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Yes, let’s talk about LEGO. But not about LEGOS or legos. Why not? Because according to the LEGO Group, those are not the proper terms to describe LEGO bricks.
The more time you spend collecting LEGO bricks or LEGO sets, the more you’re likely to want to talk about them. By and large, people talk about brands in any way they want. LEGO vs legos or Tweets vs Twitters etc., and nobody really minds because it’s just a conversation and chances are the other person talks about things in the same way. So communication happens.
Every group of fans creates it’s own language or dialect, and LEGO fans are no different.
But let’s be clear here. Nobody from LEGO Group or a shadowy government organization with black helicopters is going to come down on you if you tell your kids to leave your “legos” alone. It’s ok. What the company cares about, mostly, is how their brand is represented to the public via print, visual and web-based media, like this website. But they want you, or us really, to get in the habit of using it correctly.
Here’s what the LEGO Group has to say about the use of the word “LEGO” – it should always be used as an adjective, not as a noun. If you’ve forgotten your grammar lessons, this means it should describe something else, not “be” a thing. Examples include “I built a model of a building from my LEGO bricks” is correct, while “I built a car from LEGOs” is not correct. The word LEGO should also never have a possessive “s”, plural “s” or hyphen, so things like LEGO’s design or LEGO-bricks are not allowed.
The other important consideration is that only building bricks created by the LEGO Group are LEGO Bricks. Other products like MegaBloks etc, shouldn’t be lumped into a category with LEGO Bricks. Imagine going to buy an awesome sounding “LEGO set” only to find another brand on it. Seriously disappointing.
You may have noticed that the word LEGO is used in all-caps throughout this article and this whole site. It’s another guideline that LEGO Group has – the word should appear in all-caps in all cases.
LEGO Group’s guidelines cover all of their trademarked and copyrighted materials which includes the images on their website, instruction manuals, advertising, product packaging and more. So why do you see news/review sites (Like this one) using full “copyrighted” images and not getting shut down? Because the laws allow for “Fair use” and “good faith” use. If I post a picture of a LEGO set along with a review, that’s fair use. I’m not infringing on their brand or copyright since I’m providing related information. It can be more complicated than that, but I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t go into it.
To learn more about the proper use of LEGO trademarks, especially if you’re blogging, creating videos or other creatives, check out the LEGO Fair Play Guidelines & Policies.