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View Full Version : What's all this Hasbro suing everyone thing?


Cliffjumper
2017-08-29, 10:36 PM
Is it some weird meme or have they gone mental or what?

Denyer
2017-08-29, 11:14 PM
They forked out for the trademark on Bumblebee for the movies, are obliged to defend or lose it, and with a solo Bumblebee movie in the works presumably they want the option to wall-to-wall spew it over as much merchandise as possible, including making the character an African-American girl.

Cliffjumper
2017-08-30, 05:34 AM
It just seems really bizarre to do it *now* when Karen's been out in DC Superhero Girls long enough to be heavily reduced. I'm guessing they've asked nicely before or something?

inflatable dalek
2017-08-30, 06:03 AM
From what I can gather from well of truth Twitter the 3P shenanigans seem to be related to one specific company sailing to close to the wind with a MP style Hot Rod that basically is MP Hot Rod as MP Hot Rod is being formally reissued.

Of course, you can't just start sporadically enforcing your copyright (else they'll claim unfair treatment in any court battle) so even if they do only want to deal with one firm they'll likely be a lot more rigid generally from now on (as is their perfect right of course).

The Disney thing is more puzzling as that's one company that finincially can go legally toe to toe with Hasbro and are incredibly protective of even their most obscure characters. With this Bumblebee predating the Transformer and toys having been about unchallenged for a few years they're juat as likely to be able to take any and all trademarks for themselves.


I think.

We need Nevermore back to clarify the trademark/copyright difference like the old days.

Brendocon 2.0
2017-08-30, 07:29 AM
The Disney thing

DC. Disney are the other lot.

We need Nevermore back to clarify the trademark/copyright difference like the old days.

Copyright covers intellectual property/conceptual stuff. A written piece, a film, the design of something, an image.

Trademarks refer to what you market that as. So a body of work itself is protected by copyright law, but the name you sell it under has to be registered as a trademark.

There is a visual element in trademarks as well, as you can register a specific logo (or variations thereof) too.

You'd think that people would be able to tell the difference between the two characters, but if Hasbro
a) have registered the "Bumblebee" name for toys, sans qualifier (you'll note a lot of Marvel Legends are labelled as "Marvel's [x]")
b) think that a confused relative in a hurry will go to TRU to "buy the kid a Bumblebee toy"
and
c) are feeling like complete dicks
then the enforcement is totally understandable.

Common sense would dictate that people can tell the difference, but if whoever's making those DC toys hasn't got a trademark in place, Hasbro might just be afraid of setting a precedent by letting it slide this close to Bumblebee's push as a headline attraction.

inflatable dalek
2017-08-30, 07:35 AM
DC. Disney are the other lot.

Ah, bugger.

Brendocon 2.0
2017-08-30, 07:47 AM
I mean they might be suing Disney for something as well, who knows at this point.

inflatable dalek
2017-08-30, 08:56 AM
They do need to act pre-emptively before Transformer from that Budiansky written Avengers issue gets a toy.

Clay
2017-08-30, 10:40 PM
I wonder about these things. Specifically, how can trademarks carry weight when Hasbro's own interpretations of its characters can be so elastic?

For example, consider Starscream, (http://tfu.info/2006/Decepticon/ClassicsStarscream/starscream.htm) Starscream, (http://tfu.info/2007/Decepticon/MPStarscream/starscream.htm) and Starscream (http://tfu.info/2009/Decepticon/TFUStarscream/starscream.htm). You'd think that, Okay, Starscream's a jet with certain colors and some visually distinct cues likes the intakes on either side of his head, the wings on his back, etc. Except that sometimes he's Acid Storm (http://tfu.info/2008/Decepticon/TFUAcidStorm/acidstorm.htm), or one of the other characters that essentially differs only in colors. So, a Starscream is a Starscream only when he features both distinctive design cues and a certain color scheme, otherwise he's Skywarp or one of the other ones. Except when he's blue. (http://tfu.info/2008/Decepticon/Starscream/starscream.htm) Or except those times when none of that is applicable. (http://tfu.info/1997/Decepticon/Starscream/starscream.htm) I mean, from Hasbro's own merchandise canon, everything and nothing both can be and is not Starscream. So the theoretical trademark for Starscream should be watered down to the point of meaninglessness, right? And that's not even getting to the subjective reaction of whether a given figure looks like a character enough to persuade a consumer to buy the thing.

Granted, I've gone on about Starscream, but you can swap in Bumblebee almost as easily. Also, it'd be funny if DC just changed their Bumblebee to red instead of yellow and called her Cliffhopper.

Brendocon 2.0
2017-08-31, 08:19 AM
I wonder about these things. Specifically, how can trademarks carry weight when Hasbro's own interpretations of its characters can be so elastic?

Because you're trademarking the word itself, for exclusive use in a certain purpose. That purpose being toy sales.

The distinctions between the different physical toys of Starscream would fall under either copyright/patent/design law/whatever.

The trademark doesn't have to be tied to a certain character, just used by the company that own it. Once you own that trademark you can slap it on whatever you want, so long as it falls under the definition you've registered it under.

And so long as you have the rights to be marketing the product in question, of course. This is why 3P companies use their own designs. They might be using the likeness of a Hasbro-created character, but it's not being marketed under their TMs and it's quantifiable as a different actual toy.

So the theoretical trademark for Starscream should be watered down to the point of meaninglessness, right?

And that's not even getting to the subjective reaction of whether a given figure looks like a character enough to persuade a consumer to buy the thing.

Nah, trademarks are done by category. And, handily, are a matter of public record and are searchable online.

Hasbro own the trademark "STARSCREAM" in the UK for use in the class "Toys, games and playthings" and don't have to renew it until December 2026.

So long as what they're selling falls under that category, they can stick the word "STARSCREAM" on whatever they feel like and take action against anyone else using it in that category without their permission.

And historical evidence indicates that Hasbro will stick that name on whatever they feel like, regardless of what it looks like. Back when they reused the name Shockwave in GI Joe, they likely wouldn't have needed to register the trademark separately, as an example.

To say that the trademark for Starscream is meaningless because they've used it on different looking toys... well you can extend that to the "Transformers" trademark itself. Trademarks allow you use of a specific name or logo for trading goods of a predefined category - they don't limit what you can stick it on within that category, or how many times you can use it.

Also, it'd be funny if DC just changed their Bumblebee to red instead of yellow and called her Cliffhopper.

So long as they get that trademark, sure. Why not.

I mean look at all the times Hasbro have stuck something out with the "Autobot" prefix and the absolute garbage names they've had to use for Titans Return - all because they don't have the relevant trademarks.

Hasbro are out there with Wolfwire, Octone, Skullsmasher and Twinferno, but someone's flogging a toy under the Bumblebee name without filling out the paperwork... are we really surprised they're sticking to their guns on this one?

Clay
2017-08-31, 12:40 PM
The distinctions between the different physical toys of Starscream would fall under either copyright/patent/design law/whatever.

...

Nah, trademarks are done by category. And, handily, are a matter of public record and are searchable online.

Ah, okay. I wasn't making the distinction between the word/name and the physical product and was assuming they were linked instead of being under separate spheres of legal protection. Now it makes a lot more sense that Hasbro would sue DC for making Bumblebee toys in violation of trademark. That the characters are easily distinguishable isn't the point, but rather that the word "Bumblebee" is the same. Got it.

Brendocon 2.0
2017-08-31, 01:24 PM
Just as a sidebar, DC have got this coming to them on a karmic level anyway, considering they tried to sue Valencia FC a few years back for using a bat in their club crest (in use since 1919).

And also in 2008 they tried to sue DC Shoes for having a similar logo, only to find out they'd never actually registered their new logo as a trademark so were actually the ones infringing on the shoe company.

In other words they're a bunch of muppets who actively invite this kind of nonsense.

Cliffjumper
2017-09-03, 10:46 PM
Let's not forget that they managed to lose various trademarks on Captain Marvel to Marvel despite owning the character before Marvel even existed.

The timing really seems odd with Bumblebee, though - they fought tooth and claw to get the trademark back in time for the '07 film and didn't bother tackling DC until now? I'm not sure how the solo movie really factors in when Bumblebee has been Transformers' marquee name for the past decade.

starlord
2017-09-08, 07:46 PM
Watch out deviant art and fan fiction poster