“Legos lied to me as a kid.”

Declares the chief executive of Best-Lock, a company Lego has recently sued for alleged intellectual property violations. 

There’s nothing that unusual about the case itself.  Best-Lock’s toys, specifically the little brick people, look a lot like the famous yellow guys made by Lego.  (Check out Best-Lock’s website.) Lego sues Best-Lock because they don’t like that. Even for a rising 1L, this is pretty straightforward.

However, this is still notable for two reasons:

(1) I like Legos. And the law. I was a complete Lego nut as a kid, even building the city of Chicago at the age of seven. (However, there’s no proof. Thanks for not taking a single picture, everyone!) Kudos to the two friends who sent me this article in the past week, knowing that I’d find this combination simply too good to be true.

(2)  It’s apparently FAR more personal for the Best-Lock executive, though. He has spent his entire career creating something like Legos because…well…he’s upset that Lego wasn’t the first to create something like Legos.  (“They never invented a thing.”)  Specifically, it appears that he has channeled his rage into the creation of the little brick people: “I did the figures because I wanted to piss them off.” Is it just me, or does mimicking an alleged mimicker seem like an awfully strange vendetta?

Looking past the absurdity, this article is reminding me of something important – that law is so very personal. As I sit at my desk and page through my brand new books, the sentences I’m perusing seem incredibly impersonal. Full of long, florid legalese, the new language I’m trying to wrap my head around seems so far removed from how we talk, think, or feel about most issues that are important to us, such as our innermost motivations for our career choices.  However, cases like this serve as reminders that there is humanity (however weird or jaded the emotional context may be) even within the confines of something as arguably droll as a standard intellectual property case. I find that comforting.

And as far as the Best-Lock executive, it does seem that the odds are stacked against him, no? (Decide for yourself if the pun was intended.)


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