Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Burn » Mon Dec 31, 2018 3:25 am

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Isn't there something about if it's a certain % different then there's no case? That might be how Generations Jetfire slipped through.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby frogbat » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:12 am

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People complain about prices, but that’s life... hastak have expensive prices but I’m sure they have high running costs. They have lots of people to pay, also for mp figures some even had official car licensing. Many of us collectors only see the sticker price and grumble without factoring in all the economics behind the prices. Sure sometimes it’s greed that drives a price up, other times it’s plain economics, RnD, design, marketing etc are all costs KO don’t have to deal with as much. They just need to reverse engineer something already made.

I’ve taken advantage of the ko market... have an mp ratchet KO I didn’t wanna really pay for as it was a repaint of Ironhide which I already had. Also have cheap knockoffs I found of the g1 constructicons and aerialbots. The quality of the latter is scarily poor.

On eBay, lots of ko masterpiece figures were duly marked as such, lots of g1 figures unfortunately not. So this move protects the consumer as much as hastak.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Emerje » Mon Dec 31, 2018 4:57 am

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Burn wrote:Isn't there something about if it's a certain % different then there's no case? That might be how Generations Jetfire slipped through.

That might be true, but I don't thing that applied here. Harmony Gold has been successful in protecting their license in the past, even against the Japanese rights owner and Japanese toy companies. But here the suit was dismissed "with prejudice" which prevents Harmony Gold from ever bringing a case against Hasbro again. If the SDCC case were as simple as not being close enough then it would likely have been "without prejudice" which would have let HG go after Hasbro again for Generations Jetfire.

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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby AcademyofDrX » Mon Dec 31, 2018 8:08 am

For anyone that wants to dig deeper into IP protections for physical items, I recommend reading up on Lucasilm's lawsuit against a UK manufacturer of stormtrooper uniforms.

https://www.cnn.com/2016/01/06/entertai ... index.html

The specific legal arguments in this case may not apply to toys, and the model maker used their own official original designs, but there are a few themes relevant for this scenario.

- Different protections for patents and copyright and how they are assessed.

- Different legal protections and consequences based on the country where the product is manufactured and sold, as well as where the IP originates, and jurisdictions for enforcement. Notably, Lucasfilm lost the case, so the stormtrooper armor can be sold in the UK, but US courts deemed them an infringement.

- The costs and challenges of litigation - defending against a lawsuit like this is very expensive and carries severe risks if the product is deemed an infringement. But the IP holder also has legal risks, because a judgement against them can establish a precedent.

All of that is independent from broader cultural risks to a company like Hasbro or Lucasfilm for taking action. Consider CBS's legal action against a Star Trek fan film: if they were too aggressive, then fans and even creators might turn against them. Take no action, and they effectively concede ownership of the IP. In the end, Paramount resolved the issue by providing guidelines on what they would permit to allow fan films to continue while still maintaining a level of control.

I think these broader considerations are more relevant for the case of 3P than the specifics of copyright law. At any rate, intentional counterfeited products are another case entirely.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Cyberstrike » Mon Dec 31, 2018 9:23 am

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Caelus wrote:
william-james88 wrote:
Caelus wrote:Patents only last 20yrs, so any toy designs patented before 1998 should be legally reproducible. G1 figures would have become public domain a long time ago.

Copyrights last much longer, though, so, ironically, the artwork and names on the toy's packaging is protected longer than the toy.

But the toy itself comes from a design that is copywritten, no? So by reproducing the toy you are infringing on a design copyright.


My recollection is that most of the season 1-2 G1 Transformers existed as toys in other lines before any of the characters we recognize were conceived. If one diligently reproduces or reverse engineers the original mold for Optimus, they're reproducing a toy that existed before any copyrights pertaining to "Optimus Prime".

If you want a comparison point, look at Armalite's AR-15 - it's design is now public domain, so anyone can manufacture it. The only copyright applies to the designation "AR-15" - only Colt is allowed to market the AR-15 as an AR-15.



Hasbro licensed the rights to Takara's Diaclone and Microchange for the bulk of the 84 and 85 lines with some characters like Jetfire, Shockwave, Whirl, Roadbuster, and others being licensed from other companies and lines and that is why the original Jetfire will probably never be re-issued in any country any time soon because of the whole "who owns what part of Macross/Robotech" controversy that is a subject for another day and thread.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby returnofplex » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:16 am

Walmart is about ready to give us half of an Optimus Prime figure for $10 more than a complete, super high quality KO shipped from China. What's wrong with this picture? I'd say as long as it's not a product that's part of a current line, or something coming shortly down the pipe Hasbro should be excited that the fans are so willing to consume product based on their property. We are what's kept the franchise alive for 30+ years, putting their products and characters in front of our children.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby leokearon » Mon Dec 31, 2018 10:44 am

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returnofplex wrote:Walmart is about ready to give us half of an Optimus Prime figure for $10 more than a complete, super high quality KO shipped from China. What's wrong with this picture? I'd say as long as it's not a product that's part of a current line, or something coming shortly down the pipe Hasbro should be excited that the fans are so willing to consume product based on their property. We are what's kept the franchise alive for 30+ years, putting their products and characters in front of our children.


Yes, Why shouldn't Hasbro be happy that they are getting no money while another company is making money from their I.P and copyrighted material...
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Mon Dec 31, 2018 11:52 am

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Skritz wrote:Also that part about banning fanart: what the flying **** was that about? Is Hasbro this horribly protective of its IP? :shock:


I never saw that particular part answered, so here it is:

That's a bit of an exaggeration, but this stems from BotCon 2012 when Hasbro put a ban on the sale of "IP Infringing Items"; that included "3P" figures (basically the same thing) and as a technicality fan art as well. Because think about it: those artists were selling items with likenesses of Transformers characters without Hasbro's permission. Needless to say, fans were outraged about the ban of fan art (much less so about the figures), so Hasbro revised the ban to allow the sale of fan art and other "non-toy" items.

Burn wrote:Isn't there something about if it's a certain % different then there's no case? That might be how Generations Jetfire slipped through.


That may be a factor, but the source should be legally considered as well. There is a difference between taking a design directly from a competitor, and creating a new interpretation of it from scratch, but only in severity of the infringement I believe.

Honestly, I'm a bit surprised at how many people defend the presence of bootlegs (as in direct copies down to the packaging). Sure, they're cheap, albeit illegal, alternatives, but isn't it a bit akin to biting the hand that feeds you?
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Ironhidensh » Mon Dec 31, 2018 12:18 pm

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JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:
Honestly, I'm a bit surprised at how many people defend the presence of bootlegs (as in direct copies down to the packaging). Sure, they're cheap, albeit illegal, alternatives, but isn't it a bit akin to biting the hand that feeds you?


Well, when people feel that the hand that feeds them first slaps you across the face.........


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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Dr. Caelus » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:05 am

Here's another point to consider - most of the G1 crew are based on toys designed to obviously look like specific licensed vehicles, and that was done without permission or credit. And Hastak hasn't had a great track record of respecting other people's IP (e.g., Beast Wars Torca). It's hard to say people should respect an intellectual property that was derived from stolen IP.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby ZeroWolf » Tue Jan 01, 2019 3:38 am

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Caelus wrote:Here's another point to consider - most of the G1 crew are based on toys designed to obviously look like specific licensed vehicles, and that was done without permission or credit. And Hastak hasn't had a great track record of respecting other people's IP (e.g., Beast Wars Torca). It's hard to say people should respect an intellectual property that was derived from stolen IP.

Two wrongs don't make a right, so for me at least, there's nothing to consider. End of the day, the KOs that are being targeted were the ones trying to pass themselves off as the real deal.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Emerje » Tue Jan 01, 2019 7:30 am

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returnofplex wrote:Walmart is about ready to give us half of an Optimus Prime figure for $10 more than a complete, super high quality KO shipped from China.

I'd be curious to see what would happen if someone tested the die cast metal and paint in one of these "super high quality KOs" for lead and other cheap, but toxic, metals. You really think these companies care about safety? You don't want these things in front of your kids.

Caelus wrote:And Hastak hasn't had a great track record of respecting other people's IP (e.g., Beast Wars Torca). It's hard to say people should respect an intellectual property that was derived from stolen IP.

Torca's design came from a concept artist that likely was paid for their freelance work, either directly or through an agent. Hasbro literally does this all the time. Some stuff gets made into a toy and some doesn't. They're at no obligation to tell the artist when they're using the art they were paid for and Hasbro owns. I'd like to know where the idea that the art was stolen came from because nothing I've read indicates that happening.

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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby ZeroWolf » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:04 am

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Emerje wrote:
returnofplex wrote:Walmart is about ready to give us half of an Optimus Prime figure for $10 more than a complete, super high quality KO shipped from China.

I'd be curious to see what would happen if someone tested the die cast metal and paint in one of these "super high quality KOs" for lead and other cheap, but toxic, metals. You really think these companies care about safety? You don't want these things in front of your kids.

Caelus wrote:And Hastak hasn't had a great track record of respecting other people's IP (e.g., Beast Wars Torca). It's hard to say people should respect an intellectual property that was derived from stolen IP.

Torca's design came from a concept artist that likely was paid for their freelance work, either directly or through an agent. Hasbro literally does this all the time. Some stuff gets made into a toy and some doesn't. They're at no obligation to tell the artist when they're using the art they were paid for and Hasbro owns. I'd like to know where the idea that the art was stolen came from because nothing I've read indicates that happening.

Emerje

Very good points, especially with the ingredients that go into the paint and metal of the kos.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Dr. Caelus » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:57 am

Emerje wrote:
Caelus wrote:And Hastak hasn't had a great track record of respecting other people's IP (e.g., Beast Wars Torca). It's hard to say people should respect an intellectual property that was derived from stolen IP.

Torca's design came from a concept artist that likely was paid for their freelance work, either directly or through an agent. Hasbro literally does this all the time. Some stuff gets made into a toy and some doesn't. They're at no obligation to tell the artist when they're using the art they were paid for and Hasbro owns. I'd like to know where the idea that the art was stolen came from because nothing I've read indicates that happening.

Emerje


Nothing I've read indicates he was working for Hasbro when he designed the mutant creature they turned into Torca.

tfwiki wrote:The sculpt and design for the beast modes of Torca (and likely Bantor) have a somewhat dubious history. An eagle-eyed fan spotted the distinctive beast form amidst the online portfolio of a concept designer around 2002. Upon contacting the designer ("Khang" as per the signatures on the art), he was unaware that his designs had been put to use.


I doubt that the designer of the Dodge Viper was working for Hastak when R.I.D. Sideburn was created. And then there's G2 Firecracker and all the other uses of the distinctive Lamborghini design.
You can also look at the transformation for the stealth bomber Megatron as another example of Hastak deciding that all's-fair in IP.

Edit: I'd also be interested in hearing what your sources are for your information about patents and IPs. You sound very confident in your statements about something that seems very ambiguous, but a lot of what you said on the previous page didn't sound right to me.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby Dr. Caelus » Tue Jan 01, 2019 11:20 am

Fun thing, here's the actual patent for the toy that Optimus Prime was derived from:

https://patents.google.com/patent/US4516948A/en

It is extremely detailed, and quite expired.

(According to my wife) the physical toy would be protected by two types of patent - a utility patent and a design patent.

The utility patent would protect the concept and the mechanism - so it would have once protected the idea of a truck turning into a robot via the back end swinging down to form legs, the sides swinging out into arms, etc. The design patent would protect the "ornamental" aspects of the design, the aesthetics, so the red torso and arms, the windshield chest, the grill abs, the blue legs, the pointy eared head with the face-plate. The design patent actually expires faster than the utility patent (14 years if you pay your fees, 2 years if you don't), so Optimus Prime's look (but not his name or packaging art) would have been public domain a very long time ago, and his construction soon thereafter.

Between these two things, I see no reason to think that a company can't reproduce the toy in exact detail by measuring the dimensions or reverse molding the parts. If that were the case, there would need to be a third level of patent, something more specific than the design patent, and that level would need to be protect in perpetuity (or for a very long time). If you know of such a thing, please share.

But as far as I can tell, reproducing the original toy and marketing it as a licensed Hastak Transformer would be quite illegal, but reproducing the original toy or engineering a similar toy (e.g., 3P figures), should be perfectly legal so long as the manufacturer doesn't market it with the copyrighted elements (e.g., the Autobot insignia or the name "Optimus Prime").

The ambiguity in my mind comes with the copyright - how far does that extend? What does it encompass? For example, does Optimus Prime's head qualify as 'artwork' such that it would be protected by copyright law?
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby MaverickPrime » Tue Jan 01, 2019 12:55 pm

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I understand that this is what is morally and legally right, but sadly, the KO Masterpiece figures(and some upscaled movie KOs) not only were cheaper, but IMPROVED compared to the original releases, the OS KO voyagers from TLK put the originals to shame with much better paint AND added joints.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby JelZe GoldRabbit » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:03 pm

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Caelus wrote:Here's another point to consider - most of the G1 crew are based on toys designed to obviously look like specific licensed vehicles, and that was done without permission or credit. And Hastak hasn't had a great track record of respecting other people's IP (e.g., Beast Wars Torca). It's hard to say people should respect an intellectual property that was derived from stolen IP.


The car models having to be licensed was not a thing until the early 2000's, or at the very least not rigidly enforced. Car Robots Wildride was a replica of a Mercedes-Benz ML320 SUV, but his counterpart RiD 2001 X-Brawn had the headlights changed and the taillights removed. On the flipside, RiD 2001 Side Burn was unchanged from CR Speedbreaker who was a Dodge Viper; that resulted in Dodge demanding later releases to include the logo, including any future retools. RiD 2001 Prowl was also unchanged from CR Mach Alert, but amazingly escaped Lamborghini's wrath. In short, one was changed, one was licensed, one managed to avoid it altogether. *shrugs*

Worth noting is that all Commemorative reissues around the same time weren't licensed either AFAIK. Possibly not a requirement then, not sure about now (Reissue Bumblebee being licensed doesn't bode that well tho). Also note that for Diaclone and Microman, the makes of the cars and jets were called out, but that wasn't legally binding I believe.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Tue Jan 01, 2019 1:06 pm

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Many will survive, some possibly even untouched. However, stuff like the counterfeit G1s that was literally intended to pass itself off - not even telltale typos like "Takasa Tony" - as authentic Hasbro product (and thus could be used to defraud collectors by unscrupulous dealers) might take a while to resurface for fresh production and will likely have to give up on its bogus branding.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby 9adam83 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 5:45 pm

Good for Hasbro! As a G1 collector of REAL Transformers I am sick and tired of seeing these Chinese KO's on Ebay and other sites that claim the KO's are the real deal. This is not about Hasbro being greedy, this is about Hasbro creating an idea in the 80's and the Chinese once again trying to steal American Companies ideas rather than coming up with anything original themselves. China keeps stealing American Products and then makes money off of counterfeits. The KO's look like crap anyways and are now costing a lot of money for a KO which quite honestly makes zero sense to pay hundreds of dollars for a fake item. :BOT: :CON: :HASBRO: :KREMZEEK:
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Tue Jan 01, 2019 8:23 pm

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Actually the KOs we're talking about, the ones in fake G1 packaging, don't look like crap - they're of good quality and hold up well next to the originals quality-wise based on reviews. We're not talking the fragile KO Commandos or the funny-stickered Aerialbots or junk like Freighterpan here. We're talking stuff only given away by subtle differences in the box prints and the fact that the launchers aren't neutered. And in a few cases, decos we never got (like Red Mirage).

When sold as "reissues" by half-honest dealers they tend to be substantially cheaper than authentic MISB G1s (tens of dollars rather than hundreds). But they could be and have been passed off as authentic vintage G1s before, which is a problem.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby th3BatBott » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:26 pm

Hi. Noob here. New to the forums but not new to Transformers or collecting Transformers.
Hasbro is sounding like the jealous teenage who's jealous because somebody else is the better ripoff artist. When 3Ps and KO companies are making better products for less than Haabro.
I also have to harp on those defending Hasbro so diligently. Hasbro are the original KO company in this scenario. They created NOTHING. All they did was swoop in on other companies' properties, slap names on them and swindle them out of the respective rights.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby william-james88 » Tue Jan 01, 2019 9:41 pm

FYI, Hasbro stole none of the toy rights from Takara. As a matter of fact, all Transformers I handle have legal writing in the back back stating that the toys are under license from Takara Tomy.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby th3BatBott » Wed Jan 02, 2019 12:15 am

I never said Habro stole any rights. I said swindle and swindle they did.
Most of Hasbro's newer Transformers creations are made of cheaper, more hollow and less durable plastics. Hasbro's Transformers are made to break. Takara products, usually, feel more sturdy and have better paint jobs. 3rd party and KO creations are, usually, of better quality, engineering, and paint jobs. For instance. I am so much happier with my LT02 than I was with MPM04. It is so obvious who took the time and put the care in to make a better product.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby ZeroWolf » Wed Jan 02, 2019 3:28 am

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Weapon: Battle Blades
Takara's toys are from the same factory as hasbros, the legends toys may have got more paint but they both started at the same place.
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Re: Hasbro wins legal battle against bootlegs in China

Postby ZeldaTheSwordsman » Wed Jan 02, 2019 7:53 am

Motto: "It's unnerving and insulting when people in a toy-based fandom, whatever it is, make statements to the effect that general consumers and fans of lesser financial means should be deprived entirely of the ability to partake of the primary market."
Weapon: Galaxial Rocket Launcher
Fun fact: It's Takara that supervises the factories.
And the "Waaah waaaah Hasbro tfs am made of ko plastic" thing is bunk. :roll:
WANT:
Energon Optimus digger, firetruck, & copter drones; super mode head
Ultra-class Optimus Primal missiles, left back panel, mutant mask
Combiner Wars Dead End or Offroad HFG, Breakdown HFG
Armada Thundercracker missile
Armada Optimus front left trailer strut, cheekguards
ROTF Jetfire "JTFR" Panels
Cybertron Safeguard
RID Ultra Magnus missiles
Vector Prime Cyber Key
Armada Jolt, Thunderclash, Clench
RID Galvatron foot/dragon head, 1x launcher/sword hilt
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