Should Hasbro/Diaclone have their asses sued?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Glitcher, Sep 21, 2008.

  1. Glitcher

    Glitcher Banned

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    This is a question that has been bugging me for like... forever. We all know that these days, Hasbro tries to model some of their Transformers' alt modes on actual vehicles - such as Universe Prowl's Nissan 350Z or Sunstreaker's Lamborghini Gallardo - but is careful enough to make subtle changes to the design to avoid infringement. A textbook case would be Classics Bumblebee, who was distanced from his original Volkswagen Beetle mode, given the company's stance on promoting their vehicles as machines of war.

    It's all understandable. The question is, why didn't these rules apply in the 1980's? I somehow doubt Hasbro and Diaclone managed to obtain the licenses for all the vehicles they carefully reproduced, least of all Volkswagen. And even if the practice was legal back then, I sincerely doubt Hasbro would be allowed to rerelease the figures in the Encore line without paying royalties. So how come every vehicle company and their grandmother isn't breaking down Hasbro's door, demanding their share of the dough? How can Hasbro possibly rerelease Bumblebee without Volkswagen clamping down on them?
     
  2. NemesisBruticus

    NemesisBruticus Banned

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    Cause there old? The cars are outdated? They dont care? YOU DECIDE. *DUN DUN DUN*
     
  3. Ramrider

    Ramrider TF Art Lad

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    It's TakaraTomy who would be in trouble for releasing the Encores if anyone was. Hasbro are having nothing to do with it - and Diaclone's a defunct 70s/80s toyline, so if anyone tries to sue them, they won't care because they're die-cast. :p 
     
  4. Aaron

    Aaron Master of Crystalocution Moderator Content Contributor

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    Back in the proverbial day, there wasn't the same insanity of "cross-branding" and protection of images/likenesses as there is now.
     
  5. Optimatron

    Optimatron Autobot

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    Volkswagen seems to be back on board with the Transformers thing..seeing as how the Audi R8 is in the new movie...so I doubt they're gonna sue Hasbro now and get their piece of the pie yanked.
     
  6. Dinobot Nuva

    Dinobot Nuva Johnny 3 Tears Veteran

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    No.
    DN
     
  7. Spekkio

    Spekkio Master of War

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    It's a legitimate question. IANAL, though I've finished the first two Phoenix Wright games.

    But yeah, they change enough to make it fuzzy...and back in the 1980s, Apple Computer sued Microsoft over "look and feel" and lost. So if something looks similar or feels similar, but isn't identical - then it's sorta in the clear.

    Another thought: if Hasbro makes something that resembles a 350Z that turns into a robot, that in no way competes with Nissan's ability to sell the actual car. The only people that might have an issue would be another toy company selling models of the 350Z - and given that those aren't really competition either (car toy versus Transformers toy) - it's pretty much in the clear.

    I suppose people could throw lawsuits around if they really wanted to, but it would cost everyone a lot more than it's worth.
     
  8. Scantron

    Scantron Well-Known Member

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    In the US, the law was different in the 1980s, so this wasn't an issue when the toys were first produced and released.

    As far as the Encore line, that's released by TakaraTomy, not Hasbro (unless I missed something and Hasbro is reissuing Bumblebee somewhere). TakaraTomy is based in Japan and would be subject to Japanese laws in the manner of using vehicle likenesses. These laws are undoubtedly different from those in the US and may not allow automobile manufacturers to sue for royalties for use of a likeness.
     
  9. Grimlock_13

    Grimlock_13 Reformed Geewunner

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    Same reason G1 Megatron was allowed to be sold in US stores back then...laws change.
     
  10. SCPrime

    SCPrime Well-Known Member

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    But hasbro did reissue G1's a couple of years ago with their Commerative series...

    It could be statued of limitations, grandfathering, or patent expired on these older vehicles.
     
  11. Dremare

    Dremare Had an Epiphany

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    Yea, back then in the 1980s the laws were different from now, so even if all the vehicle companies try to sue them, it would probably be defunct.
     

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