Are Lego Knockoffs Legal? (+Other Important Info)


Are Lego Knockoffs Legal?

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The legitimate company behind these popular toy brick pieces use thousands of unique models to bring their Lego sets to life. Lego is considered to be the main company that produces legitimate construction brick toys however once Lego’s patent expired there are many other people who have started building bricks that are similar to Legos. 

That is entirely different from Lego knockoffs though. 

There are quite a few companies (especially overseas) that produce Lego knockoffs, which advertise their products with Lego’s images and even make the same builds with the same figures as Lego does. 

Making building bricks that are similar to Legos isn’t illegal since Lego’s patent expired (the original ones) in 1989 however, straight up copying their current designs including the licensed characters is illegal. 

These illegal copies are typically called knockoffs but some people refer to companies that make bricks and sets similar to Legos as knockoffs too and that would be inaccurate. 

Since Lego’s original patent expired, any toy company can make similar bricks without doing anything illegal as long as they don’t pretend to be actual Legos and don’t steal licensed Lego designs or characters. 

Knockoff (fake) Legos on the other hand are illegal to make/sell although buying them for personal use is a bit more of a gray area. 

One of the biggest issue with buying actual knockoffs/fake Legos is that you have no idea how they were made or even if the materials used to manufacture the bricks is safe to have in your home. 

These fake “Lego” collections are produced with low-quality parts and will also fail/break in many instances where Legos won’t. 

However, there are legit brick companies who are selling building bricks that don’t pretend to be Lego and don’t copy their intellectual property. 

Those companies aren’t knockoff or fake Legos but are simply different building block companies that sell similar blocks. 

To see the most popular Lego sets that are 100% REAL just click here.

Is It Illegal To Buy Lepin? 

Lepin is one of the main brands that you will find selling knockoffs/fake Legos on places like Aliexpress, Wish, etc. Despite them being fake/knockoffs many people wonder if it is legal for them to purchase these items. 

This is a hard question to answer as it really does depend on what you plan on doing with them. 

If you are buying Lepin brand bricks (that are Lego knockoffs) for personal use you will likely not have any issues (although the legality is a gray area). However you should never buy fake Legos to resell as you will get in serious trouble with Lego for violating their copyrights by reselling these bricks. 

One major issue with buying these (and other) knockoff brands is that you are never quite sure what you will get. You might have missing pieces, broken pieces, dirty bricks, etc. 

Rather than having your bricks last for decades (like Legos) these might only last a few months before they start to fade, wear down, or even break in pieces. 

Another thing to consider is whether you want to support a company that is straight up stealing to make some money. Yes, Lepin brand bricks will save you some money but you are supporting theft with that money you spend and are also taking a chance on inferior quality bricks as well. 

In my opinion it just isn’t worth buying no matter how much money you could save. 

Lepin was actually shut down by Lego in 2019 so although there are still some of them around most Lego knockoffs/fakes have started being made by other “brands” however all of them have the same issues as mentioned above regarding Lepin especially the point about supporting companies that are just straight up copying Legos ideas and designs. 

Does Amazon Sell Fake Legos? 

If you are looking for a good deal on Legos you might have come across some cheaper ones on Amazon and wondered if the price was too good to be true. 

One thing that you should consider is how long the seller has been operating on the Amazon platform. 

Many people don’t realize this but there are many thousands of sellers on Amazon that Amazon allows to sell on their platform but you aren’t buying from Amazon itself. It’s these sellers that can sometimes be sketchy and try to sneak fake/knockoff products through. 

Amazon does it’s absolute best to remove any and all fakes from its platform but unfortunately some do get through and get sold. Always be wary of “new” Legos that don’t come in the original box as that is often a sign of fakes. 

Another thing you can do to ensure you don’t have any issues is only buy directly from Amazon or other reputable toy sellers on the platform. Check out the reviews of each seller of the item and if they only have a few or no reviews then don’t buy from them.

Is 3D Printing Legos Illegal? 

If you own a 3D printer and have children, you have likely looked into 3D printing them some building bricks rather than spending the small fortune that Legos will run you. 

Of course, you don’t want to do anything illegal and you may have read online that making your own Legos is illegal but is that true? 

Since the patent on Lego’s original design expired in the 1980s you can print building bricks similar to Legos with your 3D printer without it being illegal. However if you print licensed characters or put the Lego logo on the bricks then that is where it becomes a copyright violation. 

Simply creating building blocks with your 3D printer is totally fine however, copying entire Lego sets would not be legal. 

You have to be especially careful if you are selling the bricks as you want to make sure that you don’t violate any of Lego’s patents or copyrights but if you make sure to not copy a set or licensed character then you should be fine. 

So if you want to create your own generic Legos (building bricks) with your 3D printer you are free to do so but just make sure you don’t copy any of their designs. 

Conclusion

Generic Legos that don’t carry the Lego name or any of their characters/designs are not illegal and really shouldn’t be considered knockoffs or fakes at all. 

However, there are many knockoffs/fakes on the market that carry the Lego name, designs, or licensed characters that actually aren’t made by Lego. 

Those sets are illegal to resell although buying them for personal use is more of a gray area. The downsides of buying these knockoffs/fakes far outweigh any upside though in my opinion as when buying them you are risking the health and safety of the children that will be playing with them! 

To save a few bucks it really just isn’t worth the risk! 

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