Lego® VS. Lepin: The fake manufacturer from China

🗓 Wed, 17 Jan 2024

After the patent for the production of Lego® bricks expired in 2008, numerous manufacturers seized the opportunity and have been offering Lego alternatives ever since. Our Cobi Vs. Lego comparison has shown that not only the original from Denmark has high-quality and exciting sets of clamp bricks in its range.

The sets from alternative brick manufacturers are characterized, among other things, by the fact that they focus on different themes. Lego itself, for example, does not produce sets that depict war scenes.

In contrast to brick manufacturers who offer an interesting alternative to Lego sets, the former Chinese Lego alternative Lepin has almost copied the original from Denmark.

In this article, we take a closer look at the Chinese brick manufacturer and compare it with the original from Denmark. We also look at the ban on Lepin and the resulting consequences.

Lepin: Chinese Lego® knock off brand

Lepin is not the only Lego® knock off brand from China; there is also the manufacturer Nifeliz, which specializes in the production of Lego Technic alternatives.

Lepin itself is part of Longjun Toys, which has production facilities in the Chinese city of Guangzhou. Below we compare the two brick manufacturers in detail.


Different themes mean a diverse selection of sets. If a building block manufacturer has several theme worlds, it is also interesting for different target groups. The building block manufacturer with the largest selection of sets is the Danish original itself.

Great variety with Lego®

Lego® has a variety of sets in its range that are suitable for both children and adults. Many of the Lego themes are licensed, the best-known examples include:

  • Harry Potter
  • Star Wars
  • Lord of the Rings
  • Marvel
  • Disney
  • DC Comics

Lego also has special themes for children in its range. These include:

  • Duplo
  • City
  • Creator
  • City
  • Friends

A popular licensed set is, for example, the Lego Star Wars 75337 AT-TE Walker, which was released in August 2022. The set contains five minifigures, four of which are exclusive to the AT-TE Walker. The set can be used to recreate movie scenes from the Star Wars saga and is suitable for both play and display.

Lepin: Copies of well-known sets

The set selection at Lepin is very similar to that of Lego. They are often copies of Lego sets, and the names of the theme are similar to those of the original from Denmark. Examples include copies of the following theme worlds:

  • Modulars (Creator Expert)
  • Star Wars
  • Technic

One of the best-known examples is the copy of Lego Creator Expert 10182 Cafe Corner. The original Lego version was released in April 2007 and has not been available in stores since the end of 2009. With a market value of just under $2,400, the original Cafe Corner is now one of the most expensive Lego sets of all time.

Lego® VS Lepin Cafe Corner comparison

Lepin had copied both the design of the packaging and the structure of the set.

Packaging design

As the previous example has already shown, Lepin's packaging design is very similar to that of Lego®. The brand lettering is also similar to the original.

Lego comparison

The similarity of the Lepin sets to Lego has led to legal proceedings, which we will discuss later.

Price & Quality

The quality of the Chinese brick manufacturer Lepin is not comparable to that of Lego®. This is partly due to the fact that Lepin has produced sets illegally and these do not have any of the conventional safety certifications such as the CE seal.

CE certification is a test procedure that confirms that a product complies with the applicable EU regulations and may therefore be marketed within the European Economic Area. It indicates that the product meets the required safety, health and environmental protection standards.

In the past, it was possible to buy Lepin sets indirectly. Although they could not be officially purchased in online stores or retail outlets, it was possible to import them from China.

Lepin sets were significantly cheaper in terms of price, which was partly due to the lack of certification and the poorer quality. The aforementioned replica of the Cafe Corner, for example, was available for just under $70. Which is less than 50% of the original RRP.

The Lego® and Lepin lawsuit

As you have already learned, the Lepin sets are very similar to the Lego sets. These similarities triggered a far-reaching legal dispute that had a significant impact on both the toy industry and the protection of intellectual property.

Legal action against Lepin in China

In China, Lego® took legal action against Longjun Toys, the manufacturer behind Lepin, in 2016. The reason was the strong similarity between the Lepin sets and those from Lego.

The Chinese courts confirmed this similarity and recognized a potential risk of confusion. As a result, they prohibited the use of images and designs typical of Lego in the advertising and marketing of Lepin sets.

However, it is important to note that this court decision only related to the advertising and marketing materials and not to the actual content of the Lepin products, such as the design of the brick sets themselves.

Lego® vs. Lepin outside China

Outside China, particularly in the United Kingdom, the legal dispute between Lego® and Lepin has continued.

In 2017, Lepin attempted to register in the United Kingdom. Lego responded with an opposition based on a substantial likelihood of confusion between the products of the two brands.

The UK Intellectual Property Office, which is responsible for trademark and patent matters, examined the case and ultimately ruled in favor of Lego.

This decision was mainly based on the obvious similarities in the design and packaging of the products, which constituted a clear infringement of Lego's trademark rights.

Consequences of the legal dispute

In 2019, the Chinese authorities confiscated around 630,000 bricks worth 30 million dollars from Lepin in Shenzhen. This was part of China's global policy against product piracy to strengthen trade relations.

Previously, Lepin sets could be purchased in various online stores, but this is no longer possible due to the court ruling.

From the consumer's point of view, the purchase of Lepin sets was not prohibited as long as no commercial resale took place.

Lepin becomes King

Following the disputes and public criticism, Lepin has redesigned its brand and now trades under the name "King". This name change appears to be an attempt to distance itself from the past legal disputes.

Despite the name change, King continues to produce sets similar to Lego®. According to the current status, these cannot be purchased legally either.

Lego® VS. Lepin: Our conclusion

The comparison between Lego® and Lepin clearly shows that both manufacturers have different concepts in the area of building blocks. While Lego convinces with a large variety of theme worlds and high-quality sets with a focus on licenses, Lepin has mainly concentrated on copying popular Lego sets.

The lack of originality and lower quality of Lepin's products, combined with legal problems, make them a less interesting choice for brick fans who value safety and quality.

The legal dispute with Lepin has shown how important intellectual property rights and their protection are in the toy industry.

The conclusion of the comparison is that although Lepin offers a cheaper alternative, Lego, with its brand loyalty, quality and innovative strength, remains the better choice for fans of push-fit bricks.

Lego® VS. Lepin: FAQ

In the following FAQ we answer questions about Lepin VS. Lego® and answer them. If you are interested in other Lego alternatives, our Lego VS. Cada comparison might be interesting for you.

Is the quality of Lego® and Lepin comparable?

No, the quality of Lepin is not comparable to that of Lego®. Lepin produced illegally and without the required safety certifications such as the CE seal, which leads to a lower quality.

Has Lepin copied the design and sets from Lego®?

Yes, Lepin copied the design and sets from Lego®, which led to an extensive legal dispute. The similarity concerns both the packaging and the contents of the sets.

Is Lepin cheaper than Lego®?

Yes, Lepin sets were cheaper than Lego sets, mainly due to the lower quality and lack of certifications.

Are there differences between the Lego® and Lepin themes?

Yes, although Lepin has copied many Lego® themed worlds, Lego offers greater variety and originality in its themed worlds, especially in licensed sets such as Harry Potter or Star Wars.

How did the legal dispute between Lego® and Lepin end?

The legal dispute ended with court decisions in favor of Lego®, with Lepin ultimately renaming its brand "King". This showed the importance of protecting intellectual property in the toy industry.

Want to buy Lego sets cheap? In the Brickfact price comparison you can choose from a list of suppliers and buy Lego sets at the best price. The Brickfact app informs you via push notification as soon as a new Lego deal is available. The Brickfact app is free and available for both iOS and Android.

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