As for other companies that make construction toys with nested bricks, most LEGO fans have no problem with other construction toys as long as they are of high quality and do not openly scam LEGO designs. There`s a big difference between a company like Mega Construx, Oxford, Kre-O, etc. that publishes its own designs and a company like Lepin that simply copies LEGO sets and publishes them as their own. The former would be called legitimate construction toy brands and the latter clone or imitation brands. Brands of construction toys are completely legal. Cloning tokens are not. It`s as if there are a lot of car brands. Are they clones of each other? To some extent, yes. Cars often use the same or similar components, and they must follow certain standards in order to be able to drive legally on our roads.
So they will look the same in many ways. And historically, there are tanks, tanks, tanks and other four-wheeled vehicles that preceded them and inspired the design of modern cars. To say that a modern Ford is just a clone of a medieval car and therefore has no right to fight someone who is trying to tear off its current design would not work well as an argument. 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 real Lego and steal licensed Lego drawings or characters. However, there are many imitations/counterfeits on the market that bear the Lego name, licensed drawings or characters that were not actually made by Lego. Cobi`s constructions certainly stand out from LEGO and other imitations. Its constructions have a much smoother appearance because they use larger pieces of plastic for the exterior of constructions. This gives them a unique style, but it limits the amount of reuse of the stones in each set. Simply creating building blocks with your 3D printer is perfectly acceptable, but copying entire Lego sets would not be legal. In the knock-off game, there are several different levels of players.
Some imitations use brick design to make original sets. Others go all the way, shamelessly reproducing official LEGO sets. In the middle we find many more companies copying LEGO element designs and making sets with varying degrees of similarity to official LEGO sets. The line between expired patents, copyrighted designs, etc. can become very blurred legally and morally. Lepin was actually shut down by Lego in 2019, so while there are still some, most of the lego imitations/counterfeits were made by other “brands”, but all have the same problems as above in terms of Lepin, especially the point of supporting companies that only copy Legos ideas and designs. Similar to most LEGO imitations, you may have some problems with loose bricks, but if you want sets that are based directly on the real world while giving up brick-built charm, Sluban is the best choice. One of the biggest problems with buying real/fake Lego imitations is that you have no idea how they were made or whether the materials used to make the bricks are safe to have in your home.
These illegal copies are usually referred to as imitations, but some people also refer to companies that make lego-like bricks and sets as imitations, which would be inaccurate. Since the patent on Lego`s original design expired in the 1980s, you can print Legos-like building blocks with your 3D printer without it being illegal. However, if you print licensed characters or put the Lego logo on the bricks, it will become copyright infringement. LEGO sets also tend to have better instructions than imitations, which is especially important for young builders. You can also expect the resale value of imitations to be much lower than that of LEGO sets, which, if any, only increase in value after they are discontinued. Here`s the big problem for something like a licensed Lego set sold by someone like Lebin: If things really went wrong for Lepin with the sets as they are, they could still sell the sets without images or constructions and at this point it`s very doubtful that anyone could stop them from doing so. sell a sorted mix of bricks to build custom sets and since all lego instructions are available for free anyway, no one can stop you from downloading and building a set with these instructions and the fake bricks. However, this is primarily a solution that would work for Europe and the United States, and it would probably be almost impossible to stop Lepin from doing such a thing here.
However, Lepin sets are primarily aimed at Asian markets as a direct competitor to Lego and in these regions, rights are generally not treated with the same care as here, and Lego will probably not be able to sell its sets in these markets anyway. These sets are illegal to sell, although buying for personal use is more of a gray area. The disadvantages of buying these imitations / fakes, in my opinion, far outweigh all the advantages, because when buying, you risk the health and safety of the children who will play with them! In 2016, Lego announced that it would take legal action against the Chinese company Guangdong Loongon, which makes the Lepin brand, for selling exact replicas of existing Lego products (including art boxes).  If you buy Lepin brand bricks (these are Lego imitations) for personal use, you probably won`t have any problems (although legality is a gray area). However, you should never buy fake Legos to resell them, as you will have serious problems with Lego because you infringe their copyright by reselling these bricks. Yes, there is a certain amount of truth in that. However, the recent decision of the Chinese Court somehow conveys a strong message and precedent that such disregard for intellectual property rights will not be ignored. LEGO will simply file another complaint and make it difficult for these imitating brands if they still refuse to stop and refrain from operating illegally. A recent survey of European companies that manufacture branded products shows that more than 80% of respondents have had their products imitated at least once in the last five years. Only about half of them had filed a lawsuit against the imitators. The other half cited cumbersome procedures, high costs and uncertainty about outcomes due to very different practices, even within the European Union, as the main reasons why they do not defend their rights.
It is therefore all the more clear that improved legislation is needed in this area. One of the reasons for this is that LEGO has patents and trademarks for the manufacture of its bricks. This forces some companies to develop various locking mechanisms for bricks, which are usually inferior.