Why doesn't Hasbro enforce their intellectual property rights?

Discussion in 'Transformers Toy Discussion' started by Snark, May 17, 2011.

  1. Snark

    Snark Well-Known Member

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    So I'm a total newbie to Transformers toy collecting (got my first ever voyager last week; DotM Ironhide), and thus, I apologize if this question has already been asked and answered in the past.

    Anyway, I've recently found out that there's a pretty substantial market for 3rd party products. Whilst it has to be judged by a case by case basis, most of the 3rd party items I've seen are blatant violations of copyright.

    So why doesn't Hasbro sue for an injunction or even damages? It seems odd that they wouldn't put more effort in protecting the intellectual property rights to some of their most lucrative products.
     
  2. misterd

    misterd Well-Known Member

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    My understanding is the third parties are either in countries outside Hasbro's reach, or alter the product enough to make a violation difficult to prove.
     
  3. mx-01 archon

    mx-01 archon Well-Known Member

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    Best guesses are that, for the time being, they're essentially letting them be, as a form of fan service. While there's all sorts of legal grey area (or outright illegal bootlegging) going on, the 3rd Party groups haven't made any real moves on Hasbro's profits. They might even provide fringe benefits, in terms of keeping interest in the franchise high as a whole: essentially, free advertising.

    Hasbro's certainly not ignorant of their existence. IIRC, Eric Seibenaler owns City Commander himself.

    While this is true to a point, it is well within their capability of halting their sales by putting pressure on the retailers that sell them. IIRC, that's part of what killed the original iteration of Ages Three and Up. Hasbro forced them to stop selling the bootleg G1 replica figures, which left them holding on to a pile of unsalable stock that they had already paid good money for.
     
  4. Snark

    Snark Well-Known Member

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    Hasbro has the copyrights to their products in every jurisdiction the product is published (i.e sold) in. Meaning they should have the relevant copyright in nearly every country which has a market for Transformers. Furthermore, most countries have legislation recognizing the owner to a copyright even if their work hasn't been published in that country.

    Also, even if they can't reach the actual makers of the 3rd party goods, its still within their power to seek an injunction on resellers who may be located in jurisdictions that do recognize their copyright.

    And the requirement to show a breach of copyright is that the alleged copy is a "substantial" reproduction of the work. Despite what the term may imply, "substantial" doesn't have to mean a majority of the work was copied. In fact, only a small part may have been copied. What is required is that the portion copied ultimately forms the essence of the work, which is a very arguable case for most of these 3rd party items.
     
  5. Boy Constrictor

    Boy Constrictor Well-Known Member

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    becuase they can take legal action doesn't mean it's worth the time/money spent to do so

    which i'm guessing is the main reason they haven't
     
  6. 03Mach1

    03Mach1 Reason Has No Voice

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    One word: China.
     
  7. Ratchets Hatch

    Ratchets Hatch Explosions?

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    Personally, I have never bought any third party stuff, but this is what I've gleaned:

    1. Third party products always cost more, so they don't pose a threat to Hasbro, who can mass produce and sell figures for much less money.

    2. Third party products like Warbot Defender mainly appeal to collectors, whereas most Hasbro/Takara products are marketed to kids.

    3. The legal costs aren't worth it.
     
  8. bny888

    bny888 バグバイト

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    Maybe the same reason they have stopped running after sellers of "prototypes".
     
  9. lars573

    lars573 Well-Known Member

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    Yes all that is true. Here's two other concepts, de jure and de facto. While Hasbro does have all that stuff most places on the planet, save Japan (de jure). Some places (read Peoples Republic of China) won't enforce their laws and protect the groups that violate the copyrights of Hasbro (de facto.)

    Which they have see A3&U situation. And on ebay.

    A purple robit that turns into a laser gun or a red and blue one that turns into a truck can't be subjected to copyrights. The names and the faction symbols and the term Transformers (in regards to toys) are what Hasbro can and does enforce.
     
  10. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    It usually not worth the effort/money for Hasbro to do something unless it affects their profits. Hasbro only moved to stop the sells of KO's when they got so good that it was hard to tell the difference from the originals thus causing an IP issues for their long-term rights.

    What killed A3U wasn't the KO's. Completely different issue.
     
  11. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    3rd party companies normally have to have some kind of license to distribute products under the first party's, (the seller) supervision, to enhance the relationship with the 2nd party (customer). normally, 3rd party companies pay their dues to the first company. normally these are define as add-ons not complete figures.

    whoever thought of the name for these products now separates KOs and these products in the eyes of a lot of fans. believe it or not a lot of fans don't see it this way. probably because these companies give them what they want and support it very hard to continue doing so.

    anyway, to answer your question, there are bigger KO companies out there that have been doing this longer than these companies have and are still there. tak/bro knows about but has done little do refrain retailers from selling them. these ones are new, tak/bro should deal with the G1 KO first then deal with these companies later. the first is more blatant and have been there way longer.
     
  12. NGW

    NGW Rawr

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    Because outside of certain groups (such as..I believe it is iGear) that are making almost exact replicas..just scaled down or some such, most of them aren't outright doing anything wrong.
     
  13. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    this should be asked directly to takara and hasbro :)  would be really nice to hear tak/bro stance on this. i think takara is already stretching its legal muscles on this.

    http://www.tfw2005.com/transformers...-products-in-japan-update---maybe-not-171889/

    hasbro is like anglophones in fighting for their rights in quebec, pussy.
     
  14. Tiller

    Tiller I don't know nothin'

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    No, because then it would be forcing them to acknowledge their existence. If Hasbro plays it cool and ignores third parties that aren't really doing anything wrong (AKA: Not Igear) everyone is happy.

    And to my knowledge the law in Japan is that you can't sell custom figures at all over there, and from odd extension of that applies to things like third parties.
     
  15. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

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    Trademark and Copyright laws don't cross International borders, since each country has their own set of laws. Which is why Hasbro owns the Transformers brand in North America, Europe, Australia, and some of Asia (Hong Kong, Philippines...), TakaraTomy has Japan, and Mocom (and formerly Sonokong) has Korea. Most "Third Party" companies operate out of Hong Kong (as far as I know).

    Ultimately though, it's not really worth it to try and sue, or send Cease and Desist orders. It's not like these "Third Party" companies are taking consumers away from Hasbro or TakaraTomy products. They market and sell to a Collector's Market which only makes up 10-15% of Hasbro's sales nationwide. And most of these "Third Party" products have been designed to work in conjunction with official Hasbro/TakaraTomy product anyway, so it causes sales to increase if anything.

    Simply put, as long as they don't put Autobot or Decepticon emblems anywhere, or use the name "Transformers" on packaging, there's no reason to bring any "Third Party" company to litigation.
     
  16. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    if they are not really doing anything wrong why shouldn't someone address this directly to pussy hasbro?
     
  17. videriant

    videriant Well-Known Member

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    ^^ As long as Hasbro is looking the other way it's a grey, questionable area so they are doing nothing wrong. Forcing Hasbro to address the question makes it more black and white, right and wrong. The question is, in what way would forcing Hasbro the address the issue benefit anybody?
     
  18. seali_me

    seali_me Well-Known Member

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    licensing them as official 3rd party products produced by the huge hasbro factories. go ahead ask at the upcoming botcon and/or tfcon.
     
  19. brr-icy

    brr-icy G1 Collector

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    the question's been asked already, no need to ask it again, and there is no way in hell that^ would happen
     
  20. QmTablit

    QmTablit Disguise: Check. Robot...

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    But that would make the "Third Party" product... official Hasbro product. Defeat of purpose.
     

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