NZ toy company Zuru loses trademark case against Lego

Toymaker Zuru has lost a trademark case against Danish toy company Lego regarding the packaging of its Max Build More products.

Zuru began selling its Max Build More building bricks in 2018 and put a statement on its packaging saying the bricks were compatible with Lego’s ones.

After Lego took exception to this and prompted retailer The Warehouse to withdraw the products from sale, Zuru replaced the statement with a notice stating its products were “compatible with major brands”.

However, the New Zealand toymaker reintroduced the compatibility statement mentioning Lego in 2021, leading to another round of legal letters and warnings between the two toy companies and The Warehouse.

The company then went to the High Court in Auckland seeking declarations that it was not breaching trademark law, while Lego argued that the statement infringed its brand name.

Justice Graham Lang eventually ruled in favour of Lego and dismissed Zuru’s case in its entirety, according to the NZ Herald.

“I have held that the use of the word ‘Lego’ in the original compatibility statements would be likely to be taken by potential purchasers as being use of the word as a trademark in contravention of … the Trade Marks Act.” 

Zuru was founded by Cambridge siblings Anna, Mat, and Nick Mowbray as a home-grown Kiwi business in 2004 and is now a billion-dollar toy company.

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