LEGO has been in a long and closely watched battle against a number of bootleggers, including LEPIN, for a handful of years as the Danish company seeks to strengthen its market share in China and other Far Eastern countries. A recent successful court outcome
suggested that Chinese judiciary authorities were beginning to take the protection of LEGO's intellectual property seriously, though sales (and likely production) of the fake sets continued.
Now, according to the Shanghai police, who have been working as part of a task force with other departments in China to crack down on IP infringement, recent raids has led to a successful take-down of LEPIN's finances, organisation and infrastructure and the long arm of the law has taken this as an opportunity to send shockwaves through the Chinese criminal counterfeiting community.
"On April 23, with the cooperation of police in Shantou and Shenzhen, the Shanghai police successfully destroyed the criminal gang suspected of infringing the copyright of the “Lego” brand, arrested four suspects headed by Li, and smashed production and packaging. 3 warehouses, warehouses, etc., more than 10 assembly lines, more than 90 production molds, nearly 200,000 manuals, more than 200,000 packaging boxes, more than 630,000 finished products, more than 200 million yuan."
In their write-up of the investigation
, which evokes imagery of dawn raids, tactical armour and whatever the Mandarin equivalent of "hut, hut, hut, hut, hut" is, the Shanghai police go on to clarify that nine suspects have been detained while the case is investigated.
Given the scale of LEPIN's undertakings
, it is hard to imagine that three factories and 90 moulding machines is the full scope of the counterfeiting operation, and more arrests and seizures are sure to come.