Court: Lego Can't Trademark Bricks' Shape

Competitor argued that blocks' shape served 'technical' purpose
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 12, 2008 5:14 PM CST
Worker Larry Bradley puts the final touches on a Lego replica of the New York-New York Hotel and Casino before the grand opening of Miniland Las Vegas at Legoland California in Carlsbad, Calif.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – A European Union court ruled today that Lego can’t trademark the shape of its iconic toy building blocks, Bloomberg reports. The court supported a 2006 decision by the EU trademark agency that said because the raised circles on Lego blocks serve a “utilitarian function,” they are ineligible for trademark. Lego plans to appeal to a higher court.

Lego says the design of the bricks make them “highly distinctive” and aesthetic in nature, and therefore eligible for a trademark. A precedent-setting decision in 2002 held that Royal Philips Electronics was not infringing on Spectrum’s Remington trademark by producing an electric shaver with a triangle-shaped head similar to that of a Philips shaver.