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Danish Toy Producer Lego Wins a Trademark Dispute with Kiwi Toymaker Zuru

Zuru, a $1 billion toy business from New Zealand, lost a trademark lawsuit over packaging that claimed its building blocks were compatible with Lego.

In 2018, Zuru, a Kiwi company that went on to become a global success, started selling its Max Build More products, including through a partnership with Walmart, a major American retail chain.

A “compatibility statement” indicating that its construction bricks could be used with the Danish mega-brand Lego was planned for its packaging, but Walmart objected, claiming it did not want Lego to be specifically recognised.

The American-sold product’s label was modified to read “compatible with major brands” by Zuru, which was formed by Cambridge siblings Anna, Mat, and Nick Mowbray.

The product, however, was advertised as “Lego brick compatible” by Zuru and distributed by The Warehouse in New Zealand.

Lego’s response didn’t take long to come. In November and December of last year, Zuru and The Warehouse received “cease and desist” letters from Lego’s US attorneys.

The Warehouse replaced the Zuru bricks with merchandise that simply made reference to the broad compatibility declaration and left out any mention to Lego on the store’s shelves.

The Warehouse and the other toy companies exchanged legal letters and warnings after Zuru reinstated the Lego allusion in their logo in 2021.

Then Zuru New Zealand Ltd requested declarations from the High Court in Auckland that it was not infringing on trademark laws.

Lego A/S, a Danish toy company, is located in Billund, Denmark. It creates toys under the Lego name, the majority of which are made of interlocking plastic bricks. The Lego Group not only develops numerous Legoland theme parks throughout the world, but also owns and manages a sizable number of retail establishments.

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