The Lego Company: Publish or Protect

2525 words 11 pages
HBS’s The Lego Group: Publish or Protect?
Innovation and Intellectual Property Project


Lego Group is the worlds’ fourth largest toy manufacturer. Their core product is a construction play design which allows for bricks to interlock together to design pre-designed or unique creations. In terms of volume and precision, the company relays on their core competence of “high volume precision molding” and has developed further strategies and technologies to ensure their growth and success in the area. The company is therefore faced with the difficulty in deciding how to protect this internal process and technology. Should this information be patented, kept as a trade secret, or published? This paper explores
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In order to be patentable, the invention must fulfill certain conditions.
What is the goal for Lego Group?
After launching their Future Molding Program they were faced with the challenge of strong volume increase demands. The company was finding themselves with stock outages before Christmas leaving their customer unsatisfied. Their main goals were to increase overall volume, increase factory floor space along with improving their efforts in sustainability by lowering power consumption minimize waste and provide a better working environment for their employees. The main focus was now to move from quality control to quality assurance which implied greater emphasis on process control.
To fulfill this process control goal they enforced two technical changes that presented themselves as great opportunities yet proposed challenges for Lego. First there is the shift from hydraulic drive molding machines into electric drive machines. One of the benefits being the power consumption reduction which would benefit the sustainability goal. Further analysis was made to find out if the process control was overall more efficient with electric drive molding machines.
Secondly the company’s change toward manufacturing which focused on a specific process called selective laser sintering which was high powered laser which fuses fine ground martensitic