Lego has won a landmark case in China against rival products which it said were almost identical to one of its ranges.

It is the first time the Danish firm has succeeded in a copyright claim in China, where copies of its famous coloured bricks and figures have been a recurrent problem, the Daily Telegraph reported.

China Shantou Intermediate People's Court ruled that certain products marketed under the brand Bela infringed Lego's copyright, and selling the products constituted unfair competition.

Two Chinese companies which were manufacturing the copies must change their packaging and logos as a result.


The victory follows an earlier ruling from Beijing Higher Court which found that Lego's name and logo are well-known trademarks in China, giving the toymaker more clout in copyright infringement cases.

Peter Thorslund Kjær, vice president of legal affairs for the Lego Group, said: "We will continue our efforts to ensure that parents and children are able to make informed choices when they are buying toy products, and that they are not misled by attempts by irresponsible companies to make toy products appear as something that they are not."

A decade long run of sales growth ended for Lego this year, after its expansion failed to deliver expected sales growth.

Chairman Jorgen Vig Knudstorp said he was "pressing the reset button for the entire group" in a bid to arrest the declines, which came after investment to boost production capacity "to support higher expectations of revenue which failed to materialise".

The Chinese market is key to Lego's future success. Knudstorp has spoken in the past of his desire to make Lego the country's number one toy brand and it opened its first factory in China a year ago.

The company is banking on sales in the world's second largest economy to offset slower sales in Europe and the US.