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

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

Wednesday, July 24th, 2013 11:32AM CDT

Category: Toy News
Posted by: El Duque   Views: 20,493

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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.

Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe/Transformers Crossover Set
Credit(s): Courthouse News Service
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Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506085)
Posted by reluctantyouth on July 24th, 2013 @ 11:44am CDT
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
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506090)
Posted by gothsaurus on July 24th, 2013 @ 11:47am CDT
It's such a bummer when big-company scuffles get in the way of us trying to have an 80s nostalgia moment.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506099)
Posted by Superwheeljack on July 24th, 2013 @ 11:58am CDT
Oh, screw off Harmony. :BANG_HEAD:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506100)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 11:58am CDT
Honestly, not really a surprise. It'll most likely be settled out of court with Hasbro agreeing to destroy the booster pack mold.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506101)
Posted by TheSprinkle42 on July 24th, 2013 @ 11:59am CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506104)
Posted by hinomars19 on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:05pm CDT
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
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506112)
Posted by Nemesis Destron on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:13pm CDT
Lets see what kind of effect this will have on market's like ebay. :-? :VEHI:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506115)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:16pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506117)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:20pm CDT
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:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506120)
Posted by UltraPrimal on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:26pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506122)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:26pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506127)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:36pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506129)
Posted by sixshot20 on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:40pm CDT
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
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506133)
Posted by Gauntlet101010 on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:48pm CDT
Why this and not Classics Jetfire?
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506134)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 12:49pm CDT
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. ;)
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506137)
Posted by Seibertron on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:11pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506141)
Posted by datguy86 on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:25pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506143)
Posted by helli0n on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:41pm CDT
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
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506145)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:46pm CDT
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:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506146)
Posted by hinomars19 on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:47pm CDT
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:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506148)
Posted by GuyIncognito on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:50pm CDT
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!
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506149)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:55pm CDT
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:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506151)
Posted by SW's SilverHammer on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:56pm CDT
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.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506153)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 1:58pm CDT
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:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506155)
Posted by Convotron on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:03pm CDT
In any other case, I'd be more balanced in my view since I can see validity in the Jetfire/Valkyrie issue but as others have already said, Harmony Gold is known for their squatting of the Robotech property and using it to make money via lawsuits. They're basically trying to get money out of Hasbro.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506156)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:05pm CDT
(From Wikipedia)
The first two years of Transformers toys were figures taken from older Japanese toylines, primarily Takara's Diaclone and Microman lines. 1985, however, saw several figures reused from lines created by Takatoku Toys, of which Jetfire was one — that of the VF-1S Super Valkyrie Fighter from the Macross series. This figure was one the most articulated of the early Transformer toys, featuring fully poseable shoulder, hip, elbow and knee joints, and even poseable sacroiliac joints.[9] The instruction manual for the toy even included the GERWALK mode designed for the Macross version of the toy, which was used in that animated series, and seen briefly in the Transformers season 2 episode "The Day of the Machines".
Problems over the Jetfire toy began when Bandai absorbed Takatoku Toys, and Macross regained popularity, leading to Bandai's desire to reproduce the Valkyrie toy themselves. This led to problems for Takara when they imported the Transformers toyline — although Hasbro was able to market the Jetfire toy in their markets, Takara was not, nor could they promote it via the animated series, since the mold was owned by their main competitor. Although an animation model had been created for Jetfire based on the appearance of the toy (which could be seen in the original toy commercial advertising the figure), this was quickly scrapped and completely redesigned so as to no longer resemble the Valkyrie. This was the design that went on to feature in the comics and cartoons.
Jetfire only saw a few American production runs, as the show the original toy was based upon, The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, was exported to America to become the first third of Robotech. Ironically, since Hasbro released Jetfire first, there was never a U.S. release of an authentic transforming version of the toy for Robotech, even though the design was the series' most recognizable and popular mecha. As with other pre-Robotech borrowings from Macross (for instance, Battletech), the licensing situation for the toy became murky with two different companies (Big West and Tatsunoko Production) asserting exclusive rights to license Macross merchandise outside Japan. Due to these legal issues, Jetfire has not been among the Transformers toys reissued in the 21st century .[10]
This toy is patented in the U.S. as patent number D287037.[11]


Now I understand the suit! #-o

This was never about how similar the SDCC jet looks to Robotech's jet.... this is about how Jetfire IS a Robotech character!

Hence, this is really Hasbro using a Robotech character without permission, regardless of how he looks in toy form. Historically, this IS a Robotech character, and Harmony thus has a right to require financial/legal permission for his use.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506158)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:08pm CDT
Convotron wrote:In any other case, I'd be more balanced in my view since I can see validity in the Jetfire/Valkyrie issue but as others have already said, Harmony Gold is known for their squatting of the Robotech property and using it to make money via lawsuits. They're basically trying to get money out of Hasbro.


Well, not if Harmony owns the design, and Jetfire IS a Macross/Robotech character. If this is true, they have a legal right to require permission to use their character in any format.

For example, I'm pretty sure no one would complain about Hasbro suing McDonald's for making a Soundwave toy without their permission.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506163)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:15pm CDT
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.



Copyright infringement does not require intent. It's possible to violate Copyright by doing something you assume is allowed by Fair Use with no intent to infringe or through independent development whilst trying to create a similar or compatible product. You can even use these things as "positive defense" in the case of a suit.



Metrosuplex, it's not bullying because that's how you determine if something is infringing or not, through court(to determine who actually owns the copyright, whether it is truly protectable, et al). Bullying in a legal sense would be something such as a company like Harmony Gold going after a company that doesn't have the funds to defend itself in court and thus MUST relent because they can't stand up to the monetary force being thrown at them. In this case, however, Hasbro is VERY capable of putting up a defense if they feel they are not in the wrong. As a metaphor, since we like the school yard imagery in this thread: This is like two jocks going at each other over a girl.

Most of these cases actually don't go to court because companies DON'T want to test the strength of their Copyrights and neither side wishes to take the time and funds to argue over legal points for several years just to sit in court for 2-4 weeks at some point 3 years in the future to hear a verdict, not because they don't have merit. In fact, most judges push for the settling because it's a waste of their time and tax payer money to do something the companies tend to do themselves on a daily basis. It mostly when neither side can agree on a mutual outcome that it goes to court.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506164)
Posted by T-Macksimus on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:21pm CDT
I didn't even make it to the main meat of the article, just read the headline and started ROLLING! :lol:

Seriously, what were they expecting would happen? If they had left it at just the paint scheme they would have been in the clear but the second they threw on those rockets, that unquestioningly became a Macross VF-1J and Harmony Gold had every right in the world to pursue this if they weren't approached first.

Y'all can debate all you want and there have been several good points and facts brought up by many here. Myself, I'll just keep laughing and shaking my head. This is just too damn funny from my pov.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506167)
Posted by datguy86 on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:29pm CDT
Yeah, because sometimes everyone just rolls over and takes it. While what you've described is the norm, Harmony Gold does not have the cash Hasbro does. And if Hasbro decides to fight this - simply because they're sick of having to ask Harmony Gold to use what would normally be within Hasbro's right to use - it would set an interesting precedent for any future IP lawsuits between Harmony Gold and other companies. We'll have to see what happens.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506174)
Posted by GuyIncognito on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:41pm CDT
Metrosuplex wrote:
If I design my own jet with boosters, and it "sort of looks like" Robotech, am I in violation, too? :BOOM:


No, but if you clearly design it intentionally to resemble a Robotech design, and you try to sell it commercially, you will probably get sued.

They're not suing because Hasbro made a jet with boosters; they're suing because Hasbro made a toy specifically designed to resemble one of their designs, without their permission.

How are you STILL not getting it? :BANG_HEAD:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506182)
Posted by helli0n on July 24th, 2013 @ 2:51pm CDT
Midnight_Fox wrote:
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.



Copyright infringement does not require intent. It's possible to violate Copyright by doing something you assume is allowed by Fair Use with no intent to infringe or through independent development whilst trying to create a similar or compatible product. You can even use these things as "positive defense" in the case of a suit.


That is true, I started to remember (after I posted) how the music industry has played fast and lose with "too similar" concept. Even with that though...intent goes a long way. Still though talking about this is all hypothetical since it probably won't go to trial, but here are examples of how it could go down in legit trial if it was just about similarities in the way we are discussing:

John Fogerty Vs his old CCR record label because he sounded too much like CCR

Huey Lewis & the News Vs Ghostbusters because a "hired gun" was brought in to intentionally copy their music
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506200)
Posted by Che on July 24th, 2013 @ 3:35pm CDT
I wish Hasbro would take this all the way to the court and finally win, shutting up Harmony Gold's whine once and for all and then releasing a beautiful Masterpiece Jetfire :x
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506202)
Posted by hpfabe on July 24th, 2013 @ 3:37pm CDT
Remember, the first step in copyright is determining if the plaintiff holds a valid copyright.
Did Tatsunoko have the valid copyright, to grant it until 2021? Did Hasbro has a license still standing from a previous agreement? Sounds like there might be some debate there, though if Hasbro has in the past licensed this from Harmony Gold, then that can clearly get used against them.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506215)
Posted by Bumblevivisector on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:20pm CDT
Well, maybe Hasbro didn't ask HG for permission because they honestly thought this design looked less Super-Valk/Veritech-ish than previous Jetfires? For one, if the Skystriker and Valk each took different liberties with the F-14 Tomcat design, that's one step away from each other as far back as the early '80s.

Secondly, is everyone mentioning the boosters overlooking the central part connecting them? That's emulating a detail of the Skyfire model NOT present in any Macross/Robotech design. In fact, the only Transformer toy that's ever had anything close is Energon Omnicon Skyblast. Even Classics Jetfire had just the two largely separate pontoons, which I was disappointed with at the time, as I saw is as a missed opportunity for greater media-accuracy. That toy, therefore, more obviously required an OK from HG than this thing.

I've come to love Robotech ever more since the Toonami reruns, and I honestly do feel kind of sorry for HG, what with all the stumbling blocks impeding the revival of their property. Carl Macek died three years ago, and I just recently learned that after the Exo-Squad vs. Robotech reissues in the mid-'90s, the molds for the original HG/Matchbox toys were improperly stored, causing them to rust, and can never be used again! Tragic.

This means that the only way those toys can be reproduced is through reverse-molding, therefore, for the sake of preservation...CHMS? If you're reading this, pay close attention to the suit, and when Harmony Gold falls on their ass, get yer' engines runnin', cuz' I gotta' have enough hovertanks for the whole Southern Cross army! (They have a lot of CHMS Seekers to defend the protoculture in my bedroom against) Oh, and remold them enough that they can actually achieve battloid mode without kitbashing; so many vintage ones get ruined in botched attempts, so the prices keep soaring. And when HG files suit against you, just point out that with the molds destroyed there's no way they were going to do more reissues of those toys, so you're not hurting anyone!

Oh, and everyone else? Do please buy that the official release of that Shadow Chronicles/Love-Live-Alive DVD they released last week. Harmony Gold does need all the help they can get.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506220)
Posted by GuyIncognito on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:32pm CDT
Bumblevivisector wrote:Oh, and everyone else? Do please buy that the official release of that Shadow Chronicles/Love-Live-Alive DVD they released last week. Harmony Gold does need all the help they can get.


LOL, I don't buy things to support the company selling them. It's not a charity. If you have trouble paying your bills, are they going to help you?
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506223)
Posted by datguy86 on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:37pm CDT
GuyIncognito wrote:
Bumblevivisector wrote:Oh, and everyone else? Do please buy that the official release of that Shadow Chronicles/Love-Live-Alive DVD they released last week. Harmony Gold does need all the help they can get.


LOL, I don't buy things to support the company selling them. It's not a charity. If you have trouble paying your bills, are they going to help you?


Harmony Gold going away would be the biggest boon for fans of Macross, and by extension Southern Cross and Mospeada; since someone with marketing knowledge will most likely step up and do something about it. Arguably, the remaining bits of Robotech franchise would also benefit.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506226)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:41pm CDT
I already showed my support for the Robotech franchise by supporting the Tactics Kickstarter.

I honestly don't care about Harmony Gold, but I DO care about the franchise. I just wish HG had given the rights to someone other than Palladium, because they're terribad at getting things out on time.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506227)
Posted by Che on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:44pm CDT
Interesting:

"Harmony Gold’s license for Macross came from Tatsunoko Production, but Japanese courts ruled that it was Studio Nue (creators of the series) that controls the Macross intellectual property. The license Tatsunoko was given was for international distribution outside Japan only, and does not allow them to control the intellectual property."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmony_Gold_USA

If that can be confirmed as true... I want my MP Jetfire :grin:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506236)
Posted by JelZe GoldRabbit on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:52pm CDT
Che wrote:Interesting:

"Harmony Gold’s license for Macross came from Tatsunoko Production, but Japanese courts ruled that it was Studio Nue (creators of the series) that controls the Macross intellectual property. The license Tatsunoko was given was for international distribution outside Japan only, and does not allow them to control the intellectual property."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmony_Gold_USA

If that can be confirmed as true... I want my MP Jetfire :grin:


So just for the series, but not any of the designs, including the toys? Unlike back in the 80's, Bandai actually has a presence in the US, and thus does not need a representative in the shape of the main licensee. In short, it should be Bandai suing, not Harmony Gold. :lol:
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506239)
Posted by datguy86 on July 24th, 2013 @ 4:55pm CDT
Harmony Gold can't stand in the way of a Takara Masterpiece, but it can try with Hasbro.

Here's a Kotaku article on the whole mess. No mention of the Cali judge who backed HG on their right to assert Macross licensing dominance, so color me wrong on that front unless I can prove otherwise. Apologies if someone posted this already.

http://kotaku.com/5990702/why-you-havent-seen-any-new-macross-in-the-west-for-nearly-15-years
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506242)
Posted by Bumblevivisector on July 24th, 2013 @ 5:04pm CDT
GuyIncognito wrote:
Bumblevivisector wrote:Oh, and everyone else? Do please buy that the official release of that Shadow Chronicles/Love-Live-Alive DVD they released last week. Harmony Gold does need all the help they can get.


LOL, I don't buy things to support the company selling them. It's not a charity. If you have trouble paying your bills, are they going to help you?
Oh, that was just my version of a "support the official release too" disclaimer, which I thought was polite to do after my usual bit about how knock-off companies should be allowed to go hog-wild with toy molds that IP holders can't or won't do anything with, for the sake of preservation and the fans.

If we want to starve HG? Then everyone buy the bootleg of Robotech: The Movie ("The Untold Story", not the f@#%ing Bionoids) because that one's never, ever getting a legit release. Screw whoever owns Megazone. Thank you.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506244)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 5:13pm CDT
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:
Che wrote:Interesting:

"Harmony Gold’s license for Macross came from Tatsunoko Production, but Japanese courts ruled that it was Studio Nue (creators of the series) that controls the Macross intellectual property. The license Tatsunoko was given was for international distribution outside Japan only, and does not allow them to control the intellectual property."

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harmony_Gold_USA

If that can be confirmed as true... I want my MP Jetfire :grin:


So just for the series, but not any of the designs, including the toys? Unlike back in the 80's, Bandai actually has a presence in the US, and thus does not need a representative in the shape of the main licensee. In short, it should be Bandai suing, not Harmony Gold. :lol:


Not quite:

"Harmony Gold's exclusive rights extend, without limitation, to the distribution of the Macross television series and the right to create and authorize the sale of merchandise based on such series."

Bold added for emphasis.

Now, that's coming from HG themselves(from a Cease and Desist order, no less!), but as stated, until someone actually decides to bring a case to court, there's nothing US legal determining whether it's true or not.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506268)
Posted by Che on July 24th, 2013 @ 6:23pm CDT
datguy86 wrote:Here's a Kotaku article on the whole mess. No mention of the Cali judge who backed HG on their right to assert Macross licensing dominance, so color me wrong on that front unless I can prove otherwise. Apologies if someone posted this already.
http://kotaku.com/5990702/why-you-havent-seen-any-new-macross-in-the-west-for-nearly-15-years

Thanks for the link, very interesting reading. For me, Harmony Gold is nowadays just a lazy/useless/greedy law office (I refuse to call them a company) trying to get some free money by exploiting a supposedly legal monopoly from the past and just harming western fans of both Macross and Transformers series.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506270)
Posted by Delicon on July 24th, 2013 @ 6:38pm CDT
I'd be shocked if this lawsuit carries any weight, but we'll see.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506273)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 6:55pm CDT
Midnight_Fox wrote:Metrosuplex, it's not bullying because that's how you determine if something is infringing or not, through court(to determine who actually owns the copyright, whether it is truly protectable, et al). Bullying in a legal sense would be something such as a company like Harmony Gold going after a company that doesn't have the funds to defend itself in court and thus MUST relent because they can't stand up to the monetary force being thrown at them. In this case, however, Hasbro is VERY capable of putting up a defense if they feel they are not in the wrong. As a metaphor, since we like the school yard imagery in this thread: This is like two jocks going at each other over a girl.

Most of these cases actually don't go to court because companies DON'T want to test the strength of their Copyrights and neither side wishes to take the time and funds to argue over legal points for several years just to sit in court for 2-4 weeks at some point 3 years in the future to hear a verdict, not because they don't have merit. In fact, most judges push for the settling because it's a waste of their time and tax payer money to do something the companies tend to do themselves on a daily basis. It mostly when neither side can agree on a mutual outcome that it goes to court.


Let me disagree a little here, Midnight_Fox. After all, you are claiming that it is IMPOSSIBLE to bully a big kid. Hasbro has the funds to defend itself, so it can't be bullying? No, I was talking about what's known as a nuisance suit - the kind of BS companies deal with and settle on.

While your explanation about copyright and the court systems is true in the college definition of such things, I still advocate that real world legalities play differently: if you don't KNOW you can win, then you are spending money on the roll of a dice - that's the court systems. If you disagree with this basic interpretation, you have no had the "pleasure" of being involved in a court case yourself. Because all the evidence in the world does not guarantee you a win (either as defense or prosecution). I'm saying that intelligent companies don't go to court based on this fact alone.

Of course, I completely agree with your points, too. Companies probably do NOT want to test the limits of their copyrights. I just don't think it's all that complicated, and I especially don't think court proceedings have much to do with "merit" or "evidence". At least not in regards to lawsuits. If a woman can sue McDonald's over hot coffee on her lap, and if she can win excessive punitive damages because McDonald's refuses to make the coffee cooler? Yeah, that's America and we have a problem. The first step is to admit the problem! :lol:

By the way, judges push for settlements to lighten their legal loads, as well. Don't forget that. They see hundreds of cases, so why not encourage parties to work it out amongst themselves? It's a waste of court time, as you said, if they can do so. But I guess your point is that these things go to court when both parties are so volatile as to be unable to sit through arbitration of any kind.

Two jocks vying for the same girl? Read my previous post: this is Harmony telling Hasbro not to touch its wife! Harmony owns Jetfire (physically, even if Hasbro/Takara changed the face/story). And I am not sure Harmony is a jock, if Hasbro is a jock... :roll:

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


No, but if you clearly design it intentionally to resemble a Robotech design, and you try to sell it commercially, you will probably get sued.

They're not suing because Hasbro made a jet with boosters; they're suing because Hasbro made a toy specifically designed to resemble one of their designs, without their permission.

How are you STILL not getting it? :BANG_HEAD:


Go back and read my wikipedia post. You're either lazy or decided to quit reading, mid-thread! :lol: As things stand, historically speaking, Hasbro/Takara did not "design Jetfire to resemble" a Macross jet - JETFIRE IS MACROSS/ROBOTECH! It was originally a Macross toy, and Hasbro/Takara borrowed it for their TF line!

But seriously, are you the one that keeps saying stuff like, "How are you STILL not getting it? :BANG_HEAD:"

Cause if you're going to insinuate I'm too stupid to understand your point of view (a big assumption, if you don't know me), then I'm going to counter and say, "Maybe I don't get it because you're being a douche?" ;)
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506277)
Posted by Metrosuplex on July 24th, 2013 @ 7:02pm CDT
Delicon wrote:I'd be shocked if this lawsuit carries any weight, but we'll see.

From Wikipedia:
The first two years of Transformers toys were figures taken from older Japanese toylines, primarily Takara's Diaclone and Microman lines. 1985, however, saw several figures reused from lines created by Takatoku Toys, of which Jetfire was one — that of the VF-1S Super Valkyrie Fighter from the Macross series. This figure was one the most articulated of the early Transformer toys, featuring fully poseable shoulder, hip, elbow and knee joints, and even poseable sacroiliac joints.[9] The instruction manual for the toy even included the GERWALK mode designed for the Macross version of the toy, which was used in that animated series, and seen briefly in the Transformers season 2 episode "The Day of the Machines".
Problems over the Jetfire toy began when Bandai absorbed Takatoku Toys, and Macross regained popularity, leading to Bandai's desire to reproduce the Valkyrie toy themselves.


This lawsuit carries weight because Jetfire IS A MACROSS TOY. Ergo, as Harmony Gold has control over the property, Hasbro is REQUIRED to seek permission before using it.

Earlier in the thread, Seibertron mentioned that Hasbro previously got permission when they released Classics Jetfire a few years back. This case has merit because Hasbro apparently did not seek permission this time around.

My guess is that they thought they could slip it under the radar or were rushed. But as they broke intellectual property law (or copyright?), Hasbro should be held liable and should pay Harmony.

I'm not surprised to see a lot of people defend Hasbro (I did, too!), but there is violation here - many of you are as unaware of Jetfire's origins as I was! #-o
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506281)
Posted by Midnight_Fox on July 24th, 2013 @ 7:18pm CDT
Metrosuplex wrote: But I guess your point is that these things go to court when both parties are so volatile as to be unable to sit through arbitration of any kind.


Mostly, yes.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506282)
Posted by Delicon on July 24th, 2013 @ 7:18pm CDT
Other than the colors and the launchers, this toy looks much more like a Skystriker than anything Macross put out. I still don't see the merit.

The difference with the toy a few years back is that it was a fully transformable figure that had more resemblance to the original for that reason.
Re: Harmony Gold Files Lawsuit Over SDCC 2013 G.I. Joe / Transformers Crossover Set (1506296)
Posted by helli0n on July 24th, 2013 @ 7:59pm CDT
Metrosuplex wrote:(From Wikipedia)As with other pre-Robotech borrowings from Macross (for instance, Battletech), the licensing situation for the toy became murky with two different companies (Big West and Tatsunoko Production) asserting exclusive rights to license Macross merchandise outside Japan. Due to these legal issues, Jetfire has not been among the Transformers toys reissued in the 21st century .[10]
This toy is patented in the U.S. as patent number D287037.[11]


Now I understand the suit! #-o

This was never about how similar the SDCC jet looks to Robotech's jet.... this is about how Jetfire IS a Robotech character!

Hence, this is really Hasbro using a Robotech character without permission, regardless of how he looks in toy form. Historically, this IS a Robotech character, and Harmony thus has a right to require financial/legal permission for his use.


Actually another thought occurred to me while reading this overall thread and this post in particular. This is quite possibly a "hail mary" attempt to clarify the copyright and firmly put it in Harmony Gold's hands. There was talk about their copyright mess a few months back when one of the Japanese companies started to advertised for a potential Masterpiece-esque/Hybrid Style-esque version of the VF-1S Super Valkyrie. I don't know where that went, but I got the impression that the plans fell through. Could be wrong though...

To sum up HG saw that jet and thought this was the perfect chance to lock down copyright they've always had a problem with.

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