Kjeld Kirk Kristiansen, whose family owns the Lego group, says "an internal mistake" led the company to deny a bulk order last year from Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, who wanted toy bricks for an exhibition in Australia.

His son, Thomas, also a Lego board member, told the Wall Street Journal it was "a typical example of what can go wrong in a big company."

After Lego initially refused Ai's order, citing a policy of not donating for public projects, people in various countries began to donate bricks. In January, the company announced a new policy, saying it would no longer ask what the purpose of a public project was but ask customers to make clear Lego doesn't support or endorse them.

No one at Lego was available for comment.