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Addl
2012-08-01, 02:40 PM
Overlord (http://www.yojoe.com/thearchive/toys/action/viewItem.php?itemID=308)











sorry... :clap:

inflatable dalek
2012-08-01, 03:14 PM
That is not the Transformer Overlord.

Cliffjumper
2012-08-01, 03:55 PM
I love random 1980s name crossovers, especially when they're nobodies in one toyline and big hitters in another. GI Joe also gives us trademark protection exercises like Sideswipe (http://www.yojoe.com/action/02/sideswipe.shtml), Mirage (http://www.yojoe.com/action/93/mirage.shtml) and, er, Iguanus (http://www.yojoe.com/action/01/iguanus.shtml).

I keep meaning to do some sort of list of them all...

inflatable dalek
2012-08-01, 03:58 PM
There's a Joe called Iguanus?! Why did Hama never make him a ninja?

I'm surprised Manimal got through copyright, isn't that one of those olde Glen Larson style 80's shows as well?

Cliffjumper
2012-08-01, 04:48 PM
IIRC things are trademarked in certain sectors only (at least normally; I suspect Optimus Prime for example is extremely well protected; something like Bumblebee where it's just an existing word not so much); there was a US finance organisation called Megatron in at least the late 1980s who funded a Formula 1 team at one point leading to cars called Arrows-Megatrons, for example. So unless Larson had a merchandising trademark in place (Manimal had probably finished by '94)...

inflatable dalek
2012-08-01, 04:57 PM
Even with it being (IIRC) a short lived flop I'd assume Larson would have had the merchandising trademarks sown up beforehand as that had been a good source of revenue for his other shows (we all had a KITT right?).

But yeah, it'd have been long over by then (I think the Marvel Annuals advert in the early TF issues has a Manimal one proudly displayed alongside the and [i]WHAM! ones...) so presumably it had lapsed.

Addl
2012-08-02, 12:12 AM
That is not the Transformer Overlord.

Really ? :glance: :halo:

Summerhayes
2012-08-02, 06:28 PM
If a Joe called Overlord prevented a TF called a Overblast, then I'd say its a legit tactic.
Though I'm actually surprised that a human action figure with the same name is considered the same copyright as a robot. For example, if I made a superhero called Bumblebee, whose a yellow dude with wings, would his figure infringe? It all gets a bit vague, in the end. I guess it just goes the way the guy with the money wants it to go.

God, that whole post makes me sound like one of the whiny 12-year-olds you find on all the worst forums . . .

inflatable dalek
2012-08-02, 06:35 PM
Though Joe Overlord pre-dates any Western use of the name for a TF doesn't he? And they must have lost it as some point before "Gigatron" came along (and regained it since).

Cliffjumper
2012-08-02, 07:08 PM
For example, if I made a superhero called Bumblebee, whose a yellow dude with wings, would his figure infringe?

Yes, definitely, especially right now. Comic character? Bit vaguer, but again the character being one of the leads in a recently trilogy of mega-blockbusters would hurt your case considerably. If you'd done it in 1999, however, all bets are off. IIRC (and this might be bullshit) Armada Hot Shot a/o was sort-of devised as a Bumblebee but the trademark was unavaliable at the time - I seem to remember Hasbro managed to get it back in time for Classics (?) and then the films. OTOMH Takara are subject to different legislation for their domestic releases (meaning they can bring out toys 'just' called Skids, Wheeljack etc. without the 'Autobot' modifiers).

Exciting stuff, huh?

Jaynz
2012-08-02, 08:45 PM
Though Joe Overlord pre-dates any Western use of the name for a TF doesn't he? And they must have lost it as some point before "Gigatron" came along (and regained it since).

Kinda sorta. We were originally going to get Overlord in the states (hence some of the references to "Evil The Powermasters Commander") but it was dropped for some reason. Oddly, GI Joe's Overlord was going to be an Iron Grenadiers toy... and still became one in Brazil (Ciclon).

Wacky wacky late 80s.

Summerhayes
2012-08-03, 08:05 AM
What other big, international property has such a bizarre legal backstory? Transformers started out as a billion different lines bought up and reconfigured and now its a huge intellectual property. Has anyone written a good book about it?

Yes, definitely, especially right now. Comic character? Bit vaguer,

I'm surprised they're allowed to do that, actually. With something like Optimus Prime or Megatron, I can understand it but things like Bumblebee and Jazz are just words. I wonder what would happen if they brought out a figure of DJ Jazzy Jeff's character from the Fresh Prince?

Cliffjumper
2012-08-03, 09:32 AM
With the real word thing it's a lot tighter, basically - Hasbro can't copyright/trademark/whatever a pre-existing word, just register it in certain fields - such as action figures. There's nothing stopping you using the word bumblebee as much as you like on whatever you like, but if you were to put it on an action figure you'd be benefitting from their trademark one way or another.

A lot of stuff that is real words is what they have trouble with - jazz, skids, ravage and so on. IIRC no-one can actually trademark such general words (I think the definition of what's general is arbitrary; Hasbro apply to trademark everything and get granted the TM for certain things and not others); Jazz isn't Autobot Jazz because Mattel or someone have trademarked Jazz, they just won't let anyone have it.

In the 1980s especially the whole area was a lot laxer - hence situations like rival Transformers and Gobots figures actually sharing names (Blaster, Rumble, Warpath) and a lot of very simple names based on real words that Hasbro are struggling to keep copyrighted now.

To bring the thread full circle G.I. Joe actually suffers worse due to most of the characters having even more prosaic real-world codenames - a large number are now trademarked clumsily as [Real Christian Name]'[Codename]'[Real Surname] - e.g. Lifeline is "Edwin 'Lifeline' Stein", and so forth.