Troubling news comes to us via our sponsors Big Bad Toy Store
. Masterpiece MP-23 Exhaust - who is based on the Diaclone "Marlboro" Wheeljack - apparently cannot be sold legally in the USA.
The problem comes from the fact that Exhaust uses a shape on his design - the rectangle with a triangular portion removed from the bottom - which is alleged to infringe the trade dress of Marlboro & Phillip Morris USA. Under the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement, these marks cannot be used on products that could be intended for children.
(You could make an argument for Exhaust being an "adult collectable" as he is a part of the high-end Masterpiece series, but ultimately the wider Transformers brand is targeted at children, and there's where the "could be intended" part swings in and catches this one).
The upshot of all this is that Big Bad Toy Store has been asked to remove listings for Exhaust, and have complied - anyone who preordered has been transferred to a non-public listing on the off chance that Takara-Tomy alters the deco; should this not happen (and this fan thinks it is unlikely) Big Bad Toy Store will refund preorders as they, and potentially other USA based online retailers, will not be able to sell Masterpiece Exhaust in the USA.
Read on for the full text of the email update from Big Bad Toy Store