Feeds

back to article Hasbro fails to win Asus Transformer Prime ban

Asus' Eee Pad Transformer Prime tablet-cum-netbook has not ridden roughshod over toy giant Hasbro's intellectual property rights, a US court has suggested. Hasbro, which flogs a series of plastic robots that can "transform" into cars, aircraft, lorries and such, sued the Taiwanese company in December 2011, claiming that its …

COMMENTS

This topic is closed for new posts.
Meh

Hasbro being a bit silly? Looks like it

I remember having a quick look when this news broke in December and not finding any indication that Hasbro had registered Transfomer/Transformers as a trademark in relation to electronics & computing stuff, which would be the issue at hand.

If they *did* have such a trademark, this court would presumably have found in their favour. Doesn't bode well for Hasbro, I suspect, but if they want to piss away money on lawyers that's up to them...

9
0
g e
Silver badge

Re: Hasbro being a bit silly? Looks like it

They specialise in it, pretty much.

3
2
Silver badge
Meh

Well, they're only pissing away money that was pissed away by people who watched Michael Bay's shitty films.

5
1

Seconded

They deserve everything they get after those Michael Bay monstrosities. The animated Transformers Movie with the voices of Orson Wells, Leonard Nimoy and Eric Idle is the only one as far as I'm concerned.

3
0

Re: Seconded

Bah-weep-Graaaaagnah wheep ni ni bong.

2
0
Silver badge
Happy

Asus' next transformer tablet-top

will feature an expansion slot.

Called the 'Michael Bay'

...

But it will suck.

5
0
g e
Silver badge
Go

GOOD.

That is all.

Let's hope they get their arses handed to them at trial plus ASUS' costs.

4
2
Silver badge
Linux

I can kind of see Hasboro's point, Asus are using "Transformer" and "Prime" in their brand names. While I am not confused as to whether this is related to the Transformers cartoon and film series; It is a bit cheeky of Asus.

5
5
Vic
Silver badge

> Asus are using "Transformer" and "Prime" in their brand names

I've been using transformers with primaries for decades. And I didn't invent them.

The trouble with using fairly generic words as brand names is that other people will also have legitimate use of them...

Vic.

7
2
Silver badge

Yes ASUS is being cheeky,

but Hasbro is being stupid.

There is no confusion. There are a few fanbois (probably 21+ years old) who bought the notebook because they are being cheeky. But the smarter thing to do would have been an actual cross licensing agreement to release the "Optimus Prime(tm)" version of the ASUS transformer with full images on the case and maybe a customized desktop/sound theme thrown in.

My bottom line: Stop trying to steal my language with your trademarks.

3
0

@Miek:

Nah, fella.

If Hasbro don't hold the trademark for the name Transformer and the name Prime *as it relates to computational devices*, then Asus can use it as they see fit. It's only if they're clearly trying to tie into the alien-robots-disguiesed-as-commonplace-human-made-vehicles with the Transformer Prime that there's an issue, and, well, I don't see it.

Just because *you* (or Hasbro, for that matter) think the words Transformer and Prime can only have one possible meaning in commercial terms doesn't mean the rest of the world agrees.

To put it another way: go to http://www.ipo.gov.uk/tm/t-find/t-find-text/tmtsearch-default.aspx and type in "Transformer", then run the search. Look at how many companies other than Hasbro use the word Transformer as part of (or the entirety of) their trademarks. That should speak for itself.

0
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Rob
Bronze badge
Stop

Marketing

Let's face it, this seems rarely about patent/copyright now and more about marketing nowadays.

Hasbro now has there name in the news and it's pointing to one of it's main product lines, if they settle out of court I bet the figure will be close or cheaper than a marketing campaign to achieve the same brand awareness goal.

0
0

Re: Marketing

Ye-es ... because Hasbro would obviously pay for a marketing campaign to make them look like stupid, money grubbing idiots. There IS such a thing as bad publicity outside the media world you know.

0
2
Rob
Bronze badge

Re: Marketing

"There IS such a thing as bad publicity outside the media world you know."

Your right there is indeed bad publicity, but when your target audience is an age group that probably don't know what a patent dispute is but Mum and Dad have been talking about it because it's in the news, that is what you call Brand Awareness, especially as it could lead to a sale, or get the kid talking about the product line the next day with their mates. Besides that's just your interpretation of it, not everyone thinks like you (thank fck).

There are sliding scales of publicity that may seem bad but in fact still do you some favours. Apple's been getting a hammering in the courts and Apple has been hammering Samsung, yet I don't think either have suffered any negative brand awareness in fact for both of them it's been a positive effect in some cases, either way I don't see their share price going south or their products gathering dust on shop shelves.

0
1
Headmaster

Re: Marketing

If you want to say 'fucking' say it, don't use some pathetic, Bowdlerised word in its stead. Be a bit more inventive!

0
0
Mushroom

what about electrical components ?

I think Hasbro should be sued for using the name Transformers that had been used for years to describe an electrical component that transforms the voltage and current of an AC circuit.

Hasbro are frickin' freeloaders, swiping the word to describe Michael Faraday's electrical invention.

the I.E.E.E should SUE 'EM NOW !

3
0
Anonymous Coward

Robots in disguise vs Android

Could be something in this after all..

0
0
Silver badge

Hasbro has history against it.

There actually IS precedent for two trademarks to use the same name but in different ways, so long as they're distinct enough for people to tell the difference. Take, for example, the name "Cracker Barrel". Kraft holds one trademark on it for a line of traditional block cheeses. Meanwhile, there is a restaurant chain that ALSO goes by the name "Cracker Barrel". It also uses the name out of tradition as its gimmick is the old-time general-store combined with country-style restaurant fare.

2
1
Silver badge

Re: Hasbro has history against it.

Did anyone REALLY think that Apple is only allowed to be used by Apple Computers?

Of course there's precedent. Go search on Companies House for UK companies with Apple in the name. There's hundreds. Hell, there are six "Apple Accountancy" in various forms.

And that's the COMPANY NAME, not just a single tag on a single product. So long as you're not trying to "pass off" as the other company then it's fine. If they have a trademark, they have to pay to register it in EVERY CATEGORY they want to use it in (so trademarks can get very expensive very quickly) and if they don't use it properly in one of those categories, they can lose it.

And even when there is a direct conflict between an established trademark and some "use" of it somewhere, it's not necessarily the trademark that will win: Too generic, only part of the name, other uses predate the trademark, etc.

No company in the world owns the right to a particular, well-known, English word. They can hold certain very limited rights in certain very limited circumstances at their own expense and risk, but that's about it.

Stop using generic worlds to describe your company / product. Google even did it (from "googol"). Windows. Apple. Kindle. Amazon.

But did Zoopla? I doubt it. So you INSTANTLY stand a lot more legal chance in defending a trademark of Zoopla against such things, than of any of the largest IT companies / products out there, even someone is OBVIOUSLY trying to pass itself off as that particular company/product.

Make up some junk. Easy to remember. If you're successful, everyone will learn it. If you're not, nobody will care about your name. And you can *honestly* steer clear of having to deliberately initiate such silly lawsuits because you have to "defend" your trademark.

3
0
Silver badge

Re: Hasbro has history against it.

Apple are a funny mob, I seem to recall them having a go at Woolworths over their new logo some time back. (It resembles a stylised green W in the shape of an apple; it looks nothing like the Apple logo.)

Mmmm.... I don't think I see myself buying a computer from Woolies somehow, nor can I see myself walking into an Apple store looking for something to eat.

1
0
Pirate

Re: Hasbro has history against it.

"No company in the world owns the right to a particular, well-known, English word."

I could be wrong about this, but I seem to remember the IOC is very heavy-handed with restricting the use of the word "Olympic". I can recall news stories about companies here in Georgia (USA) who got nasty-grams from the IOC/USOC back before the '96 olympics because they had "Olympic" in their name. One was a barbeque restaurant in south Georgia that had been in operation for 20+ years. My recollection was that they had to change their name and signage to remove the offensive word.

0
0
Silver badge

Re: IOC

The statement that :no company in the world owns the right to a particular well-known word (English or otherwise)" is empirically true.

Now that doesn't stop organizations like the IOC from using heavy-handed lawyer intimidation tactics to make the world think they do. And most small businesses, even a BBQ house that's been open for 20+ years, when confronted with the costs of defending a trademark lawsuit ($20,000+ for one org I was involved in and ours was settled OUT of court, literally minutes before our lawyers were set to file the complaint), will fold pretty quickly unless the name is critical to their business success (in our case our name was our business, and yes the defendants were in the EXACT same market we were).

1
0

This post has been deleted by its author

Gold badge

...and there's me thinking a that transformer is a device for raising or lowering AC voltage. A use of the name that has been around for quite some time.

1
0
Silver badge
FAIL

Mmmm... and I think Michael Faraday and Joseph Henry were both playing with those things long before both Hasbro and ASUS even existed.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformer#History

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Transformers_%28toy_line%29 seems to suggest Hasbro's "Transformers" line is only been around since 1984, a good 153 years after the initial discovery of electromagnetic induction.

Plus, I note that according to Wikipedia, Hasbro's product line was always known as "The Transformers" or "Transformers", not "The Transformer" or even "Transformer". The toys themselves individually had names of their own which neither resembled nor included the word "transformer".

ASUS are not marketing a whole product line and calling it "The Transformers". They are labelling a select few individual products with names including the generic word "transformer". Plus, I think people can tell the difference between a tablet computer and a child's toy. I'm no lawyer, but I find Hasbro's claims somewhat incredible.

But let them play their silly game, if the judge has any common sense, they'll throw the case out of court.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

I actually wonder...

...if this is being driven by the Hasbro management or whether their lawyers are egging them on in the name of padding their own bank accounts. If your legal team is advising you must 'defend your trade mark or loose it' and you don't know trade mark law, it would be rather easy to be goaded into a foolish and expensive legal action like this.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

If it only had Optimus Prime shaped corners then Hasbro would be quids in.

2
0
Anonymous Coward

waiting for the Eee Pad Transformer Soundwave....

... with a cassette player on the back.

1
0
Terminator

Maybe they'd have a point if...

Art Lebedev made an Optimus Keyboard dock for the Transformer Prime..

icon, close enough...

0
0

close enough

i normaly does not take side of bully. but Transformers Prime.

1. Tranformers is know to be robots that transform

2. Prime is the name of the main autobot (Optimus Prime)

Asus CLEARLY bank on this.

Asus should at leaat pay royalties. and if hasbro whas clever. it had Asus put out a special edition "optimus prime" version of the tablet and enter into a partnership. a Optimus Prime themed tablet will sold like hot cake.

0
6
Anonymous Coward

Um.

Transformer (no 's') Prime.

And the toy's name is 'Optimus Prime' - no mention to 'Transformer/s' in its name.

And the transformer technology in my PSU predates both by a good century-or-so.

1
0
Anonymous Coward

I'd hate to say this, but...

I'll say it anyway:

Hasbroken had this coming to them.

This is what happens when you put idiotic genre-blind PHBs at the top. Listening to the wrong target group (for the last time, the so-called fans (group name withheld for safety reasons) of a certain show you're listening to is making the show as undesirable to your real target demographic as possible!), working with someone who's out to screw you over (seriously, Hasbro, working with Cartoon Network/Boomerang? The ones owned by Time-Warner? The people who owns DC, of which are probably mad at you for supporting rival Marvel, and are chums of your rival Mattel who's supporting DC? What the freck are you thinking!?!), and this Hasbro-vs-Asus hoohaw.

That is all.

Anon. Because.

0
0
Anonymous Coward

Asus will need a new excuse

Asus will need a new excuse why people won't buy these tablets.

0
2
Silver badge
FAIL

Hasbro Insulting Their Customers

Hasbro is, in effective, saying their customers are too dumb to differentiate between their ingenious transforming toys and a computer.

The Hasbro lawyers are obviously just out of high school, not law school. They must have felt a bit sheepish trying to explain to a judge that the two sets of products are even similar.

Hopefully this stupidity will end because whether they like or not there are only so many words in the dictionary.

0
0
This topic is closed for new posts.