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Asus sued by Hasbro over use of Transformer name

Posted: , by Alan F.

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Asus sued by Hasbro over use of Transformer name
It seems that every day there is a new lawsuit in the smartphone or tablet industry. And the plaintiff in Wednesday's lawsuit of the day is not even a technology company. Toy maker Hasbro is taking tech manufacturer Asus to court for using the name Transformer for the Asus Transformer Prime tablet. Those who pre-ordered the quad-core powered device should be receiving the tablet very soon as those orders have started to ship, as we reported earlier on Wednesday. Hasbro is seeking damages and a temporary halt of sales of the NVIDIA Tegra 3 powered tablet.

The Asus Transformer Prime with detachable QWERTY

The Asus Transformer Prime with detachable QWERTY

While this sounds like a ridiculous waste of time to many, Hasbro could, at the least, get Asus to change the name of the tablet in the States. The toy company can argue that with a successful movie franchise using Hasbro's copyright protected characters by license, Asus was taking advantage of the popularity of the Transformer name to sell its product. Companies in different industries can use similar names if it is proven in court that Company A was not taking advantage of the popularity of Company B's product in picking a similar name. Still, it would seem unlikely that consumers could be confused by the use of the Transformer name by Asus, which is what Hasbro's attorneys are going to have to prove.

The Transformer franchise started with toys made by Hasbro back in 1984, and revolves around two groups of alien robots that are in the midst of a war. One is called the Autobots and the others are the Decepticons. Three feature length films have been released featuring the robots that can transform into mechanical objects like a car. The Transformer name in the Asus tablet references the detachable QWERTY keyboard that can turn the tablet into an Android powered laptop computer.

source: paidContent via CNET

49 Comments
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posted on 21 Dec 2011, 21:27 16

1. Giggity (Posts: 147; Member since: 17 Nov 2011)


Just as ridiculous as Vivid suing HTC over the usage of "Vivid".

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 05:09 7

28. shafboy (Posts: 179; Member since: 26 Sep 2010)


In all honesty I think Asus should actually be scared. The whole autobot team can take them any day.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 09:55 2

34. theoak (Posts: 322; Member since: 16 Nov 2011)


There are only so many words folks ... a yard for example ... is it something behind a home, a unit of measurement ... eventually a word is going to get reused.

This is lame.

posted on 23 Dec 2011, 07:46

42. sumdude (Posts: 50; Member since: 20 Oct 2011)


No way, this is far worse. Vivid was relatively unexpected whereas even the blindest of the blind saw Hasbros lawsuit coming mile away. Seriously, at least, the fact dawned on the Nexus partners before they released a migraine in a courtroom by Hasbro.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 21:31 7

2. JordanCox (Posts: 21; Member since: 17 Apr 2011)


That is literally the dumbest thing i have ever heard. What Dips**ts.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 21:50

4. quakan (Posts: 1223; Member since: 02 Mar 2011)


Same thing happened when the droid came out, if you guys remember.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 22:34 5

10. Sniggly (Posts: 7183; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


No it didn't. Verizon simply licensed the name to begin with, because Lucas literally invented the word "DROID".

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 21:51 16

5. warrenellis (Posts: 55; Member since: 06 Apr 2011)


i guess with hasbro suing over the name transformer then the next step is LG OPTIMUS and nexus PRIME

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 22:08

7. Corpsemaker (Posts: 63; Member since: 10 Jul 2010)


Hilarious!!!

posted on 23 Dec 2011, 17:06 2

43. corporateJP (Posts: 1865; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


LG had a working agreement with Hasbro and special marketing for the Versa when the Transformer movies came out, so I'd find it unlikely that "Optimus" offends anybody at Hasbro if it's coming from the LG camp.

Asus' mistake where putting the words "Transformer" and "Prime" together on this thing. Purely boneheaded on their marketing team. When you get two seperate words trademarked by another company, stick them together, and place it on your merchandise, you put your self into a bad position from the get-go. Asus was clearly trying to evoke the image of a badass, powerful machine. They did it at another company's expense. They are lucky I'm not the judge.

It should come to nobody's suprise if Hasbro wins this one.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 22:08 4

8. Whateverman (Posts: 3233; Member since: 17 May 2009)


Ya know, I think Hasbro actually has a point here. Asus got away with calling the first tablet the Transformer...and that was cool because it fits and it doesn't immediately remind you of the cartoon. LG even got away with calling just about every phone the make some sort of Optimus. But when you add "Prime" to "Transformer"...anyone who grew up watching the cartoon gets a flashback of Optimus Prime. Maybe the Transformer 2 doesnt have the same ring to it, but it may keep Hasbro off their backs.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 04:09 4

27. andro. (Posts: 1971; Member since: 16 Sep 2011)


They should make a deal between asus and hasbro where the Transformer Prime tablet comes with your choice of an autobot or decepticon logo embezzled in the back of the tab,it'd be so cool.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 09:15

31. xshurikx (Posts: 6; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)


T Mobile used a picture of Transformers movie when they were marketing that phone if thats not a play on word I dont know what is and I dont remember them being sued

posted on 23 Dec 2011, 17:10 1

45. corporateJP (Posts: 1865; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


It's called a marketing agreement. They PAID for it. Read the fine print below the pictures on all the marketing material, if you are not illiterate.

I'm starting to have doubts about people...

posted on 23 Dec 2011, 17:10

46. corporateJP (Posts: 1865; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


Dead on.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 22:20 6

9. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5647; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


i agree with Whateverman. i think Hasbro is on justifiable grounds here. Transformer is one thing but Transformer Prime? c'mon.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 13:52 1

39. ardent1 (Posts: 1999; Member since: 16 Apr 2011)


I agree. With just "transformer, Asus has a good case. But transformer and prime together does cross the line.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 22:35 1

11. Sniggly (Posts: 7183; Member since: 05 Dec 2009)


I'm almost as offended as I was when I watched Transformers 2.

I can see where Hasbro may have a point, but the two markets are so dissimilar that it's unlikely that anyone would buy the TP because of its name.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 22:38 2

12. davin8r (Posts: 45; Member since: 28 Apr 2011)


If my new tablet gets even *further* delayed because of Hasbro, I am going to be royally pissed!!!!!

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 23:11 7

13. remixfa (Posts: 14188; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


i dont see why anyone is so up in arms about it. Honestly, i figured they worked out some kind of naming deal behind the scenes. Transformer is close enough but transformer AND Prime is a direct attempt at using the franchise's current popularity. As a fan of both the tablet and the franchise... im not really bothered by it, but obviously Hasbro needs to keep their licences in check.

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 23:13

14. christianqwerty (Posts: 460; Member since: 05 May 2011)


LOL ....

posted on 21 Dec 2011, 23:35 4

15. jovah (Posts: 4; Member since: 19 Dec 2011)


This is hilarious, I dont care what happens. I got mine and the box says transformer prime baby!!!

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 00:19 1

17. LordBonztie (Posts: 51; Member since: 14 Nov 2011)


its a matter of licensing and what nots.
hasbro came first with using the name "transformer".
asus is just using it too much this time.
they think their getting away with or hasbro will still allow.
i know hasbro has been monitoring this.

i even had a thought that the LG Optimus has something to do with the movie.

people sometimes need to understand that their satisfaction should not be weighed just becaused they want something because this would ruin a name or stature or legacy.

people should learn how to respect each other.

lets not be like crabs inside a basket trying to pull each other while attempting to get out of the bag.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 02:25 2

26. doniking (Posts: 2; Member since: 22 Dec 2011)


i thought it was Michael Faraday who was first using the name transformer!

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 00:44 1

19. Jericho (Posts: 302; Member since: 12 Nov 2011)


hmm Hasbro sued asus they got what was coming to them. Hasbro may may not sue lg because in transformers revenge of the fallen everybody had lg phones. And secondly remember the special edition lg optimus tablet turning into a robot and smashing the apple so lg may have some legal thing going on so thats just what i think.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 01:19

22. bbblader (Posts: 583; Member since: 24 Oct 2011)


So Asus should sue Transformer Optimus Prime too?

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 01:47

23. ivanko34 (Posts: 617; Member since: 04 Sep 2011)


Transformer is only just an ordinary common name
There cannot be copyright on it

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 13:00

37. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5647; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


that's why they didn't say anything about the original Transformer but Transformer PRIME is just asking for trouble.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 02:15 1

24. Bluesky02 (Posts: 1439; Member since: 05 Dec 2011)


No surprise, i was expecting this lawsuit. The first time i saw Asus Transformer name it did remind me of transformer movie. I was wondering why haven't they been sued?
Now it happened!
Keep it up Asus, hoping to transform your tablet into laptop using the dock.
Btw Asus Eee Pad Transformer Prime sound ridiculously long name for a product

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 07:58 2

29. InspectorGadget80 (Posts: 6741; Member since: 26 Mar 2011)


Knew this was coming.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 08:28

30. rendHELL (Posts: 304; Member since: 09 Nov 2011)


I want one... waaaa.....

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 09:18

32. xshurikx (Posts: 6; Member since: 14 Dec 2011)


At the end of the day just ship me my tablet I dont care who sues who I just want it and i dont care what you call it either the T2, Transformer Prime, TP, The most awesome tablet to date, it really doesnt matter just get it in consumer hands so we can enjoy it. I personally love the Transformer movies and I love Asus and the hardware they put out but this lawsuit is just a way for the company to gain more publicity, and waste our time holding up sales and shipments of the product.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 09:38 1

33. pegasso (Posts: 189; Member since: 27 Nov 2011)


"a transformer is a device that transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductively coupled conductors—the transformer's coils."
- Wikipedia

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 11:00 3

36. remixfa (Posts: 14188; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yes. thats why Hasbro didnt sue when it was simply the Asus "transformer". Now its the "Transformer Prime".... which in a fans mind (mine for example), my brain reads it as "Transformer """Optimus""" Prime", which I'm sure was its intended purpose. Asus was seeing how close they could get to the Transformers property without actually paying hasbro to stick the autobot (or deceptacon) logo on the thing.

Hasbro is simply protecting an obvious encroachment on its brand identity which it has every right to do. They really should have worked out a licencing deal behind the scenes. Like I said in the other post, I assumed they did with naming it so obviously.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 13:02

38. KingKurogiii (Posts: 5647; Member since: 23 Oct 2011)


and i guess you mean to tell me that's why the Tablet that turns into a Laptop is named the Transformer huh?

posted on 23 Dec 2011, 17:18 1

48. corporateJP (Posts: 1865; Member since: 28 Nov 2009)


"Transformer" isn't the issue. Nobody bothered them.

But, they decided to stick "Prime" on it as well.

"Optimus" has nothing to do with it.

Look up the litigation, Hasbro has "Transformers Prime" copywritten.

Remix is dead-on.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 10:14 1

35. shifu (Posts: 44; Member since: 23 Nov 2011)


............Lets talk about how im waiting FOR mine RIGHT NOW FROM THE UPS PPL!

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 15:08 3

40. RORYREVOLUTION (Posts: 3042; Member since: 12 Jan 2010)


They wont try to ban the transformer prime tablet they just want money out of it.

posted on 22 Dec 2011, 19:31 2

41. remixfa (Posts: 14188; Member since: 19 Dec 2008)


yup, apple is the only one that sues to ban people.

i hope they work out some sort of cross liscensing deal that everyone is happy with. Maybe we get a special limited edition logo'ed tablet. If its done right, I'd pick one up.

posted on 24 Dec 2011, 14:00 1

49. roscuthiii (Posts: 1873; Member since: 18 Jul 2010)


Does this mean I may not be seeing the Asus Transformer Grimlock I've been hoping for?

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