Lepin and their "STAR WNRS" or "Ninjag". I have no doubt that people who have bought products like Lepin have called Lego Customer Service to complain and/or have posted bad reviews on websites like Yelp; this obviously hurts LEGO. People put themselves in a bubble and don't consider the ramifications of their actions. Our business pays the mortgage, puts food on the table and supports my family including my 2 young daughters.
    I agree that Lepin is particularly blatant about their IP infringement. I have not bought any Lepin products, but I freely admit it that I'd consider it if I did not already have multiple tubs of unsorted genuine LEGO and a fairly steady supply of cheap LEGO available at local thrifts stores. 

    I do have a serious question. How did you come to the conclusion that counterfeits have cost you 70% of your retail sales, rather than 90% (or 20%)?
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,450
    Actions always have consequences. By rationalising buying the retired Modulars/UCS/... you have shown Lepin it makes business sense bringing out new ones. As they are thieving bastards who don't want to pay a designer and they have run out of Lego Modulars to copy, they have now gone after MOC's.

    So even if you think owning all retired Modulars, from Lepin if required, is part of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hint: it's not), you might not hurt TLG, but you do hurt the Lego community. Several talented people have removed their LDD files from online circulation, and the Lego community is poorer for it. Those people whose's MOC was copied were also hit in their pocket book as they were selling the instructions.

    But yes, keep telling yourself nobody gets hurt by your moral compass being a bit off and your sense of entitlement.
    danstraindepotAllBrick
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Pitfall69 said:

    If any of us here in the US could buy a Brick Bank for 50% less than RRP, we would be all over that. So, my point is that if the consumer is satisfied with a Lepin GG, why not buy a Lepin Brick Bank? 
    Would "we"? A LEPIN Brick Bank is currently just under $60 on the vaguely US-friendly AliExpress. If that's what 50% does, what does 35% do? I suspect you didn't quite mean what you appear to have said, or is your next stop to make a bulk order?
    I think the damage to Lego may be mitigated by purchasing a GG and then using the funds to purchase authentic Lego
    C'mon! Be honest. The scenario that I painted would actually be a boost - none of this mitigation stuff.
    who is to say that if the consumwr is "happy" with the Lepin product, that they just go ahead and purchase other sets both current and retired with said funds.
    Ah! Now that is the crux of it, and is the little detail to which TLG must attend. Up until now, they've had it easy. They've had the superior product and people have been prepared to pay a premium for it. "Superior" has two main aspects - the standard of manufacture and the designs of their sets. The hard one manufacturing, which LEPIN seem to have almost got licked; it's probably reasonable to assume that they'll get better.

    We're all focusing on set designs, because they've been copied. Oh! The horror of it - it's a good distraction, and one that probably suits LEPIN. TLG's problem is not the copying, but the fact that there are, or soon will be, manufacturers out there (there's more than just more) that can produce products that rival their own. Just as I've always said that there is no reason why the clones can't match TLG in quality, there is no reason why they can't match their designs - not by copying, but by using their own.

    To date, LEPIN haven't done that. The assumption is because it's easy. There's probably an element of that, but it's also about attracting attention to any otherwise unknown brand. They've copied MOCs too, and that's drawn some interest, but a year ago, it wouldn't have because it would just have been just another set from a clone manufacturer and have no pedigree. You might not like the pedigree, but a good design, from LEPIN, is now regarded as likely to be a "good" set.

    The whole LEGO Ideas programme shows that there are people would like to see their sets available commercially. Now, they've established their viability, there's no reason why their couldn't be a LEPIN Ideas programme. You may think that it wouldn't get any takers, but a lot of people aren't that loyal. Just look at the number of people who have bought LEPIN sets; they're loyalty is not absolute. If that's not enough, how many would jump at the chance of becoming a LEGO designer? Faced with outright refusal, I suspect many would be tempted by a similar offer from LEPIN.

    I said TLG had to deal with this. They have a competitor - or, as I've said, more than one. You can almost guarantee that there will be others too, having seen what LEPIN have done. Sooner or later, they'll produce their own, completely legitimate, designs. To be honest, they could well be better designs. TLG could do what a lot of people here do by throwing their toys out of the pram and crying "it's not fair"; fortunately, they're not doing that. The appearance is that they're not doing anything, although I suspect that's not true either. They have to actively compete, or retreat to those markets where brand loyalty is worth half, or even more, of the value of a set.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    stlux said:

    But yes, keep telling yourself nobody gets hurt by your moral compass being a bit off and your sense of entitlement.
    Firstly, by saying "you", without quoting anybody, you don't give any individual the opportunity to reply to your criticism.

    Secondly, what drives LEPIN is the Asian market; Western buyers are largely irrelevant. That market consists of many cultures who may be using totally different moral compasses - not one that is "off", but different.
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,450
    There's plenty of people here who have tried to rationalise buying Lepin. They can all feel addressed by my rant.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Mostly Westerners who do not influence LEPIN in the slightest.
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,418
    I still don't get that some people seem it is perfectly fine to copy somebody else's products. I have just read an article on BBC news about fake sanitary products being sold in China that can be dangerous to womens health. Baby formula has been iffy in China for years. Would you say they are OK because they are cheaper? Where do you draw the line? I really just don't get it. 
  • danstraindepotdanstraindepot Member Posts: 172
    Most of my comments have been diametrically opposed to @TigerMoth and I am a staunch supporter of the moral rights of a companies IP, but some of the points above are pretty interesting to me from a business standpoint.  I agree completely that there is a price on loyalty to a brand. That's why many luxury brands own other 'inferior' brands, that are often more profitable than the original brand.  Its also why the issue I have always had with Lepin, or the others is the direct copying, not competition.

    However, as @TigerMoth stated.  Can you imagine, now that Lepin is a 'brand' in the sense, that we feel their quality is constantly improving, if 'someone' bought Lepin and said something along these lines: "We apologize for all that happened in the past, however we have purchased all equipment and innovations of Lepin, and going forward we will not be copying anymore sets, or infringing on IP, however we will be producing alternative building sets for the consumer at a more affordable price point".

    Would the moral dilemma be gone with new owners and a new mantra?  What if they hired some incredibly talented builders, and said hey guys, we are going to allow double or triple the piece count of LEGO sets, and we can put them out a similar cost.   No mini-figures.  Just amazing buildings, vehicles, etc.  Compatible with your other 'favorite' building sets of course.

    Personally my love of LEGO comes from my own, my families, and others MOC's.  There are simply brilliant designers out there, but cost becomes an issue as to make some truly large and spectacular projects.  Would using Lepin blocks instead of LEGO be any less brilliant?

    Perhaps Lepin hopes to get 'bought out' one day by a business group that sees this type of potential.  LEGO is such a huge business, that its pretty phenomenal we have not seen some type of more legitimate competition to this point.

    Please don't take this as a Pro-Lepin post, its just an interesting line of thought, and I think it may be what @TigerMoth has been warning us about all along, there may be a more serious threat coming than we anticipate to LEGO, and it likely will not be the simply copying that will be the largest issue for LEGO (the company) to deal with.
    pharmjod
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    bookmum said:
    I still don't get that some people seem it is perfectly fine to copy somebody else's products.
    If you think like that, why do you buy clones yourself?

    Anyway, the humble LEGO brick started off life as a copy.
    Where do you draw the line? 
    Good question.
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453

    I do have a serious question. How did you come to the conclusion that counterfeits have cost you 70% of your retail sales, rather than 90% (or 20%)?
    I am glad you asked that question :) Our tax year hasn't ended yet, so I hadn't looked at our retail sales for the year; frankly they are just a fraction of what they used to be, so I don't bother keeping track throughout the year. Just took a look and as of right now sales are down 85% of of what they were a few years ago. It probably will get better because of the holidays, but they will still be down at least 85%+ from a few years ago. How did I come up with 70%? It was just an inference based on what our suppliers tell me is happening to them and from experience being in the business for so long. I won't lie, online retailers have taken a chunk too, but unless you buy the product at a salon, it isn't guaranteed by the manufacturer. BTW our shop has been in the same location for almost 100 years :) 2017 will be our 100th Anniversary!!! 
    stluxdatsunrobbiedanstraindepotcatwranglerkhmellymelBrickDancerdavetheoxygenmanSumoLegoLegogram
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,418
    I buy clones as in megabloks, blok tech and a few others, but the difference is that they have designs that are different to lego ones. They have their own designers, their own characters and themes, their own packaging that,  other than a 95 yr old great granny,  anyone can tell is a different make. If lepin just designed their own stuff and made their logo and packaging look completely different (to lego) then they could be a legit company that we could buy from toys r us. But they're not. 
    stluxdanstraindepot
  • Pitfall69Pitfall69 0 miles to Legoboy's houseMember Posts: 11,453
    If Lepin decided to be like MegaBloks and do their own designs and pay for their own IP's, I would be fine with that, I just wouldn't purchase any. I like Lego as a brand, so I am pretty loyal to that brand. Again, if Lepin decided to go legit, that is fine with me :) 
    AanchirstluxShibdanstraindepotcatwranglerSumoLegoAllBrick
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    bookmum said:

    I buy clones as in megabloks, blok tech and a few others, but the difference is that they have designs that are different to lego ones.
    They have triangular studs, do they? Square ones? The don't have stud? Who do you think designed the basic mechanism behind all the clones?
  • bookmumbookmum londonMember Posts: 1,418
    But megabloks have been around for 30(?) odd years, any legal issues have been resolved. There is always going to be 'copies' of toys - once upon a time someone created the first doll, teddy bear, toy digger etc but different toy companies, while always being rivals, have got to a point where they may make similar (and compatible) toys, but don't completely copy. And if they do, then the lawyers come out. 
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    Most of my comments have been diametrically opposed to @TigerMoth
    I'm not so sure they are.
    I am a staunch supporter of the moral rights of a companies IP
    So am I. If I try to justify that by giving examples, other people argue that they're legitimate, and so detract from the question in hand.

    I just don't think there's a legal basis for it in terms of copying sets. I think LEPIN have found a chink in copyright law and are exploiting it. I also realise different cultures have different views. Considering those, I don't think there's much room to complain, at least with any realistic chance of getting a result.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    bookmum said:
    But megabloks have been around for 30(?) odd years, any legal issues have been resolved. There is always going to be 'copies' of toys - once upon a time someone created the first doll, teddy bear, toy digger etc but different toy companies, while always being rivals, have got to a point where they may make similar (and compatible) toys, but don't completely copy. And if they do, then the lawyers come out. 
    The issues with Mega Bloks have been resolved on a legal level because the copyright has expired. On a moral level, they still copied somebody else's idea. There are other ways of making construction sets, and other companies have done so. However, they not only used the same basic mechanism, the idea, but it's exactly the same size to achieve compatibility.

    Morally, they're wrong; legally they're in the clear. So that's alright. Or is it?

    LEPIN seem to have found a legal loophole. Because they only supply kits, they're not actually copying anything. You can argue the toss, but let's not because we've done it all before (I suspect you've not read the whole thread).

    So, legally, they're in the right, or at least, they might be; morally, they're wrong.

    There isn't an awful lot of difference.
    Jern92
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,785
    TigerMoth said:
    bookmum said:

    I buy clones as in megabloks, blok tech and a few others, but the difference is that they have designs that are different to lego ones.
    They have triangular studs, do they? Square ones? The don't have stud? Who do you think designed the basic mechanism behind all the clones?

    Hillary Fisher Page/Kiddicraft, at least according to what I have read.

    It would seem that a big opportunity in the market right now would be for a manufacturer that can match LEGO quality to produce bulk packs of bricks, like the ones listed here http://brickset.com/sets/theme-Bulk-Bricks, or sets like #4496 and #10697, that are no longer protected by patents. #10697 was the 1500 piece Walmart Black Friday deal last year for $30. 

  • legomentallegomental UkMember Posts: 367
    I can see both sides of the argument but I disagree that only buying retired sets from LEPIN doesn't damage lego. 

    Sure IF you were prepared to buy a GG for 1k then you might spend that 1k on LEGO instead but that is a big assumption that everyone who buys one will. More likely they will buy a LEPIN GG and still spend what they always spend on lego.

    However by buying LEPIN what is happening is those who might have previously bricklink ed one now won't and therefore LEGO ultimately does lose out on brick sales and sets sold to part out to bricklink stores.

    If you really want a GG it is perfectly possible to bricklink one for sub £250 if you adjust the colour. obviously the purists will be wincing by now (though any purist will be crying at the thought of LEPIN anyway :-)  )
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    TigerMoth said:
    bookmum said:

    I buy clones as in megabloks, blok tech and a few others, but the difference is that they have designs that are different to lego ones.
    They have triangular studs, do they? Square ones? The don't have stud? Who do you think designed the basic mechanism behind all the clones?

    Hillary Fisher Page/Kiddicraft, at least according to what I have read.
    Not quite - you've got the presidential election on the brain. His name was Hilary. He invented quite a lot of toys, holding a couple of dozen patents for them. One, from 1947, was for the Self-Locking Building Brick.

    Ten years later, he committed suicide because his company had financial problems. He didn't know about LEGO. They'd been given some of Page's bricks by the manufacturers of a moulding machine as a demonstration of its capabilities. The rest, as they say, is history.

    When facing legal action with Tyco in the eighties, TLG bought the rights so there couldn't be any dispute in court about ownership.

    But I've been told I'm not allowed to mention any of that.
    datsunrobbie
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,110
    edited October 2016
    Pitfall69 said:

    I do have a serious question. How did you come to the conclusion that counterfeits have cost you 70% of your retail sales, rather than 90% (or 20%)?
    I am glad you asked that question :) Our tax year hasn't ended yet, so I hadn't looked at our retail sales for the year; frankly they are just a fraction of what they used to be, so I don't bother keeping track throughout the year. Just took a look and as of right now sales are down 85% of of what they were a few years ago. It probably will get better because of the holidays, but they will still be down at least 85%+ from a few years ago. How did I come up with 70%? It was just an inference based on what our suppliers tell me is happening to them and from experience being in the business for so long. I won't lie, online retailers have taken a chunk too, but unless you buy the product at a salon, it isn't guaranteed by the manufacturer. BTW our shop has been in the same location for almost 100 years :) 2017 will be our 100th Anniversary!!! 
    I'm curious how you attribute only 15% of the drop to online sales, and 70% to counterfeiters. and no attribution at all for loss to big box B/M, clubs, etc., which seem to carry more "salon brand" products these days then they used to.

     I'm not trying to downplay counterfeiting - I have no doubt it is a real problem. But the retail marketplace is also very rapidly evolving across many market categories. I'd also point out that I don't believe most consumers care much about the manufacturer guarantee on consumable products like shampoo, etc., so if they can buy it online and save $5, then they will happily do so.

     Only a very small portion of the population is going to take the time and energy to act on that guarantee. It's the kind of marketing thing that sounds great, and helps the authorized resellers with their sales pitch, but has little to no actual value to the end consumers, whose gotten smarter about parsing through this kind of stuff and deciding whether its worth the extra markup or not. Congrats on your 100th! Hope you make it to 200!
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    dougts said:

    Congrats on your 100th! Hope you make it to 200!
    Personally? Mind you, he does appear to have a few wrinkles in strange places :-)
  • blogzillyblogzilly Columbus, OhioMember Posts: 598
    Odd question, or off topic I guess.

    Why does a link to a Blu Ray DVD to a movie pop up in a person's comment that I don't think they intended to reference? I know I wrote a post a while back and some hyperlinks ended up in them. I know I didn't do any inserting...at least not here.

    How does that happen? And why? Anyone know or have an idea?
  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    TigerMoth said:
    AustinPowers said:

    Hmm.

    Lego Green Grocer (new) via ebay resellers: > 1K Euro
    Lepin GG Clone (new) via AliExpress sellers: roundabout 80 Euro*
    (*including shipping and import duty/tax)

    That's "a buck or two" indeed. Right.

    And someone buying such a Lepin GG clone is surely doing a lot of damage to the people at Lego working hard to produce ever more of the original for us to buy.

    *rolleyes*

    So, on your figures, if you've €1000 to spend, you could go out and buy a genuine LEGO Green Grocer from a reseller - at no benefit to TLG. Alternatively, you can buy the LEPIN one from AliExpress, and then have enough left over to buy all five current modulars directly from shop.lego.com and STILL have €180 towards Assembly Square.

    It's obviously a bit of a no-brainer from your point of view, but buying the LEPIN set seems to be what benefits TLG the most. Ouch!

    As far as I am concerned that is exactly the paradox situation!

    Had I spent 1000+ Euro on a real GG from some ebay reseller, I would have blown quite a large part of my annual Lego budget on one item, from which TLG would have profited not one bit. On the contrary, I would have spent 900+ Euro less on TLG sets that year, which would have hurt TLG sales directly.

    So you are right, the fact that I have bought a Lepin GG means that I can blow all that saved budget on original Lego - which I have done actually. After all my Brickset inventory hasn't grown this year from about 400 to over 550 sets and CMFs out of nothing ;-)

  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    Pitfall69 said:
    If a GG is 80 Euro ($87 USD) that's 1/2 the cost of a Brick Bank in the US. If any of us here in the US could buy a Brick Bank for 50% less than RRP, we would be all over that. So, my point is that if the consumer is satisfied with a Lepin GG, why not buy a Lepin Brick Bank? 

    Because even though Lepin is quite near to the original quality-wise, it is not quite there yet.

    For someone like me, who wanted a GG enough to even consider the Lepin clone in the first place, that potential bargain was what drove me over the edge.

    But when I count the negatives (crappy instructions, broken/damaged/missing pieces, non-existant customer service), then I know I only accepted these because it was an EOL set with horrendous prices in the aftermarket.
    I mean honestly, now that I have the Lepin GG, I can't fathom why anyone in their right mind would willingly pay over 1K Euro for the original. It definitely is not THAT good a design or build. As a matter of fact, I was quite a bit disappointed after having built the three sets I bought from Lepin, especially with the HH. It is like when you are secretly in love with someone. Once you actually get together, you realize that the reality is often not as amazing as you had imagined.
    Applied to modulars this means that I by far prefer a DO or PR to a GG or TH. And it has also taught me that I will certainly not buy a Lepin CC, FB or GE. I will rather spent my budget on an original BB and AS.

    CaptainPirateMan
  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    stlux said:
    But yes, keep telling yourself nobody gets hurt by your moral compass being a bit off and your sense of entitlement.
    Will do. And you keep sticking to your cloud-coocoo-land ideas of a fair and even world. It isn't and will never be, as long as humans are involved in the process. It is sad but true, so better accept it and make the best of it.
    Jern92MrJ_NYdougtsRecce
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,450
    At least I'm not actively make it worse by telling myself "life isn't fair, so I can just feel entitled and mess it up a bit more". That's not my definition of "making the best of it".
    So feel proud of being one of masses of humans making the world a worse place.
    AllBrickSven_F
  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    bookmum said:
    But megabloks have been around for 30(?) odd years, any legal issues have been resolved. There is always going to be 'copies' of toys - once upon a time someone created the first doll, teddy bear, toy digger etc but different toy companies, while always being rivals, have got to a point where they may make similar (and compatible) toys, but don't completely copy. And if they do, then the lawyers come out. 

    It's always funny to remind oneself in that context that Lego started its foray into the building block market by ripping of other people's designs without ever compensating them. They effectively destroyed Kiddicraft. Not that TLG of now seems to be in that danger from the likes of Lepin of course...
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,450
    Two wrongs don't make a right.

    And I'm quite happy in my Cloud Coocoo Land, thank you very much. Unikitty is a lot of fun.
    SumoLegoBumblepantsAllBrick
  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    edited October 2016
    I can see both sides of the argument but I disagree that only buying retired sets from LEPIN doesn't damage lego. 
    ...
    However by buying LEPIN what is happening is those who might have previously bricklink ed one now won't and therefore LEGO ultimately does lose out on brick sales and sets sold to part out to bricklink stores.
    At least as far as I am concerned I would never have bricklinked a modular or HH.

    And purists will be wincing now as well, but Lego has actually profited from my buying the Lepin GG,TH and HH because I replaced all the "wrong" and broken/scratched/damaged Lepin parts on those sets with original Lego parts from PAB, B&P as well as several BL sellers.
    Jern92
  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    edited October 2016
    stlux said:
    At least I'm not actively make it worse by telling myself "life isn't fair, so I can just feel entitled and mess it up a bit more". That's not my definition of "making the best of it".
    So feel proud of being one of masses of humans making the world a worse place.

    If you say so.


    *rolleyes*

    Jern92Recce
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    edited October 2016
    It could be argued (with some kind of collective responsibility thinking, and with such a small population everyone gets a chunk of the responsibility cake) that living in Luxembourg you're doing far more to make the world a worse place than anyone buying Lepin. Whether that's providing banking to the likes of North Korea's leadership or providing dodgy tax avoidance loopholes for Amazon and others.

    If buying retired Lepin sets enables them to make more copies of current sets and deserves the scorn of your rant what exactly does providing international banking to some of the worst dictators in the world enable? 

    I'm not saying that the UK or any other country is necessarily better, just that we need to be careful when trying to judge on moral consequences.
    dougtsJern92Recce
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,450
    edited October 2016
    At least I'm not proudly proclaiming to engage in dodgy practices here on this forum. And again: 2 wrongs don't make a right.
    SumoLegoAllBrick
  • cheshirecatcheshirecat Member Posts: 5,331
    No but I'm reminded of a saying about stones and glass houses, and whilst you might not be proclaiming about engaging in dodgy practices you presumably are enjoying the benefit of living in the richest/second richest country in the world by GDP. An achievement for a country that arguably has had next to no natural resources for the last 30 years and overall seems pretty happy with the status quo (only a broad coalition has changed the government that would otherwise have remained constant though out my entire lifetime and almost since 1945).

    Of course that's all not down to you, but we are all arguably responsible in some small way for a whole raft of things that are far worse than buying a LEPIN set. Hence its a bad idea to try and judge peoples moral compass or suggesting that one person is making the world a worse place compared to another based on a very incomplete picture of their life. 
    stluxdougtsJern92
  • hardwaxhardwax ScotlandMember Posts: 10
    bandit778 said:
    As most of these sets are delivered to Europe and the USA without boxes, it makes me wonder (as a self confessed completely cynical git) if there will be a rush to buy the empty boxes from the likes of Bricklink and Brickowl for the discontinued sets, by morally challenged sellers to try and palm off a Lego Boxed, Lepin set as an original to the more unsuspecting buyers/investor.

    Lego bricks say LEGO on every stud, Lepin studs are smooth (expect for some mold pips), so its very easy to spot the difference, even for unsuspecting buyers/investors.
  • stluxstlux LuxembourgMember Posts: 2,450
    edited October 2016
    @cheshirecat All good points, and I'm very aware that the world is not black and white, but has many shades of grey.

    For me when it comes to Lego the black area starts where people proudly advertise that they buy fakes and claim this has 0 consequences. Actions always have consequences, you just might choose to ignore them. However I am acutely aware this is my personal opinion only, and I don't claim to have any moral authority. This thread just seems to have turned very pro-Lepin, and I wanted to give some counterbalance. I apologise if I did this too forceful and dragged this thread even deeper in the mud.
    SumoLegodanstraindepotBrickfan50AllBrick
  • StrykerCatStrykerCat Member Posts: 3
    @stlux I support your stance and your integrity.
  • AustinPowersAustinPowers GermanyMember Posts: 278
    stlux said:
    For me when it comes to Lego the black area starts where people proudly advertise that they buy fakes and claim this has 0 consequences. Actions always have consequences, you just might choose to ignore them.
    Actually if you are talking about me in particular, I certainly didn't "proudly" advertise buying fakes. I admitted that I had tried it, plus I gave imho very balanced feedback about the quality - or lack thereof where it was due.
    Plus, I am definitely not pro-Lepin in any way, just as I am not pro-VW after their Dieselgate scandal, yet we still drive a VW because we had bought it years ago. A new one from VW - not bloody likely. Again, just like with Lepin, where I don't plan on getting any more sets.
    dougts
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    stlux said:

    So feel proud of being one of masses of humans making the world a worse place.
    Does sarcasm towards @AustinPowers do anything different? Does it make the world a better or worse place?
    This thread just seems to have turned very pro-Lepin, and I wanted to give some counterbalance. I apologise if I did this too forceful and dragged this thread even deeper in the mud.
    This thread IS the counterbalance. When it was started, most references to clones included phrases like "cheap Chinese rubbish" - which is a bit unfair, as most clones seen in the West, aren't Chinese. There was also no reason why any clones, from anywhere, should automatically be assumed to be rubbish - and it was a dangerous assumption. A few manufacturers, LEPIN being foremost amongst them, have proven that Chinese clones can be good quality (although nobody has yet demonstrated that LEPIN are Chinese), and that it was a dangerous to dismiss such things as simply being cheap tat.

    This thread therefore represents the truth. For every gainsayer, there will therefore be somebody else who comes along and tells us that they've bought a LEPIN set and found it better than expected. It's driven by past negativity. We're all AFOLs. Given the choice, we'd buy a LEGO set rather than the equivalent LEPIN one. Circumstances mean that that's not always possible. Most people aren't millionaires; most people who buy LEPIN products, whether equivalent to current or retired LEGO sets, do so because they haven't the choice. Nobody is promoting LEPIN products over LEGO
    ones. There are other forums where that happens.

    Don't feel too sorry for TLG in the name of what is "right". There are skeletons in their closets too. As a company, they have to live in the same dog-eat-dog world that other companies do and operate with the same rules. Like most companies, they have lots of nice slogans, but at the end of the day, their main purpose in life is to separate people from as much money as they can bear. Most of those people are children. What do they do with it? Most of the time, nothing but count it. That couldn't be further from what Hilary Page spent his life trying to achieve. He built things for children to enjoy, unfortunately with just too little regard for the financial aspects.
    BobflipCaptainPirateMandatsunrobbiecatwranglerdougtsScatterbugdanstraindepotJern92
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 685

    Perhaps Lepin hopes to get 'bought out' one day by a business group that sees this type of potential.  LEGO is such a huge business, that its pretty phenomenal we have not seen some type of more legitimate competition to this point.
    I'd say they've had plenty of competition, from Mega Bloks, Kre-o, etc, but most of it has been inferior. I've heard MB have improved their quality lately, but they have a bad reputation to overcome.

    Lepin have been shrewd in manufacturing the sought after sets and with fairly decent quality, which has given them a leg-up in the credibility stakes. I just wish they hadn't also cloned current sets and ripped off MOC designers.
  • MrJacksonMrJackson Member Posts: 451
    This has been a fascinating discussion to read over the weeks. I do have a question, tho. One of the most popular pro-Lepin stances is that they make sets Lego no longer produces. And that stance has opponents, and for valid reasons. There's another thread currently about bringing back the Monorail (3D-printed).  I don't know how many of you have checked it out. The response has been pretty positive, but I'm struck by how often the initial reaction of "Great! They havn't made these parts in years and they're super expensive on Bricklink" has been stated.  Everyone who has commented seems thrilled.

    How is that any different than Lepin copying anything from 1x2 Sand Green Bricks with groove all the way up to sets? Why, with the monorail, is the stated reaction ok (and even expected and/or sanctioned) but with Lepin it isn't? 

    I now have the option to get straight monorail track for less than a 4th of what the secondary market prices are.  You bet your bottom dollar I'm going that route. I have a decent sized setup that I'm working on at the moment (8'x12', sorry I don't know the metric for you folks on the other side of the pond) and I need a good 20 pieces of straight track. 

    For the people who would respond that I shouldn't buy something that I can't afford, I'm not. That's why I'm planning on the 3D-printed ones. The problem with black-and-white moral compasses is that nothing is black and white. There are real-world events driving people like you and me to make decisions like this large and small.

    I guess my curiosity is why, in Lepin's case, they're monsters, but with the 3D printed monorail, they aren't. I'm struggling to understand the fundamental difference.  Lepin does it with other people's IP, I get that, but there seems to be more parallels than differences between the two, notwithstanding the crowd's reactions. 
    CaptainPirateMandatsunrobbiedougtscheshirecatDoctorMcGannpharmjodJern92
  • CaptainPirateManCaptainPirateMan MichiganMember Posts: 353
    ^Best post of the tread IMO.
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    ^Best post of the tread IMO.
    Not really - it's been said many times before, in this thread and others, so they must all have a similar status (positive or negative) :-)
    Bobflip said:

    Perhaps Lepin hopes to get 'bought out' one day by a business group that sees this type of potential.  LEGO is such a huge business, that its pretty phenomenal we have not seen some type of more legitimate competition to this point.
    I'd say they've had plenty of competition, from Mega Bloks, Kre-o, etc, but most of it has been inferior. I've heard MB have improved their quality lately, but they have a bad reputation to overcome.
    It has been speculated a few times that LEPIN might actually be a TLG brand - which might have explained the latter's apparent inaction, and the availability of so many parts.

    Perhaps, instead, it's a Mattel brand - LEPIN as premium; Mega Bloks simply providing the reasons to by their own premium brand. They could hardly do it directly, could they?
  • MrJacksonMrJackson Member Posts: 451
    Believe me, it's not affiliated with Lego. The fact that there's litigation alone would disprove that. You don't sue yourself.   We've had some of the more informed customers at the store who purchase a lot of sets mention Lepin as a possible alternative, and even our couple of big resellers are concerned that their market may change. I've watched customers stand there looking at sets we currently sell and then looking on their phones at Lepin sets that are a fraction of the price. Mom and dad then debate about buying a Lepin Millenium Falcon for their son and using the balance to buy their other kids more stuff. It's challenging to remain on one's moral high ground when there's dollars-and-cents decisions standing in the way.  Most of our customers still buy tons of sets, especially as investments, without caution or regard to what the market will look like in a few years' time.  I've thought the bubble is going to burst some time soon and Lepin may be the pinprick that does it. I think that's ultimately Lego's big concern. 
    Just my opinion from what I'm able to extrapolate tho. 
  • BobflipBobflip Member Posts: 685
    Yeah, I find it very unlikely it's a TLG offshoot! Not with the lawsuit, the moulding pips in different locations, the production of current sets...
  • datsunrobbiedatsunrobbie West Haven , CTMember Posts: 1,785
    "You don't sue yourself"

    Actually, Warner Brothers has, with DMCA takedowns:
    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2016/09/warner-bros-flags-own-site-for-piracy-dmca-google/

    With ginormous corporations owning multiple companies, they probably sue themselves more often than any of us would guess. 

    Maybe LEPIN is a Disney property (probably not). They love to sue people for IP infringement, even over things as stupid as posting a picture of a Rey action figure that was owned by the person posting it, yet have publicly done nothing about LEPIN Disney Castle and Star Wnrs sets. 

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2015/12/disney-initially-drops-then-doubles-down-on-dmca-claim-over-star-wars-figure-pic/
  • TigerMothTigerMoth Member Posts: 2,343
    MrJackson said:
    Believe me, it's not affiliated with Lego.
    We've been there - and got past it. That's why I used the past tense.
    I've thought the bubble is going to burst some time soon and Lepin may be the pinprick that does it.
    We've been there, too.
    I think that's ultimately Lego's big concern.
    Ah! The big question there is whether they've actually got as far as being concerned yet.
  • dougtsdougts Oregon, USAMember Posts: 4,110
    edited October 2016
    MrJackson said:
     There's another thread currently about bringing back the Monorail (3D-printed).  The response has been pretty positive, but I'm struck by how often the initial reaction of "Great! They havn't made these parts in years and they're super expensive on Bricklink" has been stated.  

    How is that any different than Lepin copying anything from 1x2 Sand Green Bricks with groove all the way up to sets? Why, with the monorail, is the stated reaction ok (and even expected and/or sanctioned) but with Lepin it isn't? 

    The problem with black-and-white moral compasses is that nothing is black and white.

     I'm struggling to understand the fundamental difference.  Lepin does it with other people's IP, I get that, but there seems to be more parallels than differences between the two, notwithstanding the crowd's reactions. 
    DING! DING! DING! We have a winner!

    Selective morality FTW
    CaptainPirateMan
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,347
    edited October 2016
    hardwax said:
    Lego bricks say LEGO on every stud, Lepin studs are smooth (expect for some mold pips), so its very easy to spot the difference, even for unsuspecting buyers/investors.

    I know they differ in a variety of ways, but there are people who will try anything. 
  • bandit778bandit778 Docking Bay 94. Member Posts: 2,347
    edited October 2016
    oops, messed up and ran out of edit time.

    What I wanted to add was - there have been comments in other threads over the last year of re-sealed sets that have no minifigs in, there are numerous listings on eBay for Items that include a Lego brick so people buy them as they think they are Lego and there are numerous smaller firms that rip off IP's like Star Wars and Super heroes figures, so buying an empty Lego box and filling it with what looks remarkably like Lego would not surprise me in the least . Some sellers will go all out  to make a few quid off uninformed buyers.
  • CaptainPirateManCaptainPirateMan MichiganMember Posts: 353
    edited October 2016
    This is the same thing I was saying on Eurobricks when talking about Lepin; if you want to bash them for copying current Lego sets, stealing AFOL'S desings, or bash folks that are ok with that. Then fine, do that if it makes you feel better. But to bash people that are buying retired sets for "supporting Lepin" but then turn around and praise a clone monorail or (in Eurobricks case) support and encourage knockoff stickers is extremely hypocritical. 

    Obviously not everybody that finds Lepin deplorable also accepts the stickers and monorail, but for the most part, nobody bats an eye at those. My point is, fair is fair, and there doesn't seem to be a TON of that train of thought in the Lego community. Not everybody, but still a fair enough amount.
    dougtsJern92
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