Past Historic 9: When plastic is magnetic -- the early days of Lego

Lego can challenge
the appeal of even
electronic games
The ninth and final item in the little bundle of photocopied pieces on IP history which this Kat researched and wrote back in the 1980s is an article which he wrote in 1987 after he left the safe haven of academe for the exciting world of business and commerce. It's a profile of one of the most spectacular successes in the world of toys, a product which has retained its fascination for young and old alike even in the age of electronic leisure products -- the Lego brick. Lego is truly the plastic with magnetic powers for those who fall within its spell.

This article is urgently in need of updating, since Lego's post-1987 history -- particularly its litigation -- has been far more lively than that of its earlier days; its marketing and product development are also worthy of comment and analysis as the company works hard to preserve its market position in an increasingly competitive environment.  This Kat hopes that some kind reader will take up the challenge and review the Lego Empire's activities over the past quarter of a century.

"An Empire Built of Bricks" a Brief Appraisal of Lego" was first published in [1987] 12 European Intellectual Property Review 363 to 366. You can access it here.
Past Historic 9: When plastic is magnetic -- the early days of Lego Past Historic 9: When plastic is magnetic -- the early days of Lego Reviewed by Jeremy on Friday, December 23, 2011 Rating: 5


  1. I remember that the late Brian Reid had a file about the invention of Lego. I don't know what has become of his magnificent IP library. But my recollection is that Page or Kiddicraft sued Lego for infringement of his patent, got into difficulties and settled on the basis of a payment for assigning the patent to Lego. An example of British innovation being ruined by the cost of British litigation?

  2. There is something of an update in Hitting the Bricks: Protecting the LEGO® Brick around the World, Aldo Nicotra, in Landmark Intellectual Property Cases and their Legacy, Christopher Heath and Anselm Kamperman Sanders (eds) Kluwer Law International, 2010


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