Judge denies Hasbro's request to force Asus to change the name of its Asus Transformer Prime tablet

Judge denies Hasbro's request to force Asus to change the name of its Asus Transformer Prime tablet
It isn't just tech companies taking each other to court over alleged patent infringement these days. Now we have a company like Hasbro, which is in the playful toy industry, taking a tech company like Asus to court in an attempt to block it from using the Transformer name on its tablets. Hasbro, as many of you former kids know, is the company behind the still-popular Transformer toy line (started in 1984) which spawned cartoon series and three blockbuster movies. Besides using the Transformer name on two of its tablets, Asus named one the Transformer Prime which certainly brings to mind arguably the most famous character in the Hasbro Transformer series, Optimus Prime.

Hasbro had originally filed a lawsuit last year seeking damages and a temporary injunction to block sales of the Asus Transformer Prime. At the time, the judge tried to explain the cartoon series by saying, "The Autobots are led by the virtuous Optimus Prime character, while the Decepticons follow the powerful Megatron. According to Hasbro, Optimus Prime is intended to epitomize honor, duty, leadership, and freedom." Hasbro created the "Transformers Prime" CGI series in November 2010 (check the video below). The series focused on Optimus Prime which is why the "Prime" name was used in the title of the animated series. Aired in 170 countries, the series received several Emmy nominations and awards. The Asus Transformer Prime was launched last December while the Asus Eee Pad Transformer was released in April 2011.

The Asus Transformer Prime, transformed into a laptop

The Asus Transformer Prime, transformed into a laptop

The judge presiding over the case used a simple legal test by asking if there would be any confusion between those who own or want to buy the Asus Transformer Prime, and those who own or want to buy the Transformer toys, games or video. The decision that he came to was that the average consumer would not believe that the Asus tablets were a Hasbro product. He also felt that using the Transformer name on the tablet was proper since both the Asus Eee Pad Transformer and the Asus Transformer Prime both "transform" from a tablet into a laptop when connected to the special QWERTY keyboard docks available for both Asus devices. "There is nothing gimmicky about the Eee Pad Transformer or the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, nor can it be said that there is any similarity in the use or function between Hasbro and Asus’s products," said the judge. And even though Hasbro is planning on offering a new line of Transformer Prime toys this month, the judge added that it is too late for Hasbro to ask for a preliminary injunction against the use of the Transformers name by Asus.

Hasbro countered by saying that consumers would believe that the toys were part of the Asus tablet line because decals of the Transformer characters had been placed on USB storage drives, computer mice, laptop skin, speaker heads and laptop docks. Additionally, in the third part of the movie trilogy, a character named Brains had transformed himself into a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge Plus laptop.

Tuesday afternoon, Hasbro released a statement saying that it will continue to fight and will take "all steps necessary" to protect its "globally recognized and established marks." In another interesting sidebar, the judge's order mentions that as of February 24th 2012 the Asus Transformer Prime had received pre-orders for only 2,400 units and that retail fulfillment orders for the next two months equal 80,000 units. That certainly is a far cry from the 3 million units of the next Apple iPad allegedly sold by Apple during the tablet's launch weekend.

source: PaidContent via Phandroid

Related phones

Eee Pad Transformer
  • Display 10.1" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 5 MP / 1.3 MP front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 2, Dual-core, 1000 MHz
  • Storage 32 GB + microSDHC
Transformer Prime
  • Display 10.1" 1280 x 800 pixels
  • Camera 8 MP / Other front
  • Processor NVIDIA Tegra 3, Quad-core, 1300 MHz
  • Storage 64 GB + microSDHC

FEATURED VIDEO

18 Comments

1. andro.

Posts: 1999; Member since: Sep 16, 2011

If they were after asus over the name they surely could have went after LG for its optimus names. Besides,its a top tablet and the name makes it even cooler

10. snowgator

Posts: 3614; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

Of course LG was next on the Hasbro hit list. You have seen through their plans.

2. Chronos

Posts: 258; Member since: Feb 25, 2012

Wise decision.

3. darkkjedii

Posts: 30723; Member since: Feb 05, 2011

Apples not the only one huh?

4. RORYREVOLUTION

Posts: 3131; Member since: Jan 12, 2010

No but they made it popular darth sheep.

5. networkdood

Posts: 6330; Member since: Mar 31, 2010

Hasbro should take this opportunity to further market its line of toys....

6. NOKIA.8800.ARTE

Posts: 100; Member since: Mar 26, 2012

Why after all these years.....

7. djripster

Posts: 141; Member since: Dec 10, 2011

Well it seams obvious that Asus is taking advantage of the popularity of the Transformer movies.. But I don't think Hasbro has a case here, comparing a toy line to a tablet/computer line and thinking consumers cant see the clear difference between the two is a little far fetched. That being said it would make sense for the two to work together if Hasbro has the rights to the Transformers trademark...

8. bayusuputra

Posts: 963; Member since: Feb 12, 2012

why not release special Hasbro Transformers Tablet series? Asus can sell that at a slightly higher premium, and give the difference to hasbro.. Certainly a win-win situation for me.. and make Asus Transformer series the official tablet for the franchise, instead of lenovo..

9. snowgator

Posts: 3614; Member since: Jan 19, 2011

"Hasbro countered by saying that consumers would believe that the toys were part of the Asus tablet line because decals of the Transformer characters had been placed on USB storage drives, computer mice, laptop skin, speaker heads and laptop docks. Additionally, in the third part of the movie trilogy, a character named Brains had transformed himself into a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge Plus laptop." Grown men. Years and years of higher education, legal training, and months of preperation. Someone actually had to stand up before a judge and say those words. With a straight face. And got paid really, really well for it, I am sure. It is amazing how the far the legal system has gone. Hasbro wants damages due to the idea that toys may be confused with computers. Wow.

11. mercorp

Posts: 1045; Member since: Jan 28, 2012

a transformer is also means a device thay transfers electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductively coupled conductor.wtf hasbro?!

16. JunitoNH

Posts: 1946; Member since: Feb 15, 2012

I'm pretty sure, the cartoon was in Asus mind when they named the device. We can play with words, but I'm sure we are all smart enough to recognize the truth. If for example you were to name you legal team the- "Avengers."

12. Bluesky02

Posts: 1439; Member since: Dec 05, 2011

Hasbro should started making Tablets. Then sue Asus again, this time they will definitely win.

13. Mr.Best

Posts: 79; Member since: Jan 17, 2012

If it was Apple they would've gotten thru. Sorry Hasbro but you can try again when you have $100 billion ok.

14. frydaexiii

Posts: 1476; Member since: Dec 01, 2011

lol, Hasbro could have used this opportunity to create special limited "Transformers Prime" edition Transformer Primes and earned a profit from it...

15. sheepygalaxy

Posts: 68; Member since: Mar 10, 2012

next asus to be called transformer megatron will come with side cannon and will be able to turn into a plane

17. gallitoking

Posts: 4721; Member since: May 17, 2011

still waiting on the Asus Thundercat. and sent a signal to other tablets..

18. InspectorGadget80 unregistered

hasbro should work with ASUS and make a OPTIMUS PRIME TRANSFORM TABLET limited edition version. and no one shouldn't try pull a APPLE to sue

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