(Image by John Baichtal)
An EU court rules that Lego rival Mega Brands can keep selling knockoff bricks, according to the Associated Press.
Lego has been around forever — this year it celebrated the 50th anniversary of the classic system brick. But this great accomplishment is also a weakness, as all its patents have expired.
So cheeseball rivals like Mega are allowed to make inferior bricks that fit into the Lego system. Look at the picture above. The brick on the left is a Duplo made by Lego. The brick on the right is a knockoff made by Mega. The quality difference is visible even in a photo. The Duplo is bright and clean; the Mega-Blok is cheap and faded and obviously uses thinner plastic. The two types of bricks interlock, because Mega wants to leech business off of Lego.
This year, if you’re in the market for a building toy, stay away from Mega. There are a lot of systems out there that have great and original ideas of their own — K’nex, Zoob, Lego, and others — that deserve your business.
(Be aware that Mega Brands also sells Magnetix, the magnetic toy recalled after 1,500 incidents were reported of the magnets falling out. One toddler died and 26 had to undergo emergency surgery after the magnets were swallowed.)