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MEGA Brands, Incorporated ( ) (Formerly MEGA Bloks, Incorporated) is a publicly traded children's toy company based in Montrealmarker, Canadamarker. Mega Bloks is the name of their most popular toy, building blocks intended for infants. Mega Brands Inc. distributes a range of toys, puzzles, and craft-based products worldwide but enjoys greatest success in North America, where Mega Bloks is one of the top 10 toy brands.

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. 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 CIO and CEO, respectively.

On June 15 2006, following the acquisition of several brand names not associated with construction brick toys, the company again changed its name, this time from Mega Bloks Inc. to Mega Brands Inc.

LEGO lawsuits

The LEGO Group has filed law suits 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 law 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 Canadamarker upheld Mega Bloks' right to continue selling the product in Canada. A similar decision was reached by the European Union's Court of First Instance on November 12, 2008.

Products

The Mega Bloks toy brand should be distinguished from its parent company Mega Brands Inc., which offers a range of products in addition to toy construction bricks.

The building blocks come in four sizes.
  1. Maxi size, introduced in 1985, intended for very young children. The blocks feature slightly rounded corners and edges and have tall rounded studs.
  2. Mini size, introduced in 1989, designed for toddlers and preschoolers. The bricks likewise have slightly rounded edges and corners. The studs are 5/12 the height of the body of the brick. This size is the same size as LEGO DUPLO.
  3. Micro size, introduced in 1991, has sharp edges and corners, and the studs are 1/6 the height of the body of the brick. This size is the same size as ordinary LEGO bricks.
  4. Nano building system, introduced in 2004, were the smallest. Mega Brands stopped producing Nano bricks in 2005.


The first three scales are intercompatible to varying degrees and may be combined in building. Nano is not directly compatible with any of the other scales.

Most blocks are manufactured in Canada, but some of the more specialized elements are made in Chinamarker.

Themes

On October 12 2004, Mega Bloks released an animated movie, Dragons: Fire & Ice, direct to DVD and video 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: Metal Ages has also aired on the Cartoon Network and been released on video.

Mega Bloks has entered numerous license agreements over the years with such properties as NASCAR, Harley-Davidson, Marvel Comics, Gundam, Bandai, Star Trek, TMNT, and The Walt Disney Company. In February of 2009 MEGA Brands announced a global licensing agreement with Microsoft Games Studios to produce sets based on the forthcoming Halo Wars video game.

Additionally, Mega Bloks has produced sets based on Pokémon, The Chronicles of Narnia, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest, Spider-Man 3 and Dragons, as well as sets in tribute to the Fire Department of New York City (FDNY) and the Space Shuttle Endeavour.

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. Examples of these can be seen in their Mega Bloks Pyrates, Halo Wars, NEO Shifters and the Struxx line.

Media

On October 15 2003 a commercial for Honda debuted in which computer-generated imagery showed a cloud of Mega Bloks bricks raining down to assemble a life-sized version of the Honda Element, an SUV.

References



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