The famous Lego brick cannot be registered as a trademark ruled the European Court of Justice. The decision comes 14 years after Lego had registered the mark.

The reason for the decision is similar to that which prevents certain designs being registered. That is the design (or in this instance, the sign) consists exclusively of the shape of the product which is necessary to acquire the technical result. The usual example is of a nut and bolt. With Lego, it is the two rows of studs on the brick that enable it to be attached to another piece.

What will be of concern to registered trademark owners is that the decision came so long after Lego had successfully registered the brick as a community trademark.