EU court backs Lego in German design rights case

FILE PHOTO: Rita Ebel, nicknamed “Lego grandma”, builds a wheelchair ramp from donated Lego bricks in the living room of her flat in Hanau, Germany, February 17, 2020. REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Danish toymaker Lego on Wednesday won the backing of Europe’s second-highest court in its fight to secure design rights for its colourful snap-together plastic building bricks familiar to millions of children worldwide.

The Luxembourg-based General Court threw out a 2019 decision by the European Union Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO) that sided with German toy and hardware maker Delta Sport Handelskontor which had sought to declare Lego’s design invalid.

Lego challenged that ruling at the court, which on Wednesday disagreed with the trademark agency’s assessment.

“EUIPO erroneously declared invalid a design of a brick of a LEGO toy building set,” judges said.

“EUIPO failed to examine the relevance of the application of the exception relied on by Lego and failed to take into consideration all the features of appearance of the brick,” they said.

The trademark agency in its decision two years ago said the design of Lego bricks were solely dictated by their technical function, which is to allow assembly with, and disassembly from, the rest of the bricks of the set.

The court’s decision can be appealed to the EU Court of Justice, Europe’s highest.

The case is T-515/19 Lego A/S v EUIPO and Delta Sport Handelskontor GmbH.

Reporting by Foo Yun Chee. Editing by Mark Potter

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