A couple of days ago, Lepin released some preview images of their latest ‘modular’ set which bears a striking resemblance to Wooootles’s Barnes and Noble Book Store LEGO Ideas submission way back in 2013.
For those who do not know yet, Lepin is a China clone brick company that specialises in blatantly copying both the old and new LEGO designs and producing the sets at a fraction of the cost.
LEGO has already filed a civil lawsuit against Lepin but any solid progress could take years to achieve.
Right now, (and I cannot say that I’m surprised) Lepin has turned their attention to the MOC (My Own Creation) designs of the global AFOL community.
Most AFOLs would have encountered Wooootles’s Barnes and Noble Book Store MOC on one website or another and you can clearly see that it is almost the exact same build as one previewed by Lepin.
On further inspection, those same preview pictures have also shown that they are not just copying one MOC design but possibly two others as well which you can see below:
I managed to catch up with Wooootles on the issue of Lepin using his design without permission:
“I did not and will not deal with any company to produce any of my creations, especially not with clone bricks. No one has asked me permissions about using this design. I am a LEGO fan first and foremost so when this MOC was featured on LEGO Ideas it was only because I wanted to see how far it would get.
I did share the LDD .lxf file before, and unfortunately I can no longer control who gets to that file. I know TLG has recently been looking at Lepin recently, so I would urge them to continue to legally pursue the end of these knock-off clone brands.
This is the one MOC that I did want to share with other fans, and I’m glad that the LEGO AFOL community (Flickr, Brickset, Eurobricks) were very quick to bring this news to my attention and generally have been very supportive of me. However, I do feel like there’s been a breach of trust over the internet new to the LEGO fans on the net and a reminder that sharing things like LDD files could end up in the hands of knock-off brands.”
Ripping off LEGO is one thing but to pilfer a design that a fellow AFOL has taken the time and effort to create AND share to the community without any repatriation, is seriously not cool.
This is a definite shift in the LEGO and AFOL landscape with the appearance of these clone brick companies and I honestly do hope that the community will keep on building and sharing their MOCs but do it wisely.