Thursday, November 17, 2005

Generic "lego" allowed by SCOC (Supreme Court of Canada)

This is a great thing, as Legos (whoops! I meant "Models built of Lego bricks") have, as of late, descended into lame branding excercises in order to shift product. Other than the wonderful Technic kits, Legos (whoops!) have become crappy toys that happen to snap together.
On Thursday, the Supreme Court justices concurred with a lower court judge who found that "purely functional" features, such as the well-known geometrical pattern of raised studs on the top of the bricks, could not be the basis of a trademark.

"Trademark law should not be used to perpetuate monopoly rights enjoyed under now-expired patents," the Supreme Court says.

The last of Lego's Canadian patents on its blocks expired in 1988.

"The fact is ... that the monopoly on the bricks is over, and Mega Bloks and Lego bricks may be interchangeable in the bins of the playrooms of the nation – dragons, castles and knights may be designed with them, without any distinction," the high court ruled.

Hopefully, now that Lego has been forced to allow interoperation, other more innovative building brick companies can fill the void.

Or maybe not.



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