Lego was originally established in 1932 as a Danish toy production company, manufacturing interlocking plastic bricks that traditionally formed miniature castles and cities. It has produced a number of licenced products based on films, television shows and literature such as Star Wars and Harry Potter. 

However, one of the latest sets includes a reproduction of a leather jacket that was custom made by the designer James Concannon. Mr Concannon has filed a claim against Lego for copyright infringement of his jacket design in a US District Court. 

The case is interesting from an Australian perspective because an Australian Court would likely find in favour of Mr Concannon because copyright infringement in Australia requires that there be an original work in which copyright subsists, and that a substantial part of the work has been produced without the consent or the owner. A similar outcome was found in the Australian case of Elwood Clothing v Cotton On, where the Court found that Cotton On had copied the ‘look and feel’ of a t-shirt design by taking the layout and other elements of expression, which meant that they had taken a substantial part of the work. 

Additionally, Australian copyright law does not have the same broad exceptions as the ‘fair use’ exceptions in the US. 

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