Hasbro Fails to Prevent ASUS from Selling Transformer Prime Tablet in Trademark Case
March 27, 2012 4:09 PM
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ASUS Transformer Prime
The judge ruled that there was nothing "gimmicky" about the Eee Pad Transformer or Transformer Prime that would cause anyone to confuse the two products
It looks like ASUS' Transformer Prime tablet defeated Transformers' Optimus Prime in a name game battle.
In December 2011, toy maker
Hasbro filed a lawsuit against computer manufacturer ASUS
claiming that the name of ASUS' Transformer Prime tablet was much too similar to its line of Transformers toys.
The lawsuit was filed in the Los Angeles federal court, where Hasbro was seeking damages as well as a temporary injunction to stop ASUS from selling its Transformer Prime tablet.
The situation seemed a bit odd, since both products are so different. Hasbro's leader of the Autobots, Transformers' Optimus Prime, is a transforming robot from the planet Cybertron that constantly fights other transforming robots called Decepticons. Then you have
ASUS' Transformer Prime
, which is a 10-inch tablet that features a NVIDIA Tegra 3 quad-core processor, 8 MP rear camera, 1.2 MP front-facing camera and the Android mobile operating system for $499 (32 GB) and $599 (64 GB). One could hardly confuse the two.
Apparently the judge in the U.S. federal court felt the same way. The court ruled that ASUS could sell its Transformer Prime tablet because there was nothing "gimmicky" about the
Eee Pad Transformer
or Transformer Prime that would cause anyone to confuse the two products. The decision was solidified when the court realized that ASUS had named its tablet appropriately, since the tablet can transform into a laptop computer. Furthermore, the court said Hasbro waited too long to file the lawsuit and was not entitled to a preliminary injunction despite its planned launch of the Transformer Prime line this month.
"In sum, Hasbro has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of its infringement and dilution claims," said the judge. "Even assuming "serious questions" going to the merits are raised, the present record fails to evidence a likelihood of irreparable injury or that the balance of the equities tips sharply in Hasbro's favor. Having waited until the purportedly infringing and diluting tablets had been on the market for almost a year, the Court sees no grounds for invoking the extraordinary and drastic remedy of preliminary relief that would reverse the status quo ante before the parties have had the opportunity to try the case on its merits. The motion is DENIED."
Hasbro, of course, disagreed with the ruling.
"Hasbro strongly disagrees with the Court’s decision not to preliminarily enjoin ASUS’ use of those marks, however we were pleased with the Court’s views on the strength of Hasbro’s TRANSFORMERS and TRANSFORMERS PRIME marks," said Hasbro. "While the case proceeds toward trial, Hasbro will continue to actively pursue this matter and will take all steps necessary to protect its globally recognized and established marks.”
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This makes me kind of sad.
3/29/2012 5:21:50 PM
When they first came out with the Transformer Prime, I automatically thought of The Transformers and Optimus Prime. I can see where Hasbro was coming from. I think that both companies missed a huge opportunity for co branding. I kind of want a Transformer Prime tablet, accessories and all, it would be all the more sweeter in Optimus red with an autobots logo.
"We basically took a look at this situation and said, this is bullshit." -- Newegg Chief Legal Officer Lee Cheng's take on patent troll Soverain
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