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Has Lego’s $500k Spent on URDP Been a Waste?

It’s hard to see rhyme or reason in Lego’s heavy use of UDRP.

Lego is a prolific filer of UDRP cases. I count 309 to date, with 100 already in the second half of 2011. Recently all of the cases have been filed with the assistance of Melbourne IT Digital Brand Services.

At roughly $1,500 a pop not including legal fees (and assuming WIPO isn’t cutting them a deal) that comes out to nearly a half million dollars spent on UDRP.

Lego sends cease and desist letters to a lot of site owners before filing UDRPs, so it’s going after a much larger base of domains. That keeps the average cost per domain recovered much lower.

But does it make sense?

These aren’t domains like Legoo.com that the company is going after. It seems to be any random domain that includes the trademark: lego-creative-block.com, lego-mindstorms-nxt.net, legotechnic8110.com.

I first thought that Lego was using UDRP only to take down sites that were selling Lego items. That’s often times the case. But in its first ever loss the domain was just registered this year and had only a registrar holding page on it when Lego filed its UDRP.

Spending $1,500+ to try to get LegoWorkshop.com which was just registered earlier this year?

Seems a bit odd to me.

Perhaps the news on sites like this and others about Lego’s prolific filings sends a warning to cybersquatters. But I’m not sure how effective it is. The company might be better off filing a couple high profile lawsuits instead.

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  1. Zak Muscovitch says

    Including legal fees, their UDRP-spend could easily be $1.5 million or more….But this is a drop in the bucket for them, if that, considering the privately held Lego company from Denmark is reported to have had earnings of $1.2 billion in 1999 and its owner’s net worth is pegged at $6.5 billion (Forbes).

    Perhaps it is arguable that a brand like LEGO is susceptible to falling into the public domain and becoming a generic word, but I think they can afford to continue to go after every single last father and son Lego-enthusiast team with a website, in the world.

    Unsuccessful lawsuits have never stopped the company, such as when it went around the world suing Mega Bloks. Lego is arguably the best client a lawyer could ever have.

    Thanks for posting this interesting observation, Andrew.

  2. Nat Cohen says

    Nice post Andrew. I’ve been wondering the same thing myself.

    Some of the domains that they are going after are so ridiculous, such as:


    that I wonder if someone is having fun at Lego’s expense.

    If you are a Lego competitor you could be registering thousands of these names at $10 a pop, and Lego would be brainlessly spending $1,500+ apiece to win them through UDRPs instead of spending that money on advertising or produce development.

    You have to wonder at the legal advice they are receiving that it is worth their while to go after these domains.

    It’s certainly making plenty of money for Melbourne IT and for WIPO. What Lego gets out of it, I can’t tell.

  3. Mike Maddaloni - @thehotiron says

    Great post, as I too have been thinking about this, namely in comparison to another Scandinavian company that is a global brand – Nokia – and how different their approach is to domain names.

    I don’t recall seeing a Nokia UDRP case being filed in recent memory. Plus, there are many bloggers who use the name in their sites, such as NokiaInnovation.com – a great blog that promotes Nokia’s brand, but is not a schill for them in any way, as they do critique them as well as praise them.

    If I had nothing else better to do, I would register legoudrpwatch.org and critique their cases, and wait for the cease and desist letter to come in!


  4. John says

    It’s the damn attorneys. Instead of trying to save their client’s money, they went ahead and drum up the case so they could create more billings. Now I know there will be lots of lawyers in hell.

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