On March 20, 2014, LEGO A/S filed a complaint in the District of Connecticut against competitor LaRose Industries LLC d/b/a Cra-Z-Art, alleging copyright and patent infringement and violation of the Connecticut Unfair Trade Practices Act. The case is before Judge Robert N. Chatigny in New Haven, CT. In its Complaint, the Danish toymaker alleges that figurines sold by Cra-Z-Art in its Lite Brix line of toy sets infringe several of LEGO’s U.S. copyrights and design patents. The asserted patents and copyrights are allegedly embodied by LEGO’s own “Friends” line of figurines, the launch of which LEGO has previously credited with a 25% spike in its profits in 2012.
Citing the accused figurine’s “trapezoidal torso, cylindrical head, arms bent slightly at the elbows, straight legs, and inverted feet,” LEGO claims that the Cra-Z-Art toys are “unauthorized reproductions” of its own protected designs. LEGO seeks a preliminary and permanent injunction, and an order calling for the destruction of infringing articles, along with a reasonable royalty, lost profits, and treble damages for wilful infringement. A comparison of the images of the Cra-Z-Art figurines to the claimed designs in the asserted patents is shown below.
The Complaint provides the following visual comparison between the accessed Lite Brix products (left) and LEGO’s Friends products (right):
Cra-Z-Art has not yet filed an Answer to the Complaint.