Lego loses trademark challenge at top EU court

BRUSSELS, Sept 14 Tue Sep 14, 2010 5:39am EDT

BRUSSELS, Sept 14 (Reuters) - Danish toymaker Lego failed on Tuesday to quash an EU agency's decision revoking trademark rights for its colourful snap-together plastic building blocks, after a top European court dismissed its appeal. The Luxembourg-based European Union Court of Justice (ECJ) upheld a 2008 ruling by the General Court, which dismissed Lego's challenge to the decision by trademark agency OHIM. "The Lego brick is not registrable as a Community trade mark. It is a sign consisting exclusively of the shape of goods necessary to obtain a technical result," the ECJ said.

"Undertakings may not use trade mark law in order to perpetuate, indefinitely, exclusive rights relating to technical solutions," it said.

Privately owned Lego, whose name originates from the Danish words for "play well", is Europe's biggest toy manufacturer and competes with Mattel (MAT.O) and Hasbro HAS.N.

Lego had argued that the bricks were eligible for trademark rights as the studs on the top of the bricks made them highly distinctive.

OHIM had repealed an earlier decision to grant trademark rights for Lego bricks after objections from Canadian toymaker Mega Brands Inc MB.TO.

(Reporting by Foo Yun Chee; editing by Charlie Dunmore)

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