As you start to get comfortable within the LEGO hobby sooner or later you will likely face the startling realization that you have been referring to your favorite brand all wrong. The jolt usually gets delivered by someone who has been in the hobby longer then you, and who will look at you horrified when you proudly talk about your “legos”. To recover from the embarrassment of being detected and branded as a noob, you eagerly look for the opportunity to correct others. Depending on how it is delivered this can help to protect the brand, or help you being branded as a radical LEGO nut, fanatic, or… as in this funny comic-strip by FBTB.net, even worse…
So why does it matter LEGO, Lego, lego, legos? The LEGO Group explains it the following way: “LEGO is a brand name that is very special to all of us in the LEGO Group Companies. We would sincerely appreciate your help in keeping it special by referring to our bricks as “LEGO Bricks or Toys and not just “LEGOS”. By doing so, you will be helping to protect and preserve a brand name that stands for quality the world over.” They also give some guidelines in their Company Profile (last page):
- The LEGO brand name should always be written in capital letters
- LEGO must never be used as a generic term or in the plural or as a
possessive pronoun, e.g. “LEGO’s”.
- When the LEGO brand name is used as part of a noun, it must never
appear on its own. It should always be accompanied by a noun. For example, LEGO set, LEGO products, LEGO Group, LEGO play materials,
LEGO bricks, LEGO universe, etc.
- The first time the LEGO brand name appears it must be accompanied
by the Registered symbol ®.
One of the issues is when people refer to all building toys as “legos”, which dilutes the LEGO brand name by lumping it together with lesser quality brands. You may have run into the side-effect of this yourself when responding to a local listing that advertises “huge lot of legos for sale”, only to find a big box of junky toys. Yeah, very disappointing…
There is another matter also, something which is more technical, but also more important for the long-term protection of the brand. To protect their brand name, companies have to show that they have been making reasonable effort to protect their trademarks. If they fail to do so their trademark could be permanently revoked – which basically means they would lose their identity – certain death for a company.
It may be too much to refer to our beloved toy as LEGO Bricks or LEGO Toys in everyday speech and risking sounding like the grammar-police, but we can at least try to stay away from using the plural “legos”. In writing, capitalizing LEGO doesn’t take much longer and it actually looks nicer and more professional. If you regularly blog about LEGO or share your own LEGO creations online, there are some helpful guidelines for using the LEGO name, trademark, images, etc. that you can check out here: LEGO Fair Play Guidelines & Policies.
So what do you think? What is your experience with using the LEGO brand name? Do you hear people referring to LEGO as “legos”? Does it bother you? Do you correct them? And what do you think of the policies and guidelines given by The LEGO Group? Are they easy to understand and follow? Feel free to share and discuss in the comment section below!
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