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No more active licenses on LEGO Ideas

The LEGO Ideas team recently released some interesting news that will affect many current LEGO Ideas submissions, and also establish new guidelines for the future. Beginning last year, LEGO started to tighten up the LEGO Ideas platform with a series of updated policies to assure that the site is less cluttered and more focused on projects that actually have a chance of becoming official LEGO sets. Below are details of the announcement. 🙂

Since we started accepting your ideas for new LEGO sets, we’ve kept our Guidelines open until we learn something is simply not practical. Early on, we learned to restrict projects that proposed an entire play-theme, new LEGO elements, and ideas that weren’t brick-based LEGO sets. Along the way, we’ve gradually adjusted the scope of projects we accept as we learn what is realistically possible. We will continue to do so as we evolve the LEGO Ideas experience. Over the years, we have heard from many of you who have wondered if we would ever approve a project based on an existing license like Star Wars or Marvel Super Heroes. Our Guidelines have maintained that these types of concepts are more likely to overlap our existing pipeline, and they have a smaller chance of passing our review because we are actively developing those product lines.

Today we’ve updated our Guidelines and House Rules to clarify the types of models we will accept as LEGO Ideas projects. The main focus of this update is that we will no longer allow projects that are based on currently active licenses in our product portfolio, like Star Wars, Marvel Super Heroes, Ferrari, Mercedes-Benz, and so on. We’ve updated our Guidelines about licensed properties to reflect this, and added a list of restricted licensed properties to the License Conflicts and Resolutions page in the Knowledge Base. If we retire a third-party license and it didn’t enter the LEGO portfolio via LEGO Ideas we’ll remove it from our list, and you’ll then be welcome to submit projects based on it.

In some cases, when we introduce new Guidelines we’ve archived affected projects. In this case, we’ve found many Ideas projects reference active third-party IP. Quite a few of these projects include sub-brands, spin-offs, and extended universes from our licenses. In order to archive these projects, we would first need to review and decide on each one. Instead, we will evaluate and apply the Guideline to new project submissions going forward. Projects currently being reviewed, as well as active projects that reach 10,000 supporters in the future, will still be evaluated as part of the LEGO Review. Just like before, these projects would have a slimmer chance of passing the LEGO Ideas review, as they overlap with existing licenses in the LEGO product portfolio.

We’ve also made minor updates to our Terms of Service: Section III.(ii.) Commercialization and Compensation: added payment schedule to second paragraph. Section V. Rules of Conduct: replaced the first sentence, which was previously omitted in error. Updated document version number at top, and trademark year at bottom. Thanks again for participating here on LEGO Ideas. It’s an honor that you want to contribute toward future LEGO products that inspire and develop the builders of tomorrow. We hope this update clarifies the types of product ideas we’re able to consider and focuses your efforts toward new and different concepts for potential LEGO products.

So, as you can see, LEGO Ideas will no longer accept new submissions based on third-party licenses that are active in the LEGO Group’s portfolio. However, they will allow current projects that don’t meet the new guidelines run through the normal LEGO Ideas process, instead of archiving them early (although they now have even less of a chance of being selected). And of course, licenses that they don’t currently have, and don’t conflict with the interest of a third party (i.e. Mega Contrux, Kre-O, etc.) may also be considered.

If you are not sure which licenses LEGO considers active, you can check the Online LEGO Shop for a list of current themes. And they are also listed at the LEGO Ideas License Conflicts and Resolutions page, which will be updated on a regular basis. Below I have included the current list for your convenience.

ACTIVE LICENSES IN ENTERTAINMENT: Star Wars, Marvel Super Heroes, DC Super Heroes & Super Hero Girls, The LEGO Batman Movie, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, The LEGO Movie, Disney characters (Mickey Mouse, Minnie, Donald Duck, Daisy Duck, Goofy & Tinker Bell), Moana, Rapunzel, Aladdin, Cars, Whisker Haven Tales with the Palace Pets, Angry Birds, Pirates of the Caribbean, Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Miles From Tomorrowland, Doc McStuffins, Sofia the First, The Simpsons, Knight Rider, Mission Impossible, Midway Arcade, Lord of the Rings, Gremlins, A-Team, Harry Potter, Fantastic Beasts, Sonic the Hedgehog, Portal 2, E.T., and The Wizard of Oz.

ACTIVE LICENSES IN AUTOMOTIVE BRANDS: Volkswagen, Ferrari, MINI, Porsche, BMW, CLAAS, Volvo, Mercedes, Ford, Audi, Bugatti, Chevrolet, and McLaren.

ACTIVE LICENSES IN ARCHITECTURE: Stand alone buildings (Big Ben, London Tower Bridge, US Capitol Building, Louvre, Buckingham Palace, Burj Khalifa, Eiffel Tower & Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum). Buildings contained in the skylines (London, Sydney, Chicago, Venice, Berlin, and New York).

RESTRICTED IP FROM LEGO IDEAS: Shinkai 6500, Hayabusa, Minecraft, Back to the Future, Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity Rover, Ghostbusters, The Big Bang Theory, WALL-E, Doctor Who, The Beatles, Caterham, Adventure Time, Apollo program, and Women of NASA concept.

Overall, the new guidelines have been enthusiastically received by the LEGO fan community, as it will make the LEGO Ideas site a lot less cluttered with projects that had very little chance of ever becoming official LEGO sets. Cutting out submissions that are from popular licenses means that truly original ideas will have a chance to shine. However, I also expect that with the restrictions on licensed project, the LEGO Ideas website will get less traffic and activity. So, if you would like to continue supporting LEGO’s revolutionary crowd-sourcing initiative, please visit the site regularly and support the projects that you would like to see becoming official LEGO sets. And you can also purchase the currently available fan-submitted models under the LEGO Ideas section of the Online LEGO Shop.

What do you think? How do you like the updated policies of the LEGO Ideas platform? And how do you think it will effect the LEGO fan community and LEGO Ideas in general? Feel free to share your thoughts and discuss in the comment section below! 😉

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{ 13 comments… add one }
  • jabber-baby-wocky April 19, 2017, 1:09 PM

    This should have clean up the site really well. We all knew already licensed projects are never going to get approved, but they still took up space in the reviews. Good on the Ideas team to implement this!

    • DavidH April 19, 2017, 1:18 PM

      Very true. I was so getting tired of all those Star Wars and Super Heroes submissions that were just cluttering the site. Good riddance.

    • admin April 19, 2017, 3:01 PM

      Yeah, it was pretty much an open secret that none of those licensed projects will ever get approved. I’m not even sure why people bothered with posting them. Of course they always got a lot of votes, but if LEGO already has the license, they already have most of those ideas in the pipeline anyway. It was just a cheap way to get votes in my opinion. Anyway, it’s over, so that’s a good thing. 😀

  • Laurie April 19, 2017, 2:48 PM

    Thank Goodness, I can’t stand Star Wars, NOOO!!! The Flintstones Lego set was way too AWESOME. Sniffles. Lego STITCH was so cool with moving body parts. My Autistic Daughter was hoping we could get that set when it came out. Maybe the designers who made those set would share their building designs with the rest of us. OH PLEASES, BIG LARGE PUPPY DOG EVES, POUTY POUT FACE. PLEASE LEGO IDEA DESIGNERS.

    • admin April 19, 2017, 2:58 PM

      Laurie, some of the designers do share instructions, and even if they don’t do it automatically, you can always ask. I also like the Flintstones project. 🙂

  • TomTom April 19, 2017, 3:32 PM

    Good for them! This has been long overdue! There were some licensed ideas that I liked, but I knew that they will never be chosen. Still, it’s interesting that rather than retiring all the current licensed submissions, they are willing to let them run their course. Does this mean that there is a chance for these to be chosen?

    • admin April 19, 2017, 4:37 PM

      I’m not sure. I kind of got the impression that they may have done that so as not to all of a sudden retire so many licensed projects. If they do that the site would be almost empty. LOL. This way they can retire them in a more gradual way and at the same time not accept new projects from an active license. 🙄

  • Diamond655 April 19, 2017, 6:51 PM

    Tbh, most of the ones from themes we already have don’t appeal to me, really, anyway. Sole exception is for ones that don’t have full sets, just LEGO Dimensions stuff – after all, how likely does it really seem that they’ll do anything else with, say, Portal, or Sonic?

    • admin April 20, 2017, 10:23 AM

      Yeah, LEGO Dimensions was a great way to get at least the main characters from licenses that doesn’t warrant larger sets.

  • inspiringbrick April 20, 2017, 1:56 PM

    Could you please write an article on my Lego Piper project on Lego Ideas? It is based off of the the short film that won the Academy Award for Best Short Film (Animated). Here is a link to the page: https://ideas.lego.com/projects/173351

    • admin April 20, 2017, 2:20 PM

      I could add it to the list when we do the next round-up. I really like that short film. 😀

  • ExcelsiorUK May 12, 2017, 11:07 AM

    I managed to resolve this issue very quickly, but my first project was rejected when they thought it was a licensing clash. I suspect if people aren’t aware of the rules there’re going to be a lot of disappointed people wondering why they didn’t make it past the first hurdle, who might not keep at it like I did as I understood the problem and could resolve it. It may not help that there are clearly popular sets on there that wouldn’t now be accepted, but I can totally understand this approach going forwards. Nostalgic material may well come to the fore!

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