MEGA Brands, Incorporated (Formerly MEGA Bloks, Incorporated) is a publicly traded children's toy company based in Montreal, Canada. Mega Bloks is the name of their most popular toy, plastic building blocks. 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.
, Victor Bertrand and his wife Rita founded the company as Ritvik Toys, Inc. (a portmanteau
word based on a combination of Rit
a and Vic
tor). Ritvik was amalgamated with Ritvik Holdings Inc. on June 30 1998
. On March 19
, the name was changed from Ritvik Holdings Inc. to Mega Bloks Inc. Currently, the founders' sons Vic Bertrand Jr. and Marc Bertrand are COO
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.
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.
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.
- Maxi size, introduced in 1985, intended for very young children. The blocks feature slightly rounded corners and edges and have tall rounded studs.
- 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 Duplo.
- 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.
- Nano building system, introduced in 2004, is the smallest.
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 China.
On October 12
2004, Mega Bloks released an animated movie, Dragons: Fire & Ice
, direct to DVD
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.
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 and NEO Shifters line.
The overall quality of Mega Bloks elements has improved markedly since the first sets were released. Certain elements, however, suffers from inconsistent clutch power and are susceptible to stress fracture.
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 Element SUV.
- The Bloks Forum The first online forum specifically dedicated to Mega Bloks and fans of the brand.