Legal dispute between Hasbro and Marvel over Dire Wraiths trademark

Discussion in 'Comic Books and Graphic Novels' started by Nevermore, Oct 2, 2016.

  1. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Posts:
    21,582
    News Credits:
    537
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Germany
    Likes:
    +16,614
  2. SG Roadbuster

    SG Roadbuster SG Wrecker

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2010
    Posts:
    7,066
    News Credits:
    4
    Trophy Points:
    287
    Location:
    Houston, TX
    Likes:
    +11,049
  3. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Posts:
    26,059
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    357
    Likes:
    +10,543
    I don't see how Hasbro could possibly think the Dire Wraiths didn't belong to Marvel. That was absolutely stupid on their part. Hasbro can register all the trademarks they like, but Marvel created them and has continued to use them in their larger comics universe many times since. I can't see Disney/Marvel losing this one.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  4. payres

    payres Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Sep 14, 2002
    Posts:
    10,530
    News Credits:
    193
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +11,431
    Ebay:
    I'm trying to recall if Dire Wraiths are mentioned on the original Rom toy packaging. That could be key either way.
     
  5. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Posts:
    26,059
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    357
    Likes:
    +10,543
    My memory is not 100% on that, and it's been a million years since I saw the original packaging, but my fuzzy memory says no.

    Here's what it looked like, if anyone has a higher resolution picture:

    [​IMG]

    No mention on the original commercial:

     
  6. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Posts:
    26,059
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    357
    Likes:
    +10,543
    Whoops, the Dire Wraiths are mentioned here:



    I don't know when this commercial aired, but if it predates the Marvel comic, Hasbro may have a point.
     
  7. 03Mach1

    03Mach1 Logic has been replaced with blind ignorance.

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2002
    Posts:
    16,916
    News Credits:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    387
    Likes:
    +2,755
    Ebay:
    • Like Like x 1
  8. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Posts:
    21,582
    News Credits:
    537
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Germany
    Likes:
    +16,614
    That's arguable, especially for the US. People aren't going to check every sightings forum for all 50 states of the US to find out if a new figure or wave has been sighted yet. Hence the "first sighting gets reported as news" tradition.

    Regarding other markets, it's definitely newsworthy if a new figure is released in another market before the US (especially so if the US release won't happen until many months later).

    That would be my position if I were a US-centric person.

    As someone not living in the US, I must say I find it great that we foreigners get any sort of actual representation in terms of new toy release reportings! Makes us feel as if we actually mattered.
     
    • Like Like x 6
  9. Novaburnhilde

    Novaburnhilde Sheepy sheepy sheepy

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2013
    Posts:
    23,541
    News Credits:
    45
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Likes:
    +48,067
    Marvel should probably be more concerned about the continuing decline of their comic sales and readership, rather than going after something like this. Just a thought.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  10. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Posts:
    26,059
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    357
    Likes:
    +10,543
    Any property is worth something. Especially if it would affect Marvel reprinting their own non-ROM material, which this would. There would be X-Men issues they couldn't reprint, and they are not having that.

    The way the law works is that Marvel is legally obligated to "vigorously defend" their trademark or they lose it automatically without Hasbro having to do anything. It's the same reason Harmony Gold acts like douchebags every time something related to Jetfire resembling a Valkyrie comes up, regardless of whether they're right or wrong. They have to or risk losing what little they do have.
     
  11. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Posts:
    21,582
    News Credits:
    537
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Germany
    Likes:
    +16,614
    Methinks a lot of people are confusing "copyright" and "trademark".

    This is supposedly a trademark conflict. It has no ramifications on whether Marvel can reprint X-Men issues featuring the characters or not, unless the name is mentioned on the cover.
     
  12. Sockie

    Sockie Veteran

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2011
    Posts:
    3,860
    News Credits:
    226
    Trophy Points:
    272
    Likes:
    +1,382
    It does. That was a Toyfair promo from early in 1979, and the Marvel comic didn't start until the end of that year.
     
  13. 3.8TransAM

    3.8TransAM Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 3, 2010
    Posts:
    5,045
    Trophy Points:
    227
    Location:
    Nw IN
    Likes:
    +174
    When will shithead stuck up companies ever pull their heads from their asses and work to something that would benefit them and the end users?

    Oh wait, never mind, carry on to destroy continuity some more please. Trust me Marvel and DC need no help there.
     
  14. motorthing

    motorthing Too old for this $hit

    Joined:
    Mar 17, 2013
    Posts:
    22,977
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    362
    Location:
    Sarf Lunnun Tarn
    Likes:
    +101,083
    Did Marvel create a Backstory for Hasbro prior to the toy line rather like Shooter/Budiansky did for the TF Tech Specs perhaps? That predates the comic in that case too.
     
  15. backhawkdown

    backhawkdown Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2015
    Posts:
    4,868
    Trophy Points:
    222
    Likes:
    +8,298
    All licensing is work for hire, so anything Marvel created in conjunction with Rom belonged to the original IP owner and thus was transferred to Hasbro when they bought it. You saw this with the G.I. Joe characters Marvel created but belong to Hasbro - Baroness, Kwinn, etc. Who created is irrelevant.

    So, no, there is a viable reason Hasbro has to believe it belongs to them.

    The second part is where it gets murky -- use. If Marvel continued to use them, and Hasbro or Parker Bros. never restricted them from doing so, the courts could deem Hasbro did not protect the TM and lost the rights and Marvel, by use, has the rights.
     
  16. Primeconvoy1

    Primeconvoy1 Cybertronian Broker

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2002
    Posts:
    6,877
    News Credits:
    5
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +6,507
    Ebay:
    Facebook:
    Twitter:
    Instagram:
    Tumblr:
    I can't see this going long for a trademark of secondary characters. Hasbro has a decent relationship with Marvel and by default, Disney. No way Hasbro is going to make waves and jeopardize that relationship just to protect a trademark for c-lister characters. They'll find some compromise.
     
  17. Nevermore

    Nevermore It's self-perpetuating a parahumanoidarianised!

    Joined:
    May 14, 2004
    Posts:
    21,582
    News Credits:
    537
    Trophy Points:
    412
    Location:
    Germany
    Likes:
    +16,614
    Again, we absolutely need to distinguish between copyright (the character concept) and trademark (the name). Two different things.

    Copyright belongs to whoever created it unless it was done under a contract that specifically states that copyright ownership is automatically transferred to the employer. Copyright also doesn't need to be actively defended in order to keep it.

    Trademark belongs to whoever used it recently in commerce, and protection does require actively defending the trademark against unauthorized use by competitors.


    Simply put: If Hasbro created the concept of the Dire Wraiths for Rom before approaching Marvel, the copyright belongs to Hasbro. If Marvel fleshed out the character concept beyond a mere name, the copyright belongs to Marvel, unless there was an explicit "work for hire" contract in effect. If the party who doesn't own the copyright used the concept, they committed copyright infringement and can be taken to court at any given time.

    If Marvel used the name "Dire Wraiths" recently in commerce (on a comic cover, as a comic title, in official advertisement etc.), the trademark belongs to Marvel. If Hasbro or one of their licensees used the name recently in commerce, the trademark belongs to Hasbro. If the party who doesn't currently own the trademark used the name in commerce, they committed trademark infringement, but if the party who owns the trademark doesn't take them to court anytime soon, it becomes "finders keepers".
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2016
    • Like Like x 2
  18. Dragonclaw

    Dragonclaw Briefly the owner of KB Toys

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2003
    Posts:
    7,902
    News Credits:
    6
    Trophy Points:
    337
    Likes:
    +2,931
    I'm fairly surprised to see this is an issue. the IDW series is all about the Dire Wraiths...and I know there was talk from them when Rom was first announced that they weren't sure they could use them. I suspected that the details got worked out in time for the IDW book. Seems like all companies involved in Rom actually have a positive relationship with each other (I'm still hoping we get graphic novel reprints for Rom and Micronauts the same way we got IDW classic Transformers and GIJoe)

    The Dire Wraiths have shown up in the Marvel comics, most recently in the 2011 annihilators miniseries
     
  19. SouthtownKid

    SouthtownKid Headmaster

    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2011
    Posts:
    26,059
    News Credits:
    1
    Trophy Points:
    357
    Likes:
    +10,543
    Yeah, I would buy Micronauts collected editions in a heartbeat. That series was amazing.
     
  20. Gaastra

    Gaastra Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Oct 9, 2006
    Posts:
    14,820
    News Credits:
    7
    Trophy Points:
    357
    Likes:
    +12,645
    I'm betting marvel made the story up for rom. I'm pretty sure they had the comic in the works before it was released. Maybe they were making up a story months before it come out. That's why it was in that ad. For all we know the rom comic could have been planned for half a year before it was released.

    Yes they have used them a few times. Including in avengers and the spackeknights spin=off mini series. They showed up in inhumans also. I'm sure marvel owns the rights but they are in good ties with idw right now so i'll bet they will let them use them for the comics.

    Here is their history.
    Dire Wraith - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia