Hasbro suing Asus over Transformer Prime trademark violation

By on December 22, 2011, 3:00 PM

Children’s toy maker Hasbro has filed suit against Asus for alleged trademark violation regarding the use of the Transformer Prime name that the company’s latest tablet carries. Hasbro filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court last week, seeking damages and a temporary injunction to stop Asus from selling the tablet.

In an email to paidContent, Hasbro says they continue to aggressively protect their brand and products. They feel that Asus is using the Transformer Prime name for their own financial gain, leveraging the Transformers brand and a name of one of the most popular characters.

The toy maker’s lawsuit could be tough to win as trademark law typically only applies to certain categories of products. This is why companies in different industries can share similar names, like Delta Airlines and Delta Faucets. As paidContent points out, it’s unlikely that a consumer would mix up a children’s toy and a tablet featuring similar names.

Hasbro is well aware of this but will likely argue that the Transformers brand is expanding and they need to protect it through a wider array of goods. Asus was not available for comment at the time that paidContent published their article.

Asus recently launched the Transformer Prime as the first tablet to utilize Nvidia’s new quad-core Tegra 3 processor, codenamed Kal-El. The unit ships with either 32GB or 64GB of internal memory, a 1280 x 800 resolution Super IPS+ display with Corning Gorilla Glass and weighs only 1.29 pounds. It’s currently available on Amazon.com and other sites starting at $469.99.




User Comments: 16

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MrAnderson said:

Trademarks seriously need to be limited to the context and market.

Maybe I don't know the correct spelling, but transformer is an actual real object in electronics.

You should be able to piggy back off the success of the use of a word... as long as you are not creating a product the is named similar and functions similar, and is in the same market category.

No one is confused that this product is going to change into a robot. I'm surprised that Nvidia and LG are not getting in troble over Optimus useage...

It is really crazy how companies can claim stakes over words... I wonder now what came of Lucus Arts and the Motorola incident over "Droid"...

MrAnderson said:

MrAnderson said:

Trademarks seriously need to be limited to the context and market.

Maybe I don't know the correct spelling, but transformer is an actual real object in electronics.

You should be able to piggy back off the success of the use of a word... as long as you are not creating a product the is named similar and functions similar, and is in the same market category.

No one is confused that this product is going to change into a robot. I'm surprised that Nvidia and LG are not getting in troble over Optimus useage...

It is really crazy how companies can claim stakes over words... I wonder now what came of Lucus Arts and the Motorola incident over "Droid"...

Ok maybe Transformer Prime is pushing it... I thought it was just Transformer. I still think tradmarks should cover the market unless the Advertisment tries to cash in on the other market segments established image and of course causes customer confusing.

example1013 said:

Well first off the word "droid" was coined by LucasArts, and second of all LucasArts just licensed the name. I'm a bit sketchy on this one being actual infringement, but then patent lawsuits are usually colossal wastes of money for everyone involved, so they're just as often filed as games of chicken as they are with the intention of actually going to arbitration.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

Optimus Prime died when I was in the 5th grade, and the Matrix of Leadership passed on to Hot Rod, who became Rodimus Prime. Suck it reboots.

hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

Hasbro filed the lawsuit in Los Angeles federal court last week...

Their needs to be a statute of limitations on cases like these.

example1013 said:

Any smart patent lawyer will wait to file suit until the product has made money.

Staff
Rick Rick, TechSpot Staff, said:

I totally disagree with Hasbro, but I have to admit "Transformer Prime" is a little weird.

Optimus Prime.. Transformers..

Asus probably should have stopped at "Transformer" and left "Prime" alone. It is hard to imagine the individuals responsible for naming the product didn't think of Hasbro's Transformers while coming up with it.. although it shouldn't matter either way.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Funny, Hasbro had no problem with the original Transformer. There is an established tendency in recent times to affix the "Prime" moniker to the penultimate or advanced version of electronics - Nexus Prime anyone? To grab 2 words in different trademarks that Hasbro owns, combine them together, and say they own THAT as well is overstepping, as far as I'm concerned. Particularly when it's in a completely unrelated marketplace.

And, I've heard that part of the argument has to do with the title from a previous series. But you have to consider it in context, and look at the full titles: "Transformers: Prime - The Animated Series" vs "ASUS eePad Transformer Prime." I get it, they are close. But different, for different industries, and if Hasbro thinks for a second that people buying the ASUS tablet are even thinking they are buying anything to do with Hasbro's toys, they must assume mass consumer stupidity.

Guest said:

Its all huffing and puffing...and in the end ASUS will be allowed to use the name.

waste of time for both side, but the lawyers are always happy to take their money!

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

I still say Hasbro and ASUS should just shake hands, ASUS hand over $5 per unit to Hasbro, and Hasbro supply cool Transformers emblems to put on the cases (if the customer wishes). Instant cross-industry promotion. It's a win/win.

MrAnderson said:

it just feels that after Wall Street had its time in the sun... the lawyers are now having their fun. All this going on whistle Blue collar John, Jane, and Kim are worrying about their jobs and making ends meet just to take care of their families.

I agree that this should just end with a lisence. I'm not sure of ASUS should bother fighting it... it probably would be better to change the name... unless they have the name printed on the device already. For me, I can careless about the name... I like the technology... Android Tablets are still a nitch market. They could have called it the Transform Max =P that would due.

I would love some Greek and Norse mythologically named devices.

killeriii said:

Just waiting for DC Comics to realize Nvidia is making a Superman processor. Maybe they're created on Krypton.

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Vrmithrax said:

I still say Hasbro and ASUS should just shake hands, ASUS hand over $5 per unit to Hasbro, and Hasbro supply cool Transformers emblems to put on the cases (if the customer wishes). Instant cross-industry promotion. It's a win/win.

Now this in an idea I like.

mailpup mailpup said:

A few posters seem to be confusing trademarks with patents.

Relic Relic, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

That looks like a perfect disguise for a robot to me.

Guest said:

I completely took this crappy laptop for a giant fictional robot !

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