Consumers warned of fake Lego products in the Philippines
13 September 2022
Following reports and raid operations revealing the proliferation of these intellectual property (IP) infringing items in the marketplace, the Intellectual Property Office of the Philippines (IPOPHL) is advising the public against purchasing knockoff Lego toys. At a mall in July of last year, the National Bureau of Investigation's IP Rights Division (NBI-IPRD) hauled over 2,000 cartons of knockoff Lego goods valued at around P6.2 million (US$108,000). The Lego items used designs and graphics that were copyright protected by Lego A/S as well as trademarks that were identical to or confusingly similar to those of Lego Juris A/S. According to IP Rights Enforcement Office officer-in-charge Ann N. Edillon, "With the sizable haul of the NBI-IPRD, we urge the public to take heightened caution in purchasing Lego products and make sure that they transact with only legitimate Lego stores and verified accounts on e-commerce platforms."
Edillon stated that there are still a small number of eager consumers of cheap, inferior goods. "Any consumer will always find the cheap price to be a compelling selling element. Edillon noted that IPOPHL aggressively warns against the economic and safety risks of purchasing counterfeits as it works closely with the Department of Trade and Industry on consumer protection measures. However, wise consumers, especially parents, should always consider quality, durability, and especially the safety of the toys and products their children use, he said. "We place a high priority on customer safety and only use the best materials in the construction of Lego goods. We want to make sure that the parents and kids who purchase our toys receive a product of the highest caliber that satisfies the toughest safety requirements," according to Franklin Galman, the Lego Group's APAC-based corporate legal counsel for intellectual property rights, However, according to Galman, counterfeit goods "are typically created under unclean circumstances" and do not adhere to quality control requirements. Companies like the Lego Group are forced to take "a zero-tolerance attitude" against infringers because of their risks to consumer health. "We always respect and welcome fair competition, but when someone disregards our IP rights and betrays our customers' trust, we take the necessary steps to protect both our brand and our customers," Galman continued, noting that they are looking into other markets in the nation that are rumored to sell more Lego knockoffs. Both Lego A/S and Lego Juris A/S are members of the Lego Group, which is situated in Denmark. The rights to hundreds of designs and pictures that appear on Lego goods are owned by Lego A/S, while Lego Juris A/S is the owner of the internationally renowned Lego marks, including the 3-D minifigure and others.
-Excel V. Dyquiangco