Another day, another lawsuit. This time it’s toy maker Hasbro aiming its sights at ASUS over the name of its new tablet, the Transformer Prime. For some reason this argument didn’t come up when the original Transformer was released, perhaps Hasbro felt it didn’t have a strong enough case based on that name alone. However, the new name could infringe on Hasbro’s trademarks a bit more, as one of the key Transformer toys is named ‘Optimus Prime’. Could you mistakenly purchase a £500 tablet named the Transformer Prime tablet instead of a £50 Transformer Toy named Optimus Prime? Probably not. For this reason Paid Content, the blog that reports the lawsuit, expects Hasbro’s case to be unsuccessful:
On its face, Hasbro’s lawsuit seems like a long shot since it’s unlikely that consumers would mix up children’s toy and a tablet gizmo of the same name. Trademark law typically only applies to certain categories of goods—that’s why, for instance, Delta Faucets and Delta airlines can co-exist. But Hasbro is likely to argue that the popular Transformers brand is expanding rapidly (it also includes a movie franchise) and so the name should be protected for a wider category of goods.
If anything, one would expect the release of the Transformer Prime to boost awareness of the Transformer Toy range, therefore helping sales, not hurting them. Surely there is an opportunity somewhere for a limited edition Transformer Prime tablet, styled like one of the Transformer toys? Unfortunately Hasbro doesn’t see it the same way:
“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.”
At this stage it’s too early for us to say whether or not this will affect UK stock, but we will let you know if it does have an impact on our pre-orders.
Via The Inquirer