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Rip off

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.

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Explore Space Create History

That phrase is on the front cover of the latest LEGO catalogue that arrived today. The summer 2019 catalogue has creations associated with the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing. When I was growing up, I followed the space program before the landing. I was 8 at the time. I remember watching Walter Cronkite cover the liftoff, the landing, the first walk on the moon and the landing back here on earth. I had everything. A space suit, telescope, we would fly model rockets. I would write NASA every month for free photos and books, anythink about space. It would have been cool to be an astronaut.

So in the summer catalogue from LEGO they have listed as a “hard to find” item, the Saturn V rocket. It’s over 39 inches tall. I remember growing up my plastic model rockets of Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. They had to be assembled by hand, and help from mom and dad. They were taller than 39 inches, but they also required glue and paint. Less pieces than these LEGO kits. At 1,969 pieces, it would take my son and I an afternoon to build this LEGO kit. New in the catalogue is the Apollo 11 Lunar Lander. I can remember that when you filled up your car with gas at the Gulf stations at that time, you could get a cardboard cut out kit of the Lunar Lander. It was cool. It was fun. You learned and you had pride in your country.

After that, the catalogue then gets into 20th anniversary Star Wars sets. We have many Star Wars sets here at the house, but not all of them. Over the years, I think I have spent thousands on LEGO sets for the kids. Horses for daughter and Minecraft for son, Ningago sets and LEGO movie sets, LEGO City sets, the space shuttle, trucks, Bionicles, and on and on and on. By page 8 of the catalogue, you have the “hard to find” Death Star and equally impressive Millennium Falcon. It took us about 3 days to build the Death Star over the Christmas break; the Ewok Village was about a week. It was fun. At 7,541 pieces, the Millenium Falcon will take several days to build. It’s labeled as the largest LEGO set ever. We have yet to build it but will get to it some day. But then I noticed, I have a different Millenium Falcon kit and it only has 1329 pieces. Just as fun to build I’m sure, but there are obvious differences.

Of course, my son talked about learning chess at one time, so I was able to find him a LEGO Pirates chess set. As you can see, it is still in an unopened box. Got it on eBay. I don’t think they even make them anymore. And as I flip through the new catalogue, I see that we have new adventures courtesy of Toy Story 4. Cannot wait till we can build Forky!

Oh to be young again. In this case, I get to explore it with my kids all over again. And yes, the dog is so excited!