Police in China have exposed a gang accused of manufacturing and selling $30million (£23million) worth of fake LEGO.
According to the police’s statement on April 26, police raided the buildings of Lepin, a Chinese toymaker manufacturing counterfeit LEGO in the southern city of Shenzhen and arrested four people.
“In October 2018, the Shanghai police found that Lepin building blocks available on the market were extremely similar to that of LEGO,” the statement said.
Lepin produced its toys by imitating blueprints from Denmark’s LEGO and sent these mimic toys to a factory in Shenzhen to be manufactured before they were sold all over China.
“Across more than 10 assembly lines, over 90 moulds had been produced… (police seized) some 630,000 completed pieces worth more than 200 million yuan ($30 million),” the statement added.
The knock-off toys that were recently copied from LEGO blueprints included a “LEGO Star Wars” set and “Lego Movie 2” set that have been sold under the name “Lepin Star Plan” and “Lepin Bricks 2” respectively.
Robin Smith, vice president and general counsel for Lego China and Asia Pacific, told the official Xinhua news agency that the safety of the counterfeit products could also be of concern.
The Lepin raid came from an attempt to strengthen the law on intellectual property enforcement by clearing up the counterfeit companies that are now widely growing especially in Shenzhen.
The raid occured two months after LEGO in February 2019 opened its first flagship store in Beijing (the third LEGO”s flagship store in China) that featured a variety of engaging, hands-on, fluid play experiences for fans of all ages.