Last night, as I was reading posts on Facebook, I came across an advertisement for the LEGO Millenium Falcon. It was the 7451 piece set that I commented on in a post the other day (Explore Space Create History). The problem is that the company only wanted $49.95 for it. Odd since the LEGO catalogue had it for $799.
The website link had several pictures of the item. It was the same LEGO item. It even had the same catalogue number. The box even had the Disney logo on the lower corner. But LEGO wasn’t on the box in the photo. I commented that it was probably a knockoff. A short time later a man from Hong Kong commented that it was not a LEGO product. Obviously a blatant rip-off for profit.
I reported the matter to Facebook. If I understood their site, they have a policy that basically doesn’t hold them liable for many copyright and trademark issues in the buying and selling of things. I guess it is ok to sell fraudulent items but it’s not ok to comment on certain things that impact their community rules. Not surprising since they don’t make money if you call somebody a bad name, suggest that a government official should be hung, or note that the B52’s should be locked and loaded to address issues. They just ban you for a period of time. (A story for another time, but I think I’m up to 30 days now). Not that my complaint mattered, or did it? By morning, my conversation with the man from Hong Kong was erased, my links to the web site were gone, and the company was advertising fashion items. Not sure who did all of that!
Since my kids and I love LEGO products, I also reported it to LEGO by e-mail. They responded about 10 hours later and thanked me for the information, commenting that they are constantly searching the internet for knock off products. Their legal department is looking into my information.
Now this post will probably strike a cord with some, as it ventures into politics, vis-a-via the current trade issues between the United States and China. In my opinion in this matter, it was obvious that a Chinese company tried to rip off a foreign company. Copyright, trademark infringement and patent protection are important in economics. The ideas that people generate should be protected. Other people should not be allowed to take someone else’s ideas and profit from it. If I had to guess, I bet that since they didn’t put LEGO on the box that they were not ripping off LEGO.
This isn’t the first time that I have seen this. Hasbro had the Avengers Thanos glove with the Infinity stones that light up. I think that it was possible to buy knock offs of that glove on another shopping website before Hasbro actually shipped it. I know because my son got one of the cheap knock-offs that was rendered useless in the first week. Shipped directly from China. I guess that the bottom line is buyer beware.