Harmony Gold suing hasbro over the SDCC Jetfire set

Discussion in 'Transformers News and Rumors' started by sokutai, Jul 24, 2013.

  1. Keldroc

    Keldroc Well-Known Member

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    That's still not much of a case, then. HG's argument will be that Hasbro is infringing on HG's license and that the use of trademarked property to sell toys at SDCC robs HG of revenue. However, if the art in question is inside the box, it's not being used to sell the toy, as a prospective buyer cannot see it. If it's inside the box and not visible until after purchase, it's merely a "historical document" that records a known product in Hasbro's past. HG might as well sue a retrospective book about TFs for including a picture of G1 Jetfire's toy. HG's case will further be hindered by the fact that they have never tried to sell a product containing a Jetfire-decoed Veritech in the Robotech line.

    It's essentially impossible for HG to prove their case, as the art is inaccessible to potential buyers and the toy itself is a non-transforming version of the character that is a remold of a toy Hasbro originally released in stores in 1983, two full years before Robotech premiered in the US and likely before HG even had the license to SDF Macross at all. It's very clearly patterned on the Grumman F-14 Tomcat, just as the Macross Valkyries were, and no claim that one is derivative of the other can really be asserted or proven since they're both derivatives of another company's product in the first place (Grumman's F-14).

    Finally, the most glaring tell that HG is just looking for some quick "go away and shut up" money is their hilarious demand that Hasbro go get the toys back from everyone who bought one at SDCC, which they know full well is impossible. HG just wants Hasbro to pay them to go away, and in all likelihood that's exactly what will happen, because it's cheaper to do that than deal with what may end up being exorbitant court fees. However, if Hasbro's legal team feels they could turn the tables on HG and hit them with a frivolous suit judgment, that could force HG to pay both parties' legal fees, which would be just delicious to watch. It wouldn't take HG down, I don't think, because they actually mostly trade in real estate these days (and pre-Robotech, as well), but it might at least result in some loosening of their deathgrip on Macross/Robotech in the West.
     
  2. Scaleface

    Scaleface Well-Known Member

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    Don't be so quick. Looks like Hasbro did screw up by using expired IP in the art. IP that Harmony Gold does own legally. This suit looks legit.
     
  3. yami4ct

    yami4ct Well-Known Member

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    I just read over the brief. It's really interesting and I recommend people check it out.

    Some points I found most fascinating:

    90% of the brief is HG trying to justify their rights to the valkyrie. I understand the legal reasons, but it's funny all the same.

    They are reaching hard on the damages. Even if they do win, they likely won't get all they're after. It's clear they're throwing stuff at the wall to see what sticks.

    Finally, nothing in the brief describes EXACTLY what in the set they see as causing the infringement. Is it the color patterns (The patterns are quite a bit like the VF-1, but with the color swapped)? Is it the fastpack? Is it even the toy itself or is it the included card?

    Overall, I'm going to be hooked to any news we get on this. Whatever way it goes, this is going to be a fun suit to watch. The only problem is suits like this are more often than not settled with an NDA so we never know the true result.
     
  4. BulletSponge

    BulletSponge Well-Known Member

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    When is the last time anyone here saw any sort of veritech for sale in the US? Outside of resellers on eBay?

    Yamato / Arcadia, Toynami, and Bandai have been making them for nearly 20 years and the last one I saw for sale was G1Jetfire when I was 8 years old...
    Screw you Harmony Gold
     
  5. phoenixliger

    phoenixliger Ogre

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    So BMW can sue becuase hasbro used g1 art of bumblebee yeah this would open up a whole can of worms. As far as the art work goes the original art is owned by hasbro they bought and paid for it. If what HG is claiming that means that all collectors would have to turn over there original g1 jetfire and art associated with there design simpley becuase hasbro no longer owns rights now. Not saying thats whats going to happen but that seems to be what there implicating
     
  6. MachSabre

    MachSabre Blackmarket T-Cog Dealer

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    You are right that Hasbro is not allowed to use new images of a Valkyrie in their material... But you're wrong, because it does not include material that was approve PRIOR to the agreement. The artwork and the toy was approved before Harmony Gold or Bandai or whoever the hell it was that brought concerns to it. When I say artwork, I'm talking THAT SPECIFIC card art. It's the Generation One box art, from 1984, when it was approved. If Hasbro made NEW artwork or even modified the original artwork that looked like the Valkyrie... Then yes, you'd be 100% correct that Hasbro boned it here. But they didn't since it's the same artwork... That's what I mean by they can't "grandfather clause" it in.

    Hasbro can still use THAT specific artwork. They just can't make more of it that looks like it.
     
  7. phoenixliger

    phoenixliger Ogre

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    Very true
     
  8. Keith Prime

    Keith Prime Advanced Engineer

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    1) I doubt it's just the Fast Pack.
    2) HG does have a claim to the colors used (specifically, they're associated w/ the lead character). It doesn't have to be an exact toy they put the colors on.
    3) Classics Jetfire was too different from a Valkyrie for them to do anything.

    They can't sue over a mode formed halfway through transforming the thing. It's a function of the transformation, unless it looked exactly like a Valkyrie's Gerwalk mode.

    The follow up to Shadow Chronicles is titled Shadow Rising (which I've known the title of for over a year, possibly a few), which has been on hiatus due to HG making a live action Robotech movie, which finally got a director 2 weeks ago.
     
  9. outback

    outback Member at Large

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    Poor Harmony Gold. They squander the Robotech license for decades and all of a sudden they are claiming intellectual property infringement! This is the most attention they have brought to their neglected "properties" in years! Just more sad news from a company which should be suing itself for poor management of a story which had such potential.
     
  10. dare

    dare Well-Known Member

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    From my meager memory of legal class...

    It's no question that the SDCC Skystriker does bear an undeniable resemblance to the original. It's not relevant what line it's in or whether it can transform. HG claims ownership to the likeness, not the toy expression itself.

    This case will really boil down to 2 things:

    1) Hasbro's contracted terms of originally using the Jetfire/Macross mold.
    While Jetfire the Valkyrie is not licensed for use in other mediums, if Hasbro can prove that they still have claims on the original toy release, they could win this based on the Skystriker homaging that exact version. They seem to still have claims over the likenesses of their other non-Takara robots like Roadbuster, Whirl, Omega Supreme and Shockwave (and even the wave 2 insecticons, based on the new minicon with the Legends Megs), so perhaps something in their 80's contracts still protects them.

    2) I am not sure HG has full legal claim over all Macross likeness. It's obvious Bandai owns it all, what with revoltechs having licensed them in various forms before. It could just be a case of no one bothering to challenge HG's word til now. it's quite possible they actually only have stakes in some kind of limbo license (Like Hasbro and Gobots, where they only own part of the property but can't do anything proper with it). My guess is that HG owns the Robotech concept, but not the designs. They own the original expression of it (all artwork or animation created AS Robotech in the 80's), but cannot do anything new without Bandai's buy in. I'm guessing any Robotech hollywood movie will not be able to use a design that is too similar to the Macross VFs either.
     
  11. Takeshi357

    Takeshi357 "Research"

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    And the funny thing is, even that is pretty dodgy to begin with!
     
  12. grimlock1972

    grimlock1972 Optimus, serving up the primest of ribs since 1984

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    HG is clearly fishing for a fat settlement and hoping Hasbro settles and avoid taking it to court.

    I would like to know how the battleoid pic got past hasbro's legal dept. thats what they pay those guys for.
     
  13. Keith Prime

    Keith Prime Advanced Engineer

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    The Robotech movie is supposed to be the original story (Toby Maguire has been asking for Rick's part). It should have VF-1 Valkyries, or the fan backlash will be epic.
     
  14. ginrai

    ginrai lost with no way home.

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    I know, it's such a shame.. we got a couple of decent video games and some comics in the early 2000's and then nothing until shadow chronicles.. which took forever to appear.. and ended without really resolving any more than the original show did.. and now one new ep.. it's a shame.. as behind Transformers it was definitely my second favorite..
     
  15. Omegax80

    Omegax80 Using a Positive Rifle

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    The lawsuit hit after SDCC started, right? Maybe they got wind of it once pictures started hitting the web?
     
  16. MrFX

    MrFX Collecting never ends...

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    This...a thousand times this.
     
  17. phoenixliger

    phoenixliger Ogre

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    After reading up on a few things i can see why HG is doing this. If they were the ones who created the art work in the first place theyed have those rights. From every thing i can gather this may just be a well orchestrated advertising for the new movie not only does it help put word out there but it will connect it to transformers and that alone will push movie goers to see hell it worked for battleship why not robotech
     
  18. WilyMech

    WilyMech Well-Known Member

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    The thing is puzzling me with #2 is that Bandai should be one suing not HG in regards to Jetfire new look. If there is a violation with the designs then Bandai would be the ones suing it would make more sense.
     
  19. openchallenge

    openchallenge Enough with the exclusives.

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    Of course they filed suit after. Serving a c&d would have prevented the possibility of money. They filed right after which should be brought up in court.
    They idly watched and jumped out screaming my neck!
     
  20. primetime77

    primetime77 Well-Known Member

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    SCREW harmony gold. What they do own is big west's "IP" or macross and they claim any drivative works outside of japan. They've basically ruined macross outside of japan for almost 30 years. They sued when macross plus an macross II were released on video here in the 90s. its a pity teh courts usually side with HG and not big west. There is a reason we barely get macross here and have to import anything that is decent. SCREW HG. The "likeness" they are sueing over doens't really exist. Are they claiming they own the F-14? maybe northrop grumman should sue HG over the VF-1 if it was that close. Are they also saying that anything with a jetpack over a swing wing plane can be confused with a Vf-1/macross jet? LOL HG LOL. big HG hater right here. lol.

    The SDCC skystriker makes a sideways reference/homage to the original toy which was legally licensed no matter how butthurt HG was that they couldn't get he license around that time to make or market a transforming VF-1 toy in the 80s. It would not be confused at all or mistaken for a macross or robotech product. This is just a money grab and continued attempt to tighten the stranglehold on the macross license. Hasbro did what they could to make it different. first of all the jetpacks are TINY cmpared to what they were on jetfire. secondly the angles are all reversed actually on the leading edge. It bares only a vague resemblance and i hope teh courts throw this frivolous case out. FUCK HG.