LEGO Shall Go the Bandai Way in Prosecuting Lepin

Back in September there was rumor that authority had closed down Dragon Momoko, a brand in China that clone Bandai Gundam model. The brand could no longer be found on Taobao listing. After a while the brand resurfaced in Taobao and buyers of the KO brand thought everything is back to normal. It turned out that Dragon Momoko was indeed being shut down. Bandai (Shenzhen) has reported to take legal action Dragon Momoko on the grounds of copyright infringement. With the help of police in Shanghai, the owner of the KO brand had been hauled up and send to custody in Shanghai jail. Below are the official statement (in Chinese) that Bandai (Shenzhen) released today and the photos of the raid.
Bandi Statement
The factory being closed down and the owner in handcuffed and taken away.

Photos of the raid against Taobao shops and the goods being confiscated.

We can’t help to ask the question why did Bandai managed to close down the 3rd party maker that clone their products while LEGO had little success. If you compare Bandai and LEGO, those two had some similarity.
1. Both are foreign companies in China.
2. Their products that being cloned are assembly types of toys, meaning buyers had to build them.
3. The corporate headquarter in China are located in Shanghai.
4. The knockoff makers are located in Guangzhou.

Let’s look at the differences in the way LEGO and Bandai dealt with copyright infringement.
1. Bandai enlisted the help from police, making it a criminal case. LEGO filed civil case in the court.
2. Bandai make used of the legal system in Shanghai, while LEGO pursue the case in Beijing. (The offender is in Guangzhou and yet Bandai managed to lock the owner up in Shanghai).
3. Bandai went after both the factory and Taobao shops, while LEGO is acting against on the owner only.

We could easily conclude that the Japanese toy maker understand how Chinese legal system work better than the Danish. Based on the statement, Bandai had demonstrated the evidence of copyright infringement and pursue it as a criminal case against Dragon Momoko. In September 2017, Shanghai Police had closed down the factory in Shantou, Guangzhou and brought the owner to Shanghai and prosecuted him. Meanwhile we have no further news on the outcome of the prosecution. No matter the outcome, the factory could no longer produce the goods and no sellers dare to list the goods on Taobao. There is speculation that Daban Model would be the next target by Bandai.

What could LEGO learn here? First, it took a very long time for civil case to proceed, judging from the two known civil cases that LEGO filed in China, each dragged for 5 years long!  As for criminal case, the act is swift and the outcome is fast. The best thing is the police is on your side and do the dirty job for you. Perhaps LEGO shall consult the legal team that Bandai employed.
Source: Bandai Weixin for the statement.
Two LEGO civil cases mentioned above.
LEGO vs Xiaobailong
LEGO vs Lego


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