Licensed theme

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A Licensed Theme is a theme that the LEGO Company did not develop internally, but rather consist of models derived from and licensed by a third party (most frequently a movie or television franchise). The license agreements typically allow production of such sets for a limited amount of time and include the right for TLC to include printing or stickers of the third party's trademarks during that time. While most significant themes have been developed by LEGO themselves, licensed themes often borrow a variety of design-elements from the third party. There has been a growing number of licensed themes and sub-themes in the years that followed Star Wars in 1999. (As listed below.)


Other Licensed Sets

Though not consisting of an entire product line, many individual sets have included licensed features over the years. Prior to TLCs use of the fictional Octan, Town sets regularly included gas station and tanker trucks that used licensed trademarks of Shell or Exxon. During the 1990's, small-production promotional sets were seen, including many for Maersk. Train sets have a history of including decals and logos of real-life transit companies. (This should not be confused with AFOL generated logos of companies or publicly operated transit authorities, and therefore seldom, if ever, licensed.)

Downside for Some Fans

Many fans believe that the license fees LEGO must pay reduce the perceived value of sets (when evaluated as parts sources). This is in part because a premium is paid by consumers as they pay somewhere around 20% more (based on price per brick) than for non-licensed sets.

And some fans argue that LEGO may be restricting itself in creativity or in what it can do, by licensing. (For example, it was widely speculated that the license agreement with LucasFilms for Star Wars restricted TLC from producing any potentially competitive Space themes, and indeed there was no LEGO-developed Space theme available for the first many years that Star Wars sets were being produced.)

Upside for Some Fans

Despite the cons associated with license themes, many fans were brought back from their dark ages because of the allure of such themes. Star Wars in particular was able to bring fans of both the movies and LEGO back into the hobby. Attracted by the theme, a returning fan often discovered the greater Adult Fans Of LEGO (AFOL) community.

As well, the development of new elements has been funded by theses themes as designers require new hairpieces or accessories integral to the license which molds can then be used for other themes.

List & Links of Licensed Themes

Notable licensed themes include (but are not limited to):

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