Hasbro sues Asus over Transformer brand

Asus has emerged as one of the chief players in the tablet market with its Transformer devices, and Hasbro isn’t happy about it. According to PaidContent, the U.S. toy maker filed a lawsuit against Asus in a Los Angeles court last week, alleging that the Taiwanese firm is violating its intellectual property.

Hasbro is reportedly seeking both damages and an injunction that would bar sales of Asus’ Transformer tablets. When inquiring about the lawsuit, PaidContent received this rather bellicose statement from Hasbro:

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.

The site speculates that Hasbro might have a difficult case, since tablets and kids’ toys aren’t exactly easy to mix up. However, the recent Transformers film series has put the brand back in the limelight, and Asus might be pushing its luck by calling its latest tablet the Transformer Prime. The name conjures up not only the Hasbro franchise, but also the illustrious leader of the autobots.

I’d say Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf have tarnished the Transformers franchise far more than Asus ever could, and they’ll probably never face justice for their crimes. Alas, Hasbro has different priorities. (Thanks to TechCrunch for the link.)

Comments closed
    • bender
    • 8 years ago

    Corporations again behaving like spoiled, dull children.

    …and the lawyers win again. I need a change of vocation.

    • Glycerin
    • 8 years ago

    Go away Hasbro

    • thefumigator
    • 8 years ago

    I was smelling this would happen. The first thing that came to my mind when I first heard about the asus transformers prime was “mmm something to do with transformers? maybe the tablet will be transformable? or will they offer a transformer movie preloaded into the thing, or maybe the game?”.

    but of course it had nothing to do actually. These big companies should think twice before naming their products, in the times we’re living they will sue you because of the color combination of the product you make. It may happen.

    And I’m not considering AMD vs Intel here, where I personally think it was perfectly fine to sue Intel several years ago

    • ShadowTiger
    • 8 years ago

    I think this is is a frivolous lawsuit (maybe angry because the last movie made a mere $350 million in the US)

    first of all the trade mark is for the plural of the word: Transformers.

    secondly, the transformer is actually called “ASUS Eee Pad Transformer,” which is not going to confuse anyone what the hell it is.

    The sad thing is that its safer for Hasbro to waste millions of dollars in legal fees for both companies than to let it pass un-challenged, because the brand value of Transfomers is worth much more than that to them and a favorable ruling in court could strengthen that value greatly.

    • Deanjo
    • 8 years ago

    Good job Hasbro. Asus was originally cutting it close with just Transformer but when they went and created the Transformer Prime it came quite obvious that they were trying to take advantage of Hasbro’s brand recognition. The Asian market is “mega-transforming-super-robot” crazy with all their products and Asus was clearly trying to associate itself with that image. Now start suing all those computer case manufacturers that make those fugly as hell “transformeresque” cases.

    For those who disagree, I’m sure Johnathan Wendel would expect some compensation if Ford or Chevy came out with a car called “Fatal1ty”.

    • Krogoth
    • 8 years ago

    WTH, Hasbro.

    I thought that My Little Ponies: Friendship is Magic is now your new hot franchise among your male demographics. Transformers is old and busted.

    • ALiLPinkMonster
    • 8 years ago

    I think Asus should have collaborated with Hasbro to begin with. They could have made special editions with cool Transformer-themed paintjobs. Either way, they HAD to have seen this coming before they even released it.

      • tootercomputer
      • 8 years ago

      You should run for Congress. 🙂

    • albundy
    • 8 years ago

    more than meets the black eye!

    • ronch
    • 8 years ago

    I heard they’re gonna ditch the Transformer brand and instead call it the Asus Gobots Leader-1.

    • Farting Bob
    • 8 years ago

    At first i thought “You know, the ASUS does transform from tablet to laptop, and its a generic word, i cant see how that is infringing”. Then i remembered they called their new tablet “transformer megatron optimus prime” and yea, i can see that ASUS may be pushing its luck.

    Still, im guessing it’ll end up with ASUS having to pay Hasbro money per device sold, its too late to change the name completely now, and they’d be better off paying royalties.

    • d0g_p00p
    • 8 years ago

    Surprised it took them this long.

      • ronch
      • 8 years ago

      Ditto.

    • yogibbear
    • 8 years ago

    Neither word on its own would carry ANY weight on being confusing, but together with their powers combined they form the ultimate decepticon….MEGATROLL

    • pogsnet1
    • 8 years ago

    Hasbro has the right about Transformer Prime….. they made that name known, and ASUS just ride on it.

    ASUS can make other name than using someone’s work.

    I will give one … ASUS Tegro Flex

      • mutarasector
      • 8 years ago

      Makes me want to wait for the Asus Transformer *Optimus*…

    • Kollaps
    • 8 years ago

    The first thing everyone thought when they heard the name Transformer Prime is Hasbro’s Transformer franchise. While there’s no confusion between the two, it does seem like Asus is trying to create the illusion of a connection between the two.

      • Noigel
      • 8 years ago

      “We’re sorry about trying to call it Prime, instead it will now be referred to as the Transformer Dinobot.”

        • OneArmedScissor
        • 8 years ago

        Now with Grimdock keyboard!

          • Krogoth
          • 8 years ago

          ME GRIMDOCK WANT TO EAT SILLY TROLLS!

    • kamikaziechameleon
    • 8 years ago

    I’m not sure how I feel about this…

      • cynan
      • 8 years ago

      Oh, oh! Lemme guess!

      Hungry?

      No. That’s just dumb!

      How about sleepy?

        • dpaus
        • 8 years ago

        Dopey? No, I got it – Grumpy!!

    • derFunkenstein
    • 8 years ago

    Clearly it wasn’t called Transformer 2 because of Rise of the Fallen being such a terrible movie. Hasbro has only itself to blame.

      • Krogoth
      • 8 years ago

      TF3: Dark of the Moon was far worse.

      It look what made TF2 bad times 10.

        • derFunkenstein
        • 8 years ago

        I disliked 2 so badly I never saw 3.

    • Corrado
    • 8 years ago

    I dunno, I can kind of see the merit in it. Especially because the new one is called the “Transformer Prime” Thats VERY close to Transformer Optimus Prime and could be confusing for people.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      One’s a 10″ tablet and the other is a 50′ tractor-trailer. I can barely tell them apart.

        • Corrado
        • 8 years ago

        Its not that you’ll confuse them as products, its that you could confuse it as an endorsement.

          • mutarasector
          • 8 years ago

          Would that be because I can watch Optimus on Prime? (And no, I don’t mean *that* way!)

          • NeelyCam
          • 8 years ago

          That’s like saying some PC company calling a desktop “Ferrari”, painting it red, and somehow that being OK?

            • Kollaps
            • 8 years ago

            He’s saying that it would not be ok. That just because the products are clearly different that there’s still the issue of the naming given the impression that Hasbro endorses the Transformer Prime.

            It’s rather funny that Asus released a few Ferrari themed laptops, officially of course. Also they have a few Lamborghini ones. I hope Asus learns their lesson. Stop it with the lame branding, please.

            • NeelyCam
            • 8 years ago

            dammit reply fail – I meant to reply to dpaus..

            • dpaus
            • 8 years ago

            And you have just learned that talking to me gets you an immediate downvote. Let that be a lesson!

            • derFunkenstein
            • 8 years ago

            quit being a dick.

      • MadManOriginal
      • 8 years ago

      Ys, I can see the validity of an objection to the ‘Prime’ name, but not the word ‘Transformer’ on its own.

        • Noigel
        • 8 years ago

        Logically you know the separation between the two… But if you type one in a search engine the other could dominate the seo?

      • EsotericLord
      • 8 years ago

      This seems to be exactly how Hasbro feels. There was no mention of a lawsuit over Asus calling that line “Transformer.” It was only when this “Prime” model came out that this lawsuit appeared, which is a bit over the line.

      Does anyone here think that this tablet would really be called Transformer Prime, if Transformers had never existed? Or if lead character had been called Professor Pineapple?

    • boing
    • 8 years ago

    [quote<]I'd say Michael Bay and Shia LaBeouf have tarnished the Transformers franchise far more than Asus ever could[/quote<]Amen.

    • Ryhadar
    • 8 years ago

    In related news: Apple sues orchard owners for selling fruits under the same name. Are your children at risk? Details at eleven.

      • Walkintarget
      • 8 years ago

      Hahaaa, +1 to you my good man !!

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      Wasn’t there a transformer in the power supply of the Apple ][ ?? OMG, Apple owns the [i<]concept[/i<] of a transformer!! I'm going to dump my General Electric shares as quickly as I can!

      • xeridea
      • 8 years ago

      Followup story: Orchard owners counter-sue claiming they had the name first. “Please refer to Exhibit A: Dictionary.”

      Thats exactly what I was thinking, but your post is better. “Transformer” is also used in electrical terms, so it will probably be hard to sue over, much like many suits of the past have failed for similar reasoning.

      • Yeats
      • 8 years ago

      Congratulations, you win the Internet for today!

    • cheapFreeAgent
    • 8 years ago

    I don’t know what’s going on in Asus’ marketing department, when today you’ll get sued only because of a same color, design, finger gesture or even pixel. I believe a lot of TR users have predicted this when they announced this tablet.

    • sweatshopking
    • 8 years ago

    finally! this was coming, we all knew it. is it stupid? probably, but nothing is as exciting as lawsuits!

      • burntham77
      • 8 years ago

      I am only surprised it took this long.

      • dpaus
      • 8 years ago

      [quote<]nothing is as exciting as lawsuits![/quote<] Well, now I know what to give you for Christmas!

        • sweatshopking
        • 8 years ago

        hooray!!!! just what i always wanted!

    • indeego
    • 8 years ago

    Same old Same old: Streisand effect, Hasbro will drop this suit within the next month. The likelihood for confusion is minimal to nil, and this will garner lots of negative press.

      • Rurouni
      • 8 years ago

      People might not confuse this with a toy/movie, but a lot of people would ask about it and create a confusion. When I mention Asus Transformer to my friends, they immediately ask the relationship between it and the Hasbro one… Now Asus add a Prime… which I believe is stupid on Asus part. That is basically asking for trouble.

        • Sahrin
        • 8 years ago

        The Prime is worse, but as is Transformer is fine. “A technological device that uses electricity.” Yeah, I work in electronics, we use these all the time. I brought a Transformer home from work to show my kids. All could reasonably describe any three; the Hasbro toy is the second newest of them. This is like Apple trademarking “Apple” – they’re going to end up losing a trademark suit against a digital fruit company someday, and may it come very soon.

          • ludi
          • 8 years ago

          Dude…seriously? The whole point of the “Transformer” name as used by Asus is that the device rotates, folds, and otherwise changes configurations from one distinct form-factor to another. I had no trouble making the connection between the Asus product and the classic toy because the toy line has been around since I was in elementary school (launched: 1984) and they always did exactly that: rotate, fold, and otherwise change configurations from one distinct form-factor to another.

          Asus was already pushing the envelope of traditional trademark rights when they called their product line the “Transformer” and the “Transformer Prime” is just too obvious. The hornets may not come out of the nest after the first rock flies by, but score a direct hit and you best be wearing your track shoes.

            • lilbuddhaman
            • 8 years ago

            [quote<]The hornets may not come out of the nest after the first rock flies by, but score a direct hit and you best be wearing your track shoes.[/quote<] In this case it would be Bumblebee coming out of the nest BAZINGA!

          • insulin_junkie72
          • 8 years ago

          [quote<]This is like Apple trademarking "Apple" - they're going to end up losing a trademark suit against a digital fruit company someday, and may it come very soon.[/quote<] Apple already had problems going back to the '70s - the Beatles (whose company was named Apple) sued them, and they settled - with Apple vowing never to go into any music-related field as part of the settlement. Of course, zip forward a few decades to another lawsuit (and another settlement) between the two entities.

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