Hasbro sues Asus over Transformer Prime tablet name

We had a feeling this might happen when Asus announced it would call its new Android-powered tablet the Transformer Prime. Now it's apparently official: PaidContent.org reports that toy company Hasbro, makers of the Transformer action figure franchise, has filed a lawsuit against Asus for alleged trademark infrigement. The lawsuit was filed last week in a Los Angeles court.

Hasbro apparently believes that Asus' name for its new tablet, which just started shipping to some customers earlier this week, would cause some confusion with at least some consumers who might think that Hasbro is getting into the tablet business. In addition to the Transformer name, Prime could in theory be linked to Optimus Prime: the leader of the good guy Transformers, the Autobots.

Hasbro has also issued a statement saying:

Hasbro continues to aggressively protect its brands and products and the specific actions we are taking today against Asus underscores yet again Hasbro’s willingness to pursue companies who misappropriate our intellectual property for their own financial gain.

Hasbro is looking for damages from Asus as well as a injuction on selling the tablet itself. So far, Asus has yet to reply to the lawsuit.

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Hasbro is mad because they didn't name it after twilight sparkle LIKE THEY AGREED to xD ASUS ain't bronies then?

I've been waiting for this a long time... It's pretty obvious Asus is exploiting Transformers franchise esp. given the latest movies popularity.

Either they need to license or change it.

Cant believe people think this is fine. This is not the typical Apple vs store that has logo of an apple. Asus should have thought about this long ago already.

Trademark only applies to the business area it's granted for. The Transformer Prime is neither a toy, nor a cartoon, nor a movie. It's a tablet computer.

FloatingFatMan said,
Trademark only applies to the business area it's granted for. The Transformer Prime is neither a toy, nor a cartoon, nor a movie. It's a tablet computer.

True, but they can still argue that it confuses the consumer and implies an endorsement has been made by Hasbro. I think it's a pretty easy win for Hasbro honestly.

FloatingFatMan said,
Trademark only applies to the business area it's granted for. The Transformer Prime is neither a toy, nor a cartoon, nor a movie. It's a tablet computer.

What if a company started selling a generic LED torch called the 'Apple iTorch'. Despite Apple not being in the torch making business, trademark law will definitely step in to protect the brand name.

Staying strictly within the strictures of the law, there is nothing illegal about doing that as long as this fictional company had nothing to do with any of Apple's business areas. Of course, in reality, the person with the most money would actually win, but that's because US courts are about as honest as a 7 dollar bill.

Largoh said,

Not sure if you were trying to prove him wrong, but you didn't.

The Asus Transformer Prime is still not a Toy, TV Show nor Movie. Nor is it related to them, so technically there's no copyright infringement.

Yes, however Hasbro does make laptops (although they are kids educational ones) under the Transformers brand.

I'm pretty sure that anyone with an IQ greater than 20 will understand that this is not an actual Transformer. Plus, even if they did want the Toy and ended up with this instead, I'm sure they'd be more than happy. I know I would.

Using the word Transformer was one thing, but then adding the word "prime" and talking about how it transforms in official ads was gonna draw in hasbro at some point.

This is getting ridiculous. Seems that soon you wont be able to use any word of the English language without some company saying that its their intellectual property and hauling you into court. Are these companies so lacking in creativity that they have to resort to suing other companies now to make money? Enough already.

charlie6x said,
This is getting ridiculous. Seems that soon you wont be able to use any word of the English language without some company saying that its their intellectual property and hauling you into court. Are these companies so lacking in creativity that they have to resort to suing other companies now to make money? Enough already.

No companies have a right to protect their IP. "Transformer" and "Prime" together are easy to connect to the Transformer universe.

S00N3R FR3AK said,

No companies have a right to protect their IP. "Transformer" and "Prime" together are easy to connect to the Transformer universe.

Indeed. It was rather blatant. Like I said above, I really can't believe this made it through Asus' legal department. Surely they have to approve names...

S00N3R FR3AK said,

No companies have a right to protect their IP. "Transformer" and "Prime" together are easy to connect to the Transformer universe.

Indeed, they have a legal obligation to protect their IP, else it become a generic term and they lose the trademark. Such as what happened to Bayer in the US with regards to "aspirin".

i think ive even seen transformers demoed on the asus tablet. here i thought hasbro already had a deal. kinda dumb to say ohh lets go to court now that some tablets are being shipped.

Oh FFS. Im getting sick of these companies freaking suing over names that are only partially related. Eff off and die already.

Kreuger said,
Oh FFS. Im getting sick of these companies freaking suing over names that are only partially related. Eff off and die already.

Normally I'd agree with you, but I can sort of see Hasbro's point here. Especially considering IceBreakerG's comment above.

Kreuger said,
Oh FFS. Im getting sick of these companies freaking suing over names that are only partially related. Eff off and die already.

Yes, let's just let companies capitalize off of other companies' brand.

omgben said,

Yes, let's just let companies capitalize off of other companies' brand.

Yeah like Asus needs help selling products and people are really gonna buy it just because it's called the Transformer (Prime).

mesonto said,
Yes I for one will be very disappointed if my tablet doesn't transform into a robot.

Absolutely. It kind of puts a new perspective on stealing wi-fi when the tablet can break in to your home and just take the router...

I had a feeling Asus was going to get sued from that, I figured maybe they got the rights to the name... guess not and maybe they won't need them.

IceBreakerG said,
It doesn't help Asus that the current transformer cartoon is called "Transformers: Prime" either lol.

Yeah that kind of seals the case against them. What were they thinking?

IceBreakerG said,
It doesn't help Asus that the current transformer cartoon is called "Transformers: Prime" either lol.

I didn't realize that. lol Wow. This does look pretty bad for Asus...

Funny how this name has been global knowledge since earlier this year when they first started talking about it, and it's only now after they manufacture and start selling it does it become a problem... funny that...

CrimsonBetrayal said,
Funny how this name has been global knowledge since earlier this year when they first started talking about it, and it's only now after they manufacture and start selling it does it become a problem... funny that...

I think Hasbro did contact ASUS about the name some time ago before going to court.

CrimsonBetrayal said,
Funny how this name has been global knowledge since earlier this year when they first started talking about it, and it's only now after they manufacture and start selling it does it become a problem... funny that...

If they stopped it before it went commercial, they wouldn't be able to get damages and all that.

CrimsonBetrayal said,
Funny how this name has been global knowledge since earlier this year when they first started talking about it, and it's only now after they manufacture and start selling it does it become a problem... funny that...

It takes time to get the suit together, and there'll have been some attempt made to sort it out behind closed doors too, so I don't think that Hasbro are necessarily waiting for their best opportunity, but more likely that they've exhausted all other options after several months.

Majesticmerc said,

It takes time to get the suit together, and there'll have been some attempt made to sort it out behind closed doors too, so I don't think that Hasbro are necessarily waiting for their best opportunity, but more likely that they've exhausted all other options after several months.

+1

Hasbro will have to prove that ASUS used the name to capitalize on the brand. While I don't think its a coincidence, Prime has many different meanings that could be associated with the Tablet. We shall see what happens.

And agreement will most likely be made between the two or the name changes to Transformer II or something like that.

Edited by techbeck, Dec 22 2011, 3:53am :

techbeck said,
Hasbro will have to prove that ASUS used the name to capitalize on the brand. While I don't think its a coincidence, Prime has many different meanings that could be associated with the Tablet. We shall see what happens.

And agreement will most likely be made between the two or the name changes to Transformer II or something like that.

it is pretty obvious that a transforming laptop/tablet is capitalizing on the old brand.. I was expecting a lawsuit when the first one came out.. but transformer prime is soo obvious.. it would be like if someone came out with the R2D2 droid for android, star wars would be pretty upset if they didnt get any money of it.

Lachlan said,

it is pretty obvious that a transforming laptop/tablet is capitalizing on the old brand.. I was expecting a lawsuit when the first one came out.. but transformer prime is soo obvious.. it would be like if someone came out with the R2D2 droid for android, star wars would be pretty upset if they didnt get any money of it.

Agreed. I'm rather amazed that Asus' legal team approved this... lol A lawsuit was bound to happen, and I honestly don't think Hasbro has a very hard case at all...

Lachlan said,

it is pretty obvious that a transforming laptop/tablet is capitalizing on the old brand.. I was expecting a lawsuit when the first one came out.. but transformer prime is soo obvious.. it would be like if someone came out with the R2D2 droid for android, star wars would be pretty upset if they didnt get any money of it.

Everyone's experience is different. I never connected the ASUS Transformer and the Transformer toys myself, party because one is a piece of plastic and the other is a.. well.. okay bad example. Seriously though, one is a toy and the other is.. well.. damn.

They are serving different markets, different purposes, they do not look alike at all, the advertising isn't being done in a similar way. I don't see how this will negatively impact Hasbro, unless they plan to release their own LeapFrog like tablet and use the Transformers name, and I suppose they reserve that right.

The other issue is that these are words in the english language, transform, transformer, run, runner, blend, blender. The other word is prime, which is a word itself and if I were to name a tablet prime seems like a great idea.


prime   [prahym]
adjective
1.
of the first importance; demanding the fullest consideration: a prime requisite.
2.
of the greatest relevance or significance: a prime example.
3.
of the highest eminence or rank: the prime authority on Chaucer.
4.
of the greatest commercial value: prime building lots.
5.
first-rate: This ale is prime!

Lachlan said,

it is pretty obvious that a transforming laptop/tablet is capitalizing on the old brand.. I was expecting a lawsuit when the first one came out.. but transformer prime is soo obvious.. it would be like if someone came out with the R2D2 droid for android, star wars would be pretty upset if they didnt get any money of it.

Where you been...theer is an R@D@ Droid Phone. Where you been.
[img]http://ubernerdnation.com/theb...9/R2D2-Droid-Phone.jpg[/img]

Lachlan said,
it would be like if someone came out with the R2D2 droid for android, star wars would be pretty upset if they didnt get any money of it.

If you read the small print at the end of every droid commercial, it says the name droid is liscenced from lucasfilm

techbeck said,
Hasbro will have to prove that ASUS used the name to capitalize on the brand. While I don't think its a coincidence, Prime has many different meanings that could be associated with the Tablet. We shall see what happens.

as much as Hasbro might have a case, it really doesn't and is without merit. So for all those with a Transformer in your stereo's... I don't see those being sued. they didn't label it Optimus Prime either. In any case , as Tangerine Dream pointed out (the band) as I told them I found some shorts with the color of Tangerine Dream. Music and clothing are not related. and in this case toys and computers are not related here. Hasbro has no case. even though I'm an old school Transformers fan.

And agreement will most likely be made between the two or the name changes to Transformer II or something like that.