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A Question Regarding Custom Bionicle


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13 replies to this topic

#1 Offline Aho

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Posted Jun 25 2014 - 03:27 PM

So, let's say you have made a 3D Bionicle Mask of Conjuring and printed it using Shapeways. Would you legally be able to sell it with a proper disclaimer? If not, is there any way to? Thanks!
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#2 Offline doodleloot

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Posted Jun 25 2014 - 04:40 PM

I don't think Lego would mind you selling these masks in small quantities.


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#3 Offline Collector1

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Posted Jun 25 2014 - 04:52 PM

I've seen people sell custom LEGO Weapons and haven't been foxed. So I would think that if you sold custom, 3D printed masks that you would be fine. 


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#4 Online Watcher on the Walls

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Posted Jun 25 2014 - 06:19 PM

If it is custom, then I think you should be able to sell it. Like it isn't a bootleg or something like that so you aren't really ripping Lego off.
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#5 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jun 25 2014 - 08:39 PM

Yeah, the LEGO Group doesn't really hold copyright on 3D likenesses of masks that they never depicted in 3D. But if you use a LEGO trademark like BIONICLE in the name or description, that MIGHT get you into legal trouble, so if you do, be sure to include a disclaimer that it is not not produced with permission or license from the LEGO Group.
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#6 Offline Aho

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Posted Jun 28 2014 - 11:04 AM

Thanks for the help! One additional question: If I was to make non-organic Inika kanohi, would I not be allowed to call them their proper names in canon? Thanks!
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#7 Offline Sumiki

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Posted Jun 28 2014 - 08:53 PM

LEGO extensively copyrights the stuff that pertains to their various licenses, so making non-organic Inika masks with the same names as the actual masks might count as trying to pass off a fan-made product as the real thing. Most of the fan-created sets and molds also have that disclaimer that Aanchir mentioned.
 
As long as you include the disclaimer, you should be good to go.


Edited by Sumiki, Jun 28 2014 - 08:53 PM.

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#8 Offline Aanchir

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Posted Jun 29 2014 - 12:49 PM

Something to keep in mind also is that if the LEGO Group does have a problem with something you're doing, the worst you'll probably face is a cease-and-desist letter so you can no longer sell that product through Shapeways. It's not as though The LEGO Group is going to sue you. They are too big a company and too careful about their relationship with fans to do anything that petty. So the worst-case scenario is you design custom masks, you try to sell them through Shapeways, and you're told to stop selling them.
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#9 Offline Makuta of Metru Nui

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Posted Jul 25 2014 - 06:59 AM

From the experiences I've seen with shapeways and selling third party stuff, generally you'd want to avoid words copyrighted by LEGO. 

 

Let's take the Inika masks as an example, you could make a non-organic version of the Calix and the key words to avoid using would be Calix, BIONICLE, LEGO, Inika, etc.

 

 

Most Shapeways sellers will come up with their own name for something, even though the people buying it would know it is in fact referencing something else


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#10 Offline Five O'Clock P~M

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 02:05 PM

From the experiences I've seen with shapeways and selling third party stuff, generally you'd want to avoid words copyrighted by LEGO. 
 
Let's take the Inika masks as an example, you could make a non-organic version of the Calix and the key words to avoid using would be Calix, BIONICLE, LEGO, Inika, etc.
 
 
Most Shapeways sellers will come up with their own name for something, even though the people buying it would know it is in fact referencing something else

"Custom Great Mask of Fate"

Actually, come to think of it, Kanohi is the Māori word for "face," so you could include that without fear of being shut down.

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#11 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 02:54 PM

 

From the experiences I've seen with shapeways and selling third party stuff, generally you'd want to avoid words copyrighted by LEGO. 
 
Let's take the Inika masks as an example, you could make a non-organic version of the Calix and the key words to avoid using would be Calix, BIONICLE, LEGO, Inika, etc.
 
 
Most Shapeways sellers will come up with their own name for something, even though the people buying it would know it is in fact referencing something else

"Custom Great Mask of Fate"

Actually, come to think of it, Kanohi is the Māori word for "face," so you could include that without fear of being shut down.

 

I don't think you'd want to risk it. I don't know for sure whether Lego has the trademark for Kanohi but there is nothing preventing them from doing so. Lego can trademark the word "Kanohi" for building toys (which a Lego-compatible mask would qualify as) just as easily as Hasbro can trademark words like "Bumblebee" or "Crosshairs" for action figures. Just because a word has a real-world meaning does not mean that it can't be trademarked for a specific application.


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#12 Offline Five O'Clock P~M

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 03:04 PM

I don't think you'd want to risk it. I don't know for sure whether Lego has the trademark for Kanohi but there is nothing preventing them from doing so. Lego can trademark the word "Kanohi" for building toys (which a Lego-compatible mask would qualify as) just as easily as Hasbro can trademark words like "Bumblebee" or "Crosshairs" for action figures. Just because a word has a real-world meaning does not mean that it can't be trademarked for a specific application.

Sure, but the English-speaking people at large never sued Hasbro for using the word "Bumblebee" as a trademark.

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#13 Offline Lyichir

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 06:55 PM

 

I don't think you'd want to risk it. I don't know for sure whether Lego has the trademark for Kanohi but there is nothing preventing them from doing so. Lego can trademark the word "Kanohi" for building toys (which a Lego-compatible mask would qualify as) just as easily as Hasbro can trademark words like "Bumblebee" or "Crosshairs" for action figures. Just because a word has a real-world meaning does not mean that it can't be trademarked for a specific application.

Sure, but the English-speaking people at large never sued Hasbro for using the word "Bumblebee" as a trademark.

 

Just like the Maori people never sued Lego over the use of the word "Kanohi". All of the names which were problematic (mostly those with religious connotations) were changed. Ones that weren't (like Kanohi) are presumably just as trademarkable as they ever were.


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#14 Offline Five O'Clock P~M

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Posted Jul 28 2014 - 09:36 PM

Just like the Maori people never sued Lego over the use of the word "Kanohi". All of the names which were problematic (mostly those with religious connotations) were changed. Ones that weren't (like Kanohi) are presumably just as trademarkable as they ever were.

Okay... I guess either way you're better safe than sorry.

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