“LEGO Group, the company that my brother and I love, is trying to take this site away from us…”
By: DEAN R. KARAU
Brothers Gavin (age 15) and Grayson (age 11) run a website for the fun of being able to show the world their Lego® creations.
Explaining a little about themselves, Gavin says
I attend Middle College for high school. Middle College is a program where you can enroll in a state college to attend high school. Less than 40 kids are accepted each year at each college with hundreds being turned away. We have to do a project that we start on in 10th grade and work on through 12th grade that is part of our graduation requirements. My brother Grayson, who is in 5th grade, is doing this site with me. I am not affiliated with LEGO in any way nor is this site. My brother and I simply love their products and want to feature the things we’ve built and show how to build some of the things that we’ve built.
They even post a disclaimer on their site, located at http://legoworkshop.com:
We are NOT affiliated in any way with LEGO. All LEGO marks are trademarks of the LEGO Group.
That didn’t stop LEGO Juris A/S, owner of the Lego brand, from trying wrest the boys’ site away from them. LEGO, which had filed hundreds of Uniform Dispute Resolution Policy (UDRP) cases to date, filed a complaint seeking the domain name. (The UDRP is the dispute resolution mechanism which domain name registrars and their registrants agree to use in domain name disputes.)
In response, the boys’ website plead their case:
I just found out that LEGO Group, the company that my brother and I love, is trying to take this site away from us. So by saving it I Have had to rush and get pictures of the model so I had built so far and get the website running. Please contact Sandra Looft who represents LEGO Group at email@example.com and ask them to stop bullying two kids who are merely trying to promote their product. It is clear that our site is not owned or supported by LEGO Group which by my understanding means we are not infringing on their trademark.
But that’s not all. Although LEGO hadn’t lost a single case, the boys then opposed LEGO in the UDRP proceeding – and won!
In a decision last month, a UDRP arbitrator found against LEGO. The arbitrator found that the boys’ site was a genuine noncommercial fan site and, therefore, LEGOS failed to establish two key elements of its case, that the boys did not have rights or legitimate interests in the domain and that they registered the domain in bad faith.
Is LEGO Juris A/S a trademark bully?1 You can decide for yourself. But Gavin and Grayson have scored points in my book in standing up for something they believed in.
1 To read more about trademark bullies, see Social Shaming - The Latest Response to Cease and Desist Letters, in Trademark Topics™, November 2011, and Cease & Desist Letter from an 800 Pound “Monster” Results in Action by Congress, Trademark Topics™, February 2010.