Can HASBRO sue just anybody?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by bellpeppers, Jun 6, 2011.

  1. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    I read in another post earlier that HASBRO sued another toy company- possibly in Holland (could be wrong) over "transformable toys that they were making"- mostly parts-formers where the kibble became body armor and such.

    Is this remotely true? On what basis can they do such a dick-ish thing? Surely, anti-trust laws should prevent them from putting anyone else out of business- especially when their product doesn't look or share the same copyrighted names as HASBRO's I.P.. Right?

    HASBRO might own the brand name TRANSFORMERS... but can they own the concept of toys where vehicles turn into cars, etc?
     
  2. Kaymac

    Kaymac I'M REALLY FEELIN' IT!

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    I never heard of this, but Hasbro usually doesn't care about knockoffs or other transforming toy brands. They didn't get after Mega Bloks for Neo-Shifters, and look at all the third party stuff. Maybe when it forms a direct competition they take action, but who knows?

    Edit: Some reading on the subject.
     
  3. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    Hmmm... many of those cases cited makes me weary of what a "knock-off" actually is.

    It seemed that even original molds and transformations were considered rip-offs... which I want to know why.

    Yet, Happy Well seems to be a legitimate competitor with their Road Bots.
     
  4. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    Need more information before I can comment on how and why. Making a transforming robot isn't enough to cause Hasbro to sue but using the name transformers or other trademarks can.
     
  5. Nachtsider

    Nachtsider Banned

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    Did said Dutch toys look anything like existing TFs, by any chance, or perhaps share their names?
     
  6. Maetel

    Maetel Well-Known Member

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    for them to actually sue it'll have to be a blatant infringement of either hasbro's trademarks or patents or both such as the case of the high end g1 counterfeits, but without reading the article you mentioned, this thread is pretty much useless.
     
  7. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

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    The only way Hasbro has grounds to sue would be if that Dutch toy company infringed on Hasbro Copyright or used a name or word that's Trademarked by Hasbro.

    Without anything to go by (other than the OP's word), it's tough to tell.
     
  8. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    The only thing from Holland I could find that Hasbro sued over was a board game.
     
  9. Fishdirt

    Fishdirt Tin Toy Transformer

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    This.
     
  10. Geminii

    Geminii Toyetic multiformophile

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    Link?
     
  11. Grandum

    Grandum Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't a dutch company, it was a danish company, and they used terms like "transform" on the packaging. I think I might have one or 2 of those bots somewhere.

    But, no they can't sue anyone, just like the rest of the civilized world they are powerless in some certain countries like China where they knock off everything they can from clothes to watches to toys. It's a huge problem for the manufacturers to the extent that president Obama has time and again had meetings with the Chineese government to try and make them enforce copy right laws.

    So, no it's not that Hasbro don't want to sue people who copy their toys, it's because they are powerless to do it because of where it is done.

    Actions are constantly being taken though, for example here in Sweden if something gets stuck in customs from China (not sure about other countries)not only do you get a letter asking you to declare what is in the package and how much it is worth, but you also get warnings about it being illegal to buy knock offs.
     
  12. Grandum

    Grandum Well-Known Member

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    Found 'em - Roadbots, that's it. Basicly Happywell, the company that makes (made?) these tried to set up a distribution line in denmark, selling their products to major toystores that put them upnext to transformers for about 20% of the cost of a transformer. But when they did they got sued by Hasbro Nordic for x amount of millions, Hasbro won and the toys vanished off the shelves.

    Think I got a link to the official court proceedings somewhere, but it's all in Danish
     
  13. rxlthunder

    rxlthunder Banned

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    Its not exactly suing, but can't hasbro remove a toy reviewers videos if they are reviewing toys not yet released to the public since they are technically stolen property?
     
  14. SydneyY

    SydneyY @syd_tfw Veteran TFW2005 Supporter

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    Roadbots, really? They are sold in large retailers in Australia. But then again I recall a visiting American member expressing surprise upon finding Roadbots at retail. Hasbro AU must be more laid back.
     
  15. VictoryLeo19

    VictoryLeo19 Well-Known Member

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    what year did they supposedly sue?

    Edit: Unless this lawsuit is recent as within the past 9 months, then it's not real. Hasbro is only involved in litigation resulting in disagreements over tax assessments with portions of their interests in Mexico. Its Item 3 of the 2010 annual report if anyone is interested, first couple of pages you will see it. If they were involed in litigation with another toy company, that is definitely material enough for that to have been included.
     
  16. Ash from Carolina

    Ash from Carolina Junior Smeghead

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    US laws are a bit weird in that you can sue for even the most insane reasons. Always some news article about someone suing because the coffee they spilled in their lap was hot, attempting to sue for mental anguish because someone they didn't like won public office, or their wasn't a warning label to tell them not to use a product in a stupid way.

    Most of it gets thrown out, but yea you can attempt to sue on even flimsy grounds.

    Attempting to sue outside of the United States gets more complicated and more expensive so I'd only see Hasbro doing that if they thought they could win.
     
  17. Sentinel

    Sentinel TF Museum Curator Moderator News Staff

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    Yes, Hasbro can sue anyone over anything. Whether they actually have a claim or not is up for dispute and whether they will actually win based on that theory, who knows? Should they sue over every little infringement on their IP? Maybe if they are worried that they would be losing revenue over that product, or if they are worried that the new products will sully the reputation of their IP (ie, people mistake some crappy little company's transformer-like line as the real thing and complain about poor QC, then that would directly impact Hasbro's treasured and highly profitable IP and possibly cause a loss in sales).

    Another issue would be when the new company provides inferior products at a lower price point in an attempt to undersell Hasbro. When a parent looks on the shelves and sees Megatron for $20 and another company selling something that looks a lot like Megatron for $12, it is obvious which they will most likely buy, and that is directly causing a lose of profit to Hasbro and could be grounds for a suit. But it is iffy if they would win based on the free market system that we have in place.

    [I'm licensed to practice law in 2 states, but I am not an IP attorney]
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2011
  18. Grandum

    Grandum Well-Known Member

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    *facepalms*

    You do realise that I said Hasbro Nordic, right?

    Try again there, inspector Clouseau
     
  19. bellpeppers

    bellpeppers A Meat Popsicle

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    First off- I thought Roadbots were legal.

    Second of all, what about the MARS robots that populate Wal Marts?

    Third- what if I decided to make my own transforming line? Is turning a car into a robot enough of an IP for Hasbro to come after me? There is no likeness to any established character... no name usage... just changing. Is that enough?

    Can there be TransMorpher toys? (don't laugh).
     
  20. Grandum

    Grandum Well-Known Member

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    Depends on which country it is I'd say, I mean suing in a country where they have a company registered makes it just as easy to sue as it would be in the US...although, I guess it generally makes bigger headlines in other countries as companies suing eachother in the states is so common that nobody really cares anymore, for example did you know about these lawsuits?

    [​IMG]

    :p 
     

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