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Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

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Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby El Duque » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:32 am

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Robotech distributors Harmony Gold are not happy about Hasbro's recent SDCC 2013 exclusive G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover set. The set features a G.I. Joe V.A.M.P. as Hound and G.I. Joe Skystriker as Jetfire with booster pack along with Baroness with Ravage, Bludgeon inspired Samurai, and Snake Eyes action figures. Apparently Harmony Gold feels the Jetfire toy treads on their intellectual property and has filed a copyright lawsuit in Federal Court. The filing can be viewed by clicking here.

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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby reluctantyouth » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:44 am

Morning,

Well being the type of person I am :-? ... I had the feeling that such a lawsuit could hinder further distribution of the SDCC GI Joe/Transformers crossover set :sad: . I called Hasbrotoyshop.com after reading the SDCC 2013 FAQs about exclusives. The lawsuit was not mentioned there. The toyshop rep transferred me to a Hasbro Customer Affairs rep at Corporate. The rep at Corporate said she would call me back as she was as unaware of the lawsuit as toyshop rep. I got a call back about 35 min ago, Ref# 0724130127, and the Corporate rep told me this lawsuit will NOT hinder distribution of the crossover exclusive when it becomes available. Neither rep would comment on when any of the SDCC exclusives would go live. >:oP
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby gothsaurus » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:47 am

It's such a bummer when big-company scuffles get in the way of us trying to have an 80s nostalgia moment.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Superwheeljack » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:58 am

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Oh, screw off Harmony. :BANG_HEAD:
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Midnight_Fox » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:58 am

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Honestly, not really a surprise. It'll most likely be settled out of court with Hasbro agreeing to destroy the booster pack mold.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby TheSprinkle42 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 10:59 am

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Oh, not this again. I suppose they're going to sue Pirahana next for using unseen mechs, even though it's not the marauder or any of those.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby hinomars19 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:05 am

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Personally they should be like the Japanese and be grown up enough to settle these kind of disputes over a cup of tea.

I'm no lawyer, so I expected to see what I would consider 'mumbo jumbo', but on looking at that sheet it honestly looks rather childish. Are we, the supposed intelligent grown ups of this world really so petty?

It looks a bit like a Valkyrie. OK. It also looks like (and is supposed to be) Jet fire. I get Hasbro's rights from selling the original toy are long gone, but y'know really Harmony Gold? You have nothing better to do?
Something about damages? What of Harmony Gold's is this set damaging? Yes, yes I know, somebody with 'intelligence' will pounce on me and proceed to vomit long words in an attempt to justify what is, at best, playground toolery, but honestly, this figure and it's release isn't harming anybody >:oP
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Nemesis Destron » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:13 am

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Lets see what kind of effect this will have on market's like ebay. :-? :VEHI:
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Midnight_Fox » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:16 am

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hinomars19 wrote: Something about damages? What of Harmony Gold's is this set damaging? Yes, yes I know, somebody with 'intelligence' will pounce on me and proceed to vomit long words in an attempt to justify what is, at best, playground toolery, but honestly, this figure and it's release isn't harming anybody >:oP



I was going to respond more in depth, but realized you'll just ignore it.

Suffice to say: You have to actively protect your IP or you'll lose it.

Whilst this looks like school yard bullying to the layman, this is what's required to keep intellectual properties worth anything.


Also, Harmony Gold(and their partners) is very interested in protecting control of their IP, especially since Robotech RPG Tactics is being released later this year.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Metrosuplex » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:20 am

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hinomars19 wrote: Something about damages? What of Harmony Gold's is this set damaging? Yes, yes I know, somebody with 'intelligence' will pounce on me and proceed to vomit long words in an attempt to justify what is, at best, playground toolery, but honestly, this figure and it's release isn't harming anybody >:oP


I'd love to vomit some big words at you... :lol: But this is ridiculous. Jetfire also looks like an American jet (Tomcat?), but where's that suit?

It's far more likely that someone at SDCC (from Harmony Gold) noticed how popular this set was and decided it looked "sort of" like their own jet - so per usual, "we want a piece of that action... LAWSUIT!" If this GI Joe set sold horribly, we wouldn't be reading this news. What's REALLY sad is how badly these companies stretch to get a piece of someone else's action.

I'm a big proponent of copyright and intellectual rights... but can we really copyright a jet with boosters? REALLY? It's not like there's a copyright for UFO's, right? IS THERE???

As much as I hate when people spout crap about how intellectual rights don't matter because "everything is a copy of everything" (wank wank), it's almost worse when a company ABUSES the law by seeking protection from a non-injury.

Unless the claim is that Robotech fans are buying this and not Robotech - I doubt that. :roll:
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby UltraPrimal » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:26 am

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I think you hit the nail on the head. Harmony Gold does have nothing better to do. I mean just look at their website. Look at it! And look at Robotech.com. JEEZZZUSSS!!! I'm only beginning to learn how to construct a webpage and I know these two sites are incredibly outdated in terms of design. And even I could reconstruct them in an afternoon.

They should just sellout to Hasbro already.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Metrosuplex » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:26 am

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Midnight_Fox wrote:I was going to respond more in depth, but realized you'll just ignore it.

Suffice to say: You have to actively protect your IP or you'll lose it.

Whilst this looks like school yard bullying to the layman, this is what's required to keep intellectual properties worth anything.


Also, Harmony Gold(and their partners) is very interested in protecting control of their IP, especially since Robotech RPG Tactics is being released later this year.


I get what you're saying, but you ARE saying that this is schoolyard bullying. Think about it: to actively protect an IP, you say, you have to go after everyone who approaches your IP?

Really? Even if it's only MARGINALLY like your IP?

Look, I don't get it: can you copyright boosters on a jet? According to copyright/trademark law, the protected item has to be unique enough to be distinguishable from an everyday item. I mean, you can't copyright a spoon - it's too common. I propose that boosters on a jet is also too generic to really deserve protection (unless this is about the coloration AND boosters).

It IS bullying in this sense: it's immaterial whether or not Harmony Gold has a proper claim; Hasbro will settle out of court to avoid possibly losing a case, and to avoid excessive legal fees in defending their case.

So Harmony Gold will most likely siphon some money out of this, regardless of their legal rights. Long story short: Hasbro will refuse to ever re-release classic Jetfire in fear of further lawsuits.

Thank you, Harmony Gold. For pissing on the TF brand.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Midnight_Fox » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:36 am

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Yes, actually. This is a very common sort of case in the field. People have sued over less than just boosters on a jet. Shoulder pads on a 1 inch tall model is one that comes to mind, being that the case just resolved a couple months ago(Games Workshop v Chapterhouse Studios, look it up with you want a lawsuit infinitely more asinine than this for some perspective).

Most IP lawsuits settle out of court and are never heard of. It's in fact very rare for a case like this to ever see the inside of a court room and it usually takes 2-3 years if it actually does.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby sixshot20 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:40 am

I hate the fact that a company like Harmony Gold needs to be greedy ***** and file a lawsuit just to make some money. I am amazed they didn't do anything when classics Jetfire was released. Also I hope Harmony Gold knows the only reason allot of people know them is because of Skyfire back in the 80's. :-x
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Gauntlet101010 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:48 am

Why this and not Classics Jetfire?
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Midnight_Fox » Wed Jul 24, 2013 11:49 am

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sixshot20 wrote:Also I hope Harmony Gold knows the only reason allot of people know them is because of Skyfire back in the 80's. :-x



And that Robotech cartoon.

But there's no fans of that at all. And definitely not enough fans to garner $1.44 million in a single month on a Kickstarter for an offshoot game of an offshoot game of the cartoon. ;)
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Seibertron » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:11 pm

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Gauntlet101010 wrote:Why this and not Classics Jetfire?



From what I've been told by someone at Harmony Gold, apparently Hasbro has asked for usage of its likeness in the past (i.e. Classics Jetfire) and was told that was OK. Apparently they didn't ask this time around.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby datguy86 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:25 pm

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I agree protecting your IP is important, but two things come to mind:

1) Hasbro has a precedent since Jetfire (and his design) has been a staple of Transformers since 1985.

2) Harmony Gold is little more than an IP rights squatter who releases content haphazardly to keep the rights to Robotech.

Actually, this could damage Harmony Gold if Hasbro wins - if only because it would lessen Harmony Gold's influence.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby helli0n » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:41 pm

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Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of copyright law in regards to infringement there has to be a clear and intentionally attempt at violating copyright for it to be an actual infringement. That means that Hasbro intended to make a Macross/Robotech knock-off-esque set of toys and planned on making a full release of these Jetfire-esque jets. Without that or any other evidence of attempts to get in on HG's market this lawsuit isn't worth the paper its printed on.

I imagine that its an attempt to get Hasbro to settle out of court and gain a little more notoriety leading up to the next Robotech release that someone mentioned earlier.

Harmony Gold is company know for being border line copyright trolls. They are the reason the legitimate Macross releases in America back in the day were so hard to come by. Even more annoying is how they've continuously squatted on their license over the years and done next to nothing with that brand. I've always had a kind of low opinion of Harmony Gold and this piles onto what they've already done to damage the Robotech/Macross brand over the years.

Metrosuplex wrote:Thank you, Harmony Gold. For pissing on the TF brand.


They regularly piss on their own brand so why not share the love... :P
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Metrosuplex » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:46 pm

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Midnight_Fox wrote:Yes, actually. This is a very common sort of case in the field. People have sued over less than just boosters on a jet. Shoulder pads on a 1 inch tall model is one that comes to mind, being that the case just resolved a couple months ago(Games Workshop v Chapterhouse Studios, look it up with you want a lawsuit infinitely more asinine than this for some perspective).

Most IP lawsuits settle out of court and are never heard of. It's in fact very rare for a case like this to ever see the inside of a court room and it usually takes 2-3 years if it actually does.


I think your goal is to be informative and/or show off your highly respectable knowledge on this subject matter - because you missed the point of my post entirely.

I KNOW this won't go to court - THAT'S WHY IT'S BULLYING. Is it bullying to threaten a lawsuit that has little or no merit, just because you realize that the defending company will settle before seeing the trial go to court? YES. YES, IT IS. :BANG_HEAD:

I appreciate the example you provided, but you could just agree and say this isn't the worse case of bullying (of which I never doubted to begin with). The lawsuits are out of control, so the people should be a little irritated when this garbage not only financially harms a company we have a vested interest in, but also wastes billions of dollars in legal fees, legal protection, and court proceedings. :BOOM:
datguy86 wrote:Actually, this could damage Harmony Gold if Hasbro wins - if only because it would lessen Harmony Gold's influence.


See Midnight Fox's postings above: this case would NEVER, EVER go to court. That's not how lawsuits work. To put it simply: when you face a lawsuit, you calculate how much it would cost you (in legal fees) to win the lawsuit - this is your settlement number. This is because even if you have this money to spend on legal fees to win, you have absolutely no guarantee of winning. Ergo, rather than risk losing the case (legal fees for defense + cost of punitive damages, etc. handed down by court), Hasbro will settle the matter, out-of-court, with a check to Harmony Gold. Hence, how lawsuits can be a form of bullying. #-o

Well, unless Hasbro had the kind of legal clout that could get this case thrown out automatically. :roll:
Seibertron wrote:
Gauntlet101010 wrote:Why this and not Classics Jetfire?


From what I've been told by someone at Harmony Gold, apparently Hasbro has asked for usage of its likeness in the past (i.e. Classics Jetfire) and was told that was OK. Apparently they didn't ask this time around.


Great info, Seibertron! Thanks!

The question is whether or not Hasbro will ask next time. I still get the feeling that this case will just make Jetfire "too hot" for any more molds or reproductions - ergo, this lawsuit (IMO) will most likely harm the Jetfire toyline, and TF's as a whole.

I'm pretty annoyed with the shifting name changes (Shrapnel? SHARPSHOT! Bumblebee? HOTSHOT! Shockwave? SHOCKBLAST!) - it's unbelievable how TF's find themselves mired in a legal swamp like this. I don't know whether I should be mad at my lawsuit-drunk country, or Hasbro for being so obsessed with copyrighting everything. :BANG_HEAD:
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby hinomars19 » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:47 pm

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Seibertron wrote:
Gauntlet101010 wrote:Why this and not Classics Jetfire?



From what I've been told by someone at Harmony Gold, apparently Hasbro has asked for usage of its likeness in the past (i.e. Classics Jetfire) and was told that was OK. Apparently they didn't ask this time around.


Interesting. I agree that falls under bad sportsman ship on Hasbro's part, but that's where people act like grown ups and simply sort the matter out, surely?

Better than bringing in the lawyers and quoting what IS sheer drivel in the guise of 'Intellectual law speak', which only makes sense within a restricted context understood only by the people within the situation. That sheet makes me cringe, it is just so childishly worded, and really it says absolutely nothing. (well, moreover bores you into agreeing without out of sheer submission)

Harmony's complaint is this: Hasbro have released a toy that has a very close resemblance to designs that fall under our copyrights, and we did not give them permission to do so.

Shockingly, that did not require 5 sheets of paper to make understandable, and this sentence ACTUALLY makes sense within the realms of common sense.

Adding anything else is just bravado, so things 'look' intelligent, and smart, and thus seeming more valid in the world of 'adults'. Because that's what we all are, right? Sheer idiocy.

And yes I realize this confounded and trite approach is a requirement of the law's procedures, and not that of Harmony Gold's personal methods. But honestly, does this really need to happen?
The production of one toy that homages a character Hasbro half owns that was created via a joint agreement nearly 30 years ago is not going to 'DAMAGE' Harmony's I.P.
It won't harm Macross,Bandai, big west etc either. This is nothing to do with 'protecting I.P' What a paranoid statement. I honestly doubt I.P stealing vultures are waiting outside Harmony's doors, requiring them to clutch to it as if their lives were at stake. Harmony saw a chance to make money. If life being that simple disturbs anybody well, I am very sorry.

And let me guess, adding the words 'confounded' and 'trite' will have the naysayers to my previous post pay a bit more attention? :roll:
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby GuyIncognito » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:50 pm

Metrosuplex wrote:
Look, I don't get it: can you copyright boosters on a jet? According to copyright/trademark law, the protected item has to be unique enough to be distinguishable from an everyday item. I mean, you can't copyright a spoon - it's too common. I propose that boosters on a jet is also too generic to really deserve protection (unless this is about the coloration AND boosters).


It's not the CONCEPT of the boosters that's the problem; it's the DESIGN. It's pretty obvious that they copied the design; that was the whole point of the toy!
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Metrosuplex » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:55 pm

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helli0n wrote:Correct me if I am wrong, but my understanding of copyright law in regards to infringement there has to be a clear and intentionally attempt at violating copyright for it to be an actual infringement. That means that Hasbro intended to make a Macross/Robotech knock-off-esque set of toys and planned on making a full release of these Jetfire-esque jets. Without that or any other evidence of attempts to get in on HG's market this lawsuit isn't worth the paper its printed on.

I imagine that its an attempt to get Hasbro to settle out of court and gain a little more notoriety leading up to the next Robotech release that someone mentioned earlier.

Harmony Gold is company know for being border line copyright trolls. They are the reason the legitimate Macross releases in America back in the day were so hard to come by. Even more annoying is how they've continuously squatted on their license over the years and done next to nothing with that brand. I've always had a kind of low opinion of Harmony Gold and this piles onto what they've already done to damage the Robotech/Macross brand over the years.


I agree 100%. Especially your nice point about how this will (in some way) actually harm their own public image (further). How do the Robotech fans feel? According to you (and I'm sure a few others), Harmony is wasting the potential and pushing Hasbro around. Nice job there, Harmony.

I'm not sure if there has to be intent on copying for it to be infringement. Sometimes we get products that unintentionally copy each other (or come out in similar time frames, completely independently/coincidentally), and whoever got to the legal office first is the one who legally gets possession of that idea/product - even if (like in Harmony's case), they are just squatting on the idea.

More importantly, like previously mentioned, the merits of this case are irrelevant. Harmony will accept a settlement from Hasbro. I guess you could say that depending on how strong they think the case is, Harmony could hold out for more money. This seems minor, so the settlement should be relatively small (hopefully, for Hasbro). But what does Harmony hope to accomplish with these suits? Are people impressed and happy for Robotech? :BANG_HEAD:

helli0n wrote:
Metrosuplex wrote:Thank you, Harmony Gold. For pissing on the TF brand.


They regularly piss on their own brand so why not share the love... :P

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby SW's SilverHammer » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:56 pm

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I know it's different, but this 'suit reminds me of "Apple V. Samsung" where it was ruled samsung infringed on apple's intellectual property of rectangular devices with rounded edges (among other silly things) :lol: doh-ho good times.
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set

Postby Metrosuplex » Wed Jul 24, 2013 12:58 pm

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GuyIncognito wrote:
Metrosuplex wrote:
Look, I don't get it: can you copyright boosters on a jet? According to copyright/trademark law, the protected item has to be unique enough to be distinguishable from an everyday item. I mean, you can't copyright a spoon - it's too common. I propose that boosters on a jet is also too generic to really deserve protection (unless this is about the coloration AND boosters).


It's not the CONCEPT of the boosters that's the problem; it's the DESIGN. It's pretty obvious that they copied the design; that was the whole point of the toy!


Excuse my ignorance on the topic, but are you saying that Jetfire was originally a copyright infringement on a Robotech design? :???:

Now I'm confused about the origin. I do see your point... but I'd still love to see a side-by-side comparison with specific design elements pointed out. That's really what we're missing here.

I'm just not convinced that the SDCC Jetfire has such a level of detail as to be confused with something as elaborate as Robotech. I mean, you could sue for almost anything jet-like.

If I design my own jet with boosters, and it "sort of looks like" Robotech, am I in violation, too? :BOOM:
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