The LEGO Group: Publish or Protect?
To maximize their effectiveness, color cases should be printed in color. Senior managers at the LEGO Group are faced with a quandary: Should they patent inventions coming out of their manufacturing process development work, should they keep them as trade secrets, or should they publish them so that they would go into the public domain and nobody else could patent them? They wish to preserve their freedom to practice, but are very concerned about competitors' ability to benefit from LEGO Group's R&D investments, or alternately interfere with its freedom to operate. The case frames important intellectual property issues around appropriability and strategy.