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ASUS Transformer Prime tablet  (Source: hothardware.com)

Optimus Prime  (Source: tfwiki.net)
Hasbro claims that the name of ASUS' latest tablet, Transformer Prime, is much too similar to its line of Transformers toys

The battle is on: ASUS' Transformer Prime v.s. Transformers' Optimus Prime.

Toy maker Hasbro filed a lawsuit against computer manufacturer ASUS last week, claiming that the name of ASUS' latest tablet, Transformer Prime, is much too similar to its line of Transformers toys.

"Hasbro continues to aggressively protect its brands and products and the specific actions we are taking today against ASUS underscores yet again Hasbro's willingness to pursue companies who misappropriate our intellectual property for their own financial gain," said Hasbro.

Hasbro filed the lawsuit last week in Los Angeles federal court, and is seeking damages as well as a temporary injunction to stop ASUS from selling its Transformer Prime tablet.

The situation isn't looking good for Hasbro at this point. While ASUS' Transformer Prime tablet does sound similar to Hasbro's leader of the Autobots, Transformer's Optimus Prime, the possibility of a child (or anyone) confusing the two is slim. The Transformer Prime doesn't convert into a truck, and the Transformer toys don't offer the Android operating system with apps and Web-browsing capabilities.

However, the Transformer Prime does attach to a keyboard dock. Does that qualify it as a Transformer?

The Transformer Prime features a 10-inch screen, NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 8 MP rear camera with a f/2.4 lens and back-illuminated sensor along with a 1.2 MP front-facing camera, 12-hour battery life, and Android 3.2 Honeycomb mobile operating system. It's priced at $499 for 32 GB and $599 for 64 GB.

Source: paidcontent.org



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meh
By Da W on 12/22/2011 11:18:04 AM , Rating: 3
Everybody and then mother immediatly though of Optimus Prime when they heard of the transformer prime tablet. This is more than enough for Hasbro to win their case.




RE: meh
By NINaudio on 12/22/2011 11:20:39 AM , Rating: 5
At the most, they should stop Asus from using the name "transformer Prime." In now way should they get monetary remuneration since the product does not compete with any of Hsabro's Transformer products and can in no way have cause them financial harm.


RE: meh
By TheRequiem on 12/22/2011 12:22:11 PM , Rating: 5
Yeah, good luck with that Hasbro, unfortunately, their Trademark's "Transformers", not "Transformer" and "Optimus Prime", not "Prime", don't really make sense, also, I don't see they have a trademark for "Transformer Prime" either. More Media mongering...


RE: meh
By Hakuryu on 12/22/2011 12:53:07 PM , Rating: 3
So things like a "McDonald Mac" chili-mac from Wendy's would also be perfectly legit according to you, following the same rules... or an "Apples Pad" brand heating pad.

Get real. The first time I saw the Transformer Prime, I immediately thought they had a deal with Hasbro, because anyone can see the connection.


RE: meh
By Varun on 12/22/2011 1:28:17 PM , Rating: 1
I thought the same thing. I would say they have a case here. Plus, they NEED to protect their trademark or it gets taken away.


RE: meh
By Natch on 12/22/2011 1:51:37 PM , Rating: 2
Not as though anyone would notice, right? ;)
http://www.frontroomcinema.com/wp-content/uploads/...


RE: meh
By Vertigo2000 on 12/22/2011 1:52:13 PM , Rating: 5
A "McDonald Mac" Chili-mac from Wendy's would not be legit. You're talking about a direct competitor to McDonalds using their name as one of Wendy's own products.

The Transformer Prime situation is different. You have 2 companies in 2 completely industries marketing 2 completely different products designed for 2 completely different uses to 2 completely different market segments. Toys to kids to play with vs tablet to general population for variety of different tasks.


RE: meh
By sviola on 12/22/2011 2:18:43 PM , Rating: 2
So, by your view, it would be ok for Hasbro to release a toy named iPhone (no pun intended), considering that Apple and Hasbro are on different markets?


RE: meh
By Camikazi on 12/22/2011 6:40:31 PM , Rating: 5
iPhone is a registered trademark, plus it's Apple so they would sue. Hasbro has Transformers and Optimus Prime not Transformer Prime. Trademarks are exact not looks like or is close too.


RE: meh
By maevinj on 12/22/2011 3:12:05 PM , Rating: 3
Yeah, but look how Verizon has to license the word "droid" from LA. Would you ever confuse a cell phone called droid with something from Star Wars? I wouldn't.


RE: meh
By Souka on 12/22/2011 4:10:02 PM , Rating: 2
orly?

http://img.tgdaily.net/sites/default/files/stock/4...

"This is the droid I'm looking for"


RE: meh
By TheRequiem on 12/22/2011 4:17:31 PM , Rating: 2
Thank you for the clarification... saved me from having to type. =)


RE: meh
By Fritzr on 12/22/2011 9:22:17 PM , Rating: 1
Toys and computer tablets are not different markets
http://www.leapfrog.com/leappad/

The LeapPad is a "toy" that is also a fully functional computer tablet.

Asus is using a variant of a Hasbro trademark that IS causing confusion for some consumers. While the Asus Transformer may refer to it's ability to transform from a tablet to a netbook, that just reinforces the connection to the Hasbro trademark. Especially with the Prime added to remind Transformer fans of Optimus Prime.

If Asus is allowed to keep the Transformer Prime name and Hasbro brings out a Transformer tablet based on their Transformers toy line who sues who?

Would Asus have a case because Hasbro is then infringing on the Asus Transformer brandname or would Asus be infringing because Hasbro started selling a tablet computer using their tie in to the Transformers cartoon series?


RE: meh
By tamalero on 12/26/2011 5:59:45 AM , Rating: 2
a pad is a toy for adults ;)


RE: meh
By TheRequiem on 12/22/2011 4:36:09 PM , Rating: 3
I guess if you watch a lot of Transformers. I don't watch that stuff, so the first thing that came to my mind was a tablet that "transforms" into a laptop... however, I will admit it's a good question why they put "prime" into it, but I still don't know if it justifies sueing them over it, as the other commenter mention, two completely different fields. It will be interesting to see how it works out.


RE: meh
By seamonkey79 on 12/22/2011 5:13:34 PM , Rating: 2
Mine transforms from a tablet to a laptop to a robot that blows stuff up.


RE: meh
By kkwst2 on 12/22/2011 6:26:16 PM , Rating: 2
No fly list for you.

Sincerely,
TSC


RE: meh
By Reclaimer77 on 12/22/11, Rating: 0
RE: meh
By Reclaimer77 on 12/22/11, Rating: 0
RE: meh
By Subzero0000 on 12/22/2011 9:41:11 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Well I'm not 12 years old, so I didn't think that. And since when did we base laws on what your initial "thought" about something was anyway?


Well, that's the wonder of marketing, to attract attentions.
They are not targeting rational people like you. It's pretty obvious that they use the name for free promotions.

Unless you don't watch movies, you should know that have been 3 Transformers movies in the recent years, all done pretty well in box office.
It doesn't matter they are in different market, the third movie happens to be the same year (2011), those posters and trailers just boost the name further.

Asus marketing managers must be rocking their socks off when they come up with using the name. "Hey dude, the movie rocks and the name sounds really cool, it's gonna SOUNDS like our tablet can transform into robot!"

They get away with "Transformer" (without the "s"), then add a "Prime" to it. That's just asking for trouble.
Even Galaxy Nexus removed the word "Prime" when released. There is no value to use the word "Prime", unless it's related to Transformers.

You have to be really ignorance (and stubborn) to justify their motive.


RE: meh
By Ytsejamer1 on 12/23/2011 8:50:08 AM , Rating: 2
I agree...but as mentioned, Asus knew the connection. But from Asus' perspective it was way better than GoBot Dumper.


RE: meh
By Flunk on 12/23/2011 10:22:10 AM , Rating: 2
Actually there was a TV show Transformers Prime. That's really close. I normally think this stuff is BS but this actually makes sense.


RE: meh
By Chadder007 on 12/22/2011 11:30:53 AM , Rating: 2
Im surprised they didn't sue them sooner.


RE: meh
By Namey on 12/22/2011 12:39:06 PM , Rating: 4
They delayed in order to ensure that hardware and branding was fully implemented. This increases the licensing costs they can get from ASUS when they decide to settle. If they brought it up earlier, then ASUS would have said "Ok, we'll rename it"

What's the profit in that?


RE: meh
By jonmcc33 on 12/22/2011 1:23:51 PM , Rating: 2
Why? The original Transformer tablet is not indicative of copying from the Hasbro trademark. It transforms from a tablet to a laptop.

However, Transformer Prime? That was a dumb idea.


RE: meh
By robinthakur on 12/23/2011 6:32:47 AM , Rating: 2
I think alot of it is that you now have brands which are fairly big like Asus which upto now were not well known to the public and could get away with creative use of names in a predominantly Asian market whcih has little time for intellectual property laws.

Anyone around a certain age (31 in my case) who grew up with the Transformers cartoon in the 80's and their subsequent spin-offs immediately thinks of them when you see the word 'Transformer' to then go and tack on Prime, as well as frankly being rather tacky me-too marketing, is obviously going to attract the ire of Hasbro, as that is one of their biggest properties.

The concept of Hasbro licensing a laptop/tablet is not that crazy either, as they have licensed a range of transforming USB sticks, mice etc for PC's in the past.


RE: meh
By nafhan on 12/22/2011 1:20:16 PM , Rating: 2
Except Hasbro makes toys - not computers/tablets. There's no product overlap, and no chance of someone picking up a $500 tablet for there kid on the mistaken belief that it's an Autobot.


RE: meh
By jonmcc33 on 12/22/2011 1:25:08 PM , Rating: 2
The trademark is not the product but the name. Transformer Prime is 99% similar to the Hasbro trademark of Optimus Prime, who is an Autobot Transformer.


RE: meh
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/22/2011 1:43:07 PM , Rating: 1
No it's not, not even close.


RE: meh
By marsovac on 12/22/2011 1:48:46 PM , Rating: 5
By your logic (paraphrasing):

"Almost the whole word from a registered trademark (which is a normal English word) in congruence with one of the words of another trademark should automatically make trademark infringement even if the product/company in question is not in the same category/market"

Microsoft has trademarks (IT sector):

"Windows"
"Visual Studio"

So by your logic a company called "Window Studio" which works in the industry business by producing windows should infringe on Microsoft trademarks...

The reference may seem obvious to us who know each company and their products, but there is no financial harm, to Hasbro. Financial harm is why trademarks exist.

C'mon, you very well know that won't pass in court.
It is a typical "hole in the law" that will be exploited by Asus to make gain.

But making more gain does not entitle Hasbro to take that money if that money was not supposed to get into their pockets at first glance when somebody bought the product.

If they manage to extort money to Asus, that would be bad for a free society because it would impose a precedent for big companies to rule how you compose sentences, by pushing new trademarks and using all the words in the dictionary in all of them.

That would eventually lead to new companies being unable to give a meaningful name to new brands.

Would you want that in a few hundred years product brands looked like this?

"gjkg675675 efg4r6"
"kuzrzi6t76 erg45"
"i7zu6t8 35t45" - oops invalid because "35t45" was already used by comapany X


RE: meh
By sviola on 12/22/11, Rating: 0
RE: meh
By rocketcuse on 12/22/2011 2:58:21 PM , Rating: 2
Have you heard of the Samsung Nexus Prime? I think you don't fully understand. Transformer is a basic word, like windows. transformer basically means to transform something into something. Example, a Transformer is... transfers an alternating current or voltage from one electric circuit to another, when used in the power industry. Hasbro definition, is to transform (ex..Optimus Prime)a ROBOT into a semi-truck. ASUS definition, is to transform a tablet to a notebook via a docking station. All three are different business units, with all three using the word transformer for a different meaning.

This nothing more than Hasbro feeling the financial pinch of the down economy and trying to make a fast buck.

Using YOUR logic, we wouldn't be able to call those clear panes on your house windows, because Microsoft trademarked windows!


RE: meh
By Subzero0000 on 12/22/2011 9:47:36 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Have you heard of the Samsung Nexus Prime?


Do you realize they removed the word "Prime" and it is called "Samsung Galaxy Nexus" officially?


RE: meh
By Cheesew1z69 on 12/23/2011 9:47:54 AM , Rating: 2
And? Your point?


RE: meh
By Subzero0000 on 12/23/2011 7:56:46 PM , Rating: 2
Well, that's the wonder of marketing, to attract attentions.
It's pretty obvious that they use the name for free promotions.

Unless you don't watch movies, you should know that there have been 3 Transformers movies in the recent years, all done pretty well in box office.
It doesn't matter they are in different market, the third movie happens to be the same year (2011), those posters and trailers just boost the name further.

Asus marketing managers must be rocking their socks off when they come up with using the name. "Hey dude, the movie rocks and the name is really cool, it's gonna SOUNDS like our tablet can transform into robot!"

They get away with "Transformer" (without the "s"), but then add a "Prime" to it. That's just asking for trouble.

Even Galaxy Nexus removed the word "Prime" when released. There is no value to use the word "Prime", unless it's related to Transformers.


RE: meh
By jconan on 12/26/2011 4:10:29 AM , Rating: 2
even Amazon uses Prime for it's product/service Amazon Prime.


RE: meh
By Subzero0000 on 12/26/2011 9:56:09 AM , Rating: 2
Meh, Hello? Does Amazon use the word "Transformer"?
We are talking about Asus using Transformer + Prime, two words together.
Is it really that hard for you to understand?

Please give it some thought before commenting, thanks.


RE: meh
By nafhan on 12/22/2011 3:57:59 PM , Rating: 2
Interestingly, As of April, 2010, "Transformers Prime" IS owned by Hasbro: (http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=doc&state=4... BUT, it's in the context of
quote:
--toy action figures; toy vehicles; toy robots covertible into other visual toy forms; board games; parlor games
--entertainment services, namely, an on-going animated television series in the field of children's entertainment

The word transformer by itself has 235 results:
http://tess2.uspto.gov/bin/showfield?f=toc&state=4...

What a mess... someone might have a claim against Asus, but I really don't see how Hasbro or the "Transformers" brand have been harmed in any meaningful way by a nice, yet only marginally successful tablet.


RE: meh
By rocketcuse on 12/22/2011 2:45:39 PM , Rating: 3
How is it close? Hasbro is transformerS (with an S)and Optimus Prime.

ASUS is transformer (NO s at the end)and Prime (NO Optimus precursor).

maybe the power companies will join the suit, after all, they used the word transformer and transformers LONG before Hasbro and ASUS did. Guess what? They all mean the same! They transform something into something.


RE: meh
By Fritzr on 12/22/2011 9:40:50 PM , Rating: 1
Add to that the possibility that Hasbro may well follow Leapfrog into the 'toy' computer tablet business. As it is Asus has introduced a tablet with branding that uses the Hasbro trademark in a manner intended to confuse anyone familiar with the cartoon series that Hasbro has a license from.

Can you just imagine the legal fun and games if Hasbro introduced THEIR new Transformer Tablet. Hasbro owns the rights to the trademark...It would be a Hasbro product using the licensed branding...it would also be directly in conflict with the Asus product branding. The lawyers would love it as Hasbro can legally release a Hasbro Transformers Prime tablet and cite their licensing agreement with the owners of the cartoon :D

The question for the courts is not "Does Hasbro sell a computer tablet" instead the question is "Does Asus infringe on a trademark that can be used for a future Hasbro product". The answer to the second question is yes. Whether Hasbro will put a tablet computer on the market (Leapfrog has shown that they can succeed) is irrelevant.

Actually nonfunctional toy computers have been available for some time now. So between the existing nonfunctional toys and the proven market for functional toys, there is plenty of room for Hasbro to compete directly with Asus.


RE: meh
By cwolf78 on 12/22/2011 1:31:41 PM , Rating: 2
The first thing I thought of when I heard "Transformer Prime" was that ASUS was following along with what other manufacturers are doing: Nexus Prime, etc.

Speaking of Nexus Prime, he was one of the 13 original Transformers. Might be why the name was changed to Galaxy Nexus when it launched.


RE: meh
By Camikazi on 12/22/2011 6:45:41 PM , Rating: 2
That is the first thing I thought of too, Asus following the Google naming and using Prime on their line tablets which transforms into notebooks.


RE: meh
By wallijonn on 12/22/2011 2:50:33 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Everybody and their mother immediately though of "Optimus Prime" when they heard of the transformer prime tablet.


Actually, I thought of an A.C. transformer... Envisioned it, too.


RE: meh
By xSauronx on 12/22/2011 3:22:25 PM , Rating: 2
agreed. I had assumed that asus had bothered to get some kind of licensing agreement in place when they released the original transformer since they didnt get sued to start with. What a silly oversight to make.


RE: meh
By CZroe on 12/22/2011 5:27:19 PM , Rating: 2
Not true. I was just coming to comment specifically to say that it never even occurred to me. I am a child of the '80s too. "Transformer" means to change between forms, which makes perfect sense considering what it does. "Prime" means best to me (or first). Honestly, I thought of "Metroid Prime." *shrug*

Some people, man. Some people.


RE: meh
By robinthakur on 12/23/2011 6:21:34 AM , Rating: 2
Agreed, Asus is getting a free ride in much the same way as Motorola would be if they hadn't licensed the 'Droid' monicker, which is the most similar precedent. It is certainly the first thing I thought of, and since Dailytech inevitably usually puts a Transformers graphic on its stores relating to anything containing 'Transformer' or 'Prime' I'm not the only one.

Is it just me or is everybody in the tech field seemingly content to rip off everything these days? Asus' own Ultrabook certainly bears a very striking resemblence to the MBA, for example, far more than even Samsungs best attempts to ape Apple's every design move.


RE: meh
By jconan on 12/26/2011 3:31:54 AM , Rating: 2
It's a prodcut name of a different sort. It's not verbatim where someone can confuse a Jack Welch from a Jack Nicholson...


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