EU rejects toy maker’s appeal to protect ’distinctive’ brick design

Lego has lost its fight to gain legal protection for its eight-studded brick design under European trademark law.

The European Court of Justice has told the Danish toy manufacturer it cannot register the functional shape of a brick as a trademark.

Lego was trying to overturn a 2004 ruling that cancelled its trademark for a red toy building brick, but the court has upheld that decision and the company cannot appeal further.

It had argued that the distinctive studding on top of the bricks made them eligible for trademark rights, in addition to patent protection. The company’s patents on the bricks have long expired.

Mega Brands, maker of Mega Briks, originally challenged Lego’s trademark registration, claiming that Lego was trying to confer a “potentially everlasting monopoly” on a useful product configuration.

The court agreed, saying: “Technical solutions are capable of protection only for a limited period, so that subsequently they may be freely used by all economic operators.”