Mega Bloks, Incorporated

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Mega Bloks, Incorporated is a publicly traded children's toy company based in Montreal, Canada and the name of their most popular toy. Mega Bloks, the toys, are plastic building blocks very similar to the more famous ones produced by the Danish company LEGO. Mega Bloks Inc. distributes toys worldwide but are most popular in North America. They claim to be one of the top 10 toy brands in North America.

Contents

History

In 1967, Victor Bertrand and his wife Rita founded the company as Ritvik Toys, Inc. (a portmanteau word based on a combination of Rita and Victor). Ritvik was amalgamated with Ritvik Holdings Inc. on June 30 , 1998. [1] On March 19, 2002, the name was changed from Ritvik Holdings Inc. to Mega Bloks Inc. Currently, the founders' sons Vic Bertrand Jr. and Marc Bertrand are COO and CEO, respectively.

The LEGO Group has filed suit against Mega Bloks Inc. in courts around the world on the grounds that Mega Bloks' use of the "studs and tubes" interlocking brick system is a violation of trademarks held by LEGO. Generally such suits have been unsuccessful, chiefly because the functional design of the basic brick is considered a matter of patent rather than trademark law, and all relevant LEGO patents have expired. In one of the most recent decisions, on November 17, 2005, the Supreme Court of Canada upheld Mega Bloks' right to continue selling the product in Canada [2].

Products

The company's building blocks come in four sizes.

  1. Maxi size, introduced in 1985, is larger than DUPLO but smaller than Primo.
  2. Mini size, introduced in 1989, is the same size as DUPLO but has slightly taller studs.
  3. Micro size, introduced in 1991, is the same size as ordinary Lego bricks.
  4. Nano size, introduced in 2004, is the smallest.

Most blocks are manufactured in Canada, but some more specialized elements are made in China.

The overall quality of Mega Bloks elements has improved markedly since the first sets were released. Certain early elements suffered from inconsistent clutch power and were susceptible to stress fracture, but more recently these problems have been greatly reduced. This is due to tighter molding tolerances and improvements in the quality of the ABS (acrylonitrile butadiene styrene) of which Mega Bloks elements are composed.

October 15, 2003 was the first airing of a commercial for Honda. The commercial featured computer-generated imagery of a cloud of countless Mega Bloks bricks raining down to assemble a life-sized version of the Element SUV.

On October 12, 2004, Mega Bloks released an animated movie, Dragons: Fire & Ice, direct to DVD and VHS and which subsequently aired on the Cartoon Network. Fire & Ice was based on Mega Bloks' successful "Dragons" product line, featuring detailed warriors, castles, and, of course, dragons, in Micro-scale. A sequel, entitled Dragons II: The Metal Ages has also aired on Cartoon Network, and released on video.

Mega Bloks has entered numerous license agreements over the years with such properties as NASCAR, Harley-Davidson, Marvel Comics, Bandai, Star Trek, and The Walt Disney Company. Additionally, Mega Bloks has produced sets based on Pokémon and plans future releases based on the 2005 film version of The Chronicles of Narnia and the 2006 film Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest.

Many Micro-scale Mega Bloks sets include small action figures whose design has evolved substantially over time. Early versions had little articulation and compared poorly with figures offered in competing brick-based construction toys. Mega Bloks figures were constructed from a small number of standard, interchangeable components like legs, arms, and torsos, with minimal printing on a basically spherical head to yield a rudimentary face. More recently, Mega Bloks figures have attained a much greater level of detail and articulation, with high-quality sculpts of head and body elements alike, in many cases with unique designs to represent a particular character.

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References

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