Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name

Transformers News: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name

Tuesday, August 29th, 2017 1:36PM CDT

Category: Company News
Posted by: Va'al   Views: 19,295

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Coming at us from Variety online, we have a minor story that will tickle some readers in the Transformers and general comics fandoms alike - though may also raise eyebrows instead. Hasbro is currently suing DC Comics/Warner Bros. for their use of the trademarked name Bumblebee for one of their characters. The situation arises from the registration of that trademark, as Hasbro filed in 2015 - the same year that DC introduced their character. Read on below, and let us know what you think in the Energon Pub!

Two superhero franchises are about to square off in federal court over the right to market “Bumblebee” toys.

Hasbro, owner of the Transformers brand, filed a lawsuit on Monday accusing Warner Bros. and DC Comics of trademark infringement. The suit claims that the DC “Bumblebee” — a teenage girl with the ability to shrink — could easily be confused with the Autobot “Bumblebee.”

Hasbro has a lot riding on the “Bumblebee” character, set to star in the first Transformers spinoff, which is due in theaters at Christmas 2018.

The company is now seeking to block the sales of Mattel’s Bumblebee toy, which is part of the DC Super Hero Girls line of action figures. Hasbro is also concerned about a Bumblebee Lego set.


For convenience, this is the Bumblebee character owned by DC Comics and Warner Bros in her Tony Daniel envisioning:

Transformers News: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name


And this is her in the current DC Super Hero Girls imagining:

Transformers News: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name


The legal technicalities are as follows:

DC Comics and Warner Bros. announced the DC Super Hero Girls franchise in April 2015 as a partnership with Mattel. The TV series began airing in October 2015. The series features younger versions of DC superheroes, including Batgirl and Harley Quinn, as they attend high school. The Bumblebee character is a tech wizard with super strength and the ability to shrink. The original Bumblebee character was first introduced in the DC “Teen Titans” comic series in 1977.

Hasbro filed for a trademark on the “Bumblebee” name on July 15, 2015, and the trademark was registered on Dec. 22, 2015.
Credit(s): Variety
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Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907309)
Posted by Black Hat on August 29th, 2017 @ 1:39pm CDT
C'mon Hasbro. Don't be stupid.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907311)
Posted by Autobot_Benz on August 29th, 2017 @ 1:41pm CDT
Like the article says DC's Bumblebee debuted in 1976 Hasbro has no case. besides 1 is a robot the other is a girl that can shriink
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907312)
Posted by Quantum Surge on August 29th, 2017 @ 1:42pm CDT
Ironic that Hasbro didn't use the name Bumblebee from Beast Wars to Cybertron.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907315)
Posted by TFmonkeybiz on August 29th, 2017 @ 1:50pm CDT
Honestly I think D.C. should win this. Firstly, as stated in the legal bit, D.C.'s Bumblebee debuted a good seven years before Hasbro's 'Bee did. Secondly, I highly doubt that anyone's going to confuse the giant yellow robot who's been a main character in five (soon to be six) major blockbuster films with the relatively obscure shrinking teenage girl who's only had a hand full of appearances outside of the comics. To me this just screams corporate greed/publicity on Hasbro's part. If anything, Hasbro should be glad D.C's not sued them before now.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907316)
Posted by Relic0037 on August 29th, 2017 @ 1:57pm CDT
I remember DC's Bumblebee from the early to mid 2000s Teen Titans cartoon. I couldn't see anyone confusing the two characters unless she started driving a yellow Volkswagen.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907317)
Posted by Ultimate Weapon1 on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:05pm CDT
Well that's pretty dumb on Hasbro's part, because really? The two characters have almost nothing in common, exept for color scheme and names. They don't even share the same concept, ones a girl that can shrink and the other a transforming alien robot, if anyone could somehow sue DC/Waner Bros, it would be Marvel, because of the similarities between DC bumblebee and Marvels Wasp, they both shrink, fly, have super strength, and both are named after insects. But you don't hear about Marvel sueing them, because Marvel doesn't care since it won't hurt them, just as it wouldn't hurt Hasbro to let this slide,because the two characters aren't even relatable.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907318)
Posted by Chibi Starscream on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:11pm CDT
Quantum Surge wrote:Ironic that Hasbro didn't use the name Bumblebee from Beast Wars to Cybertron.



If you read Hot Shot's (Armada-Cybertron) wiki you will find out that the name for Hot Shot was originally going to be Bumblebee but they couldn't use the name because of issues with the trademark using that name at the time.

DC and Hasbro both being seperate companies and the two characters, one a male autonomous robot and one a mutant human female...I don't see an issue other than kids or parents getting confused about toys on their Christmas list.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907319)
Posted by DeathReviews on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:29pm CDT
They'd better tread carefully. Who do they think a jury will side with? The african-american heroine, or the alien robot? Hasbro doesn't have exclusive rights to bumblebees. What next, sue the beekeeping industry? Or try to charge them a nickel for every time their bee keepers say the word bumblebee? Then unleash the dogs with bees in their mouths, so when they bark they shoot bees at you?
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907320)
Posted by Kurona on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:31pm CDT
Something else to note is that not only did DC Bumblebee get introduced in fiction 8 years before the Autobot; but the trademark for her was filed a few months prior to him in 2015 as stated in the articles. I'm curious if not confused and bemused about what case Hasbro decides to bring to the table.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907323)
Posted by Soundwave902 on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:44pm CDT
I have a feeling this is a terrible publicity stunt to try to cause controversy. Why else would Hasbro try to fight DC Comics, the two have never had an ill history, to the best of my knowledge.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907324)
Posted by Budder Prime on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:47pm CDT
Honestly, I think Hasbro should've just kept this quiet and Ignored it, Just let both characters exist and live with it. The only thing the two characters have in common is The name and the color scheme of Black and Yellow. Really, it shouldn't be that big of a deal. :BANG_HEAD:
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907326)
Posted by Rodimus Knight on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:50pm CDT
This could end up with Hasbro losing the Bumblebee Name. They'll have to go with Autobot Bumblebee.
This could be hilarious.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907329)
Posted by JelZe GoldRabbit on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:53pm CDT
One key note: the lawsuit is only about the trademarked name in the Toys & Sports category, not the copyrighted character in fiction. The two characters have the same name in fiction, which is fine, but trademark law allows only one company to lay claim on it in a certain category. That's where the clash comes from, the right to use "Bumblebee" for the toys. Just felt like pointing that out. >:oP

We've seen naming conflicts all the time in this line. The possible consequences for this case are... pretty mild considering the suggested severity. It boils down to whoever has to file for a new name, so don't be surprised when we get "Autobot Bumblebee" in the future. Don't know how Mattel works with prefixes, I've yet to see "DC " on any of their toys.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907333)
Posted by dragons on August 29th, 2017 @ 2:59pm CDT
That is dumb and stupid it's jackass law suit all over again random guy sued MTV for stealing his name called there hit tv show jackass another dumb lawsuit are going to go after marvel if there use transformers name on one of there characters

How long did it take them to come up with stupid law sui pretty sue dc bumblebee character has been around for some time for almost over two years
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907336)
Posted by WreckerJack on August 29th, 2017 @ 3:04pm CDT
They look nothing alike. Seems like a waste of time to me. I don't think DC is trying to do anything wrong.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907340)
Posted by Burn on August 29th, 2017 @ 3:09pm CDT
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:One key note: the lawsuit is only about the trademarked name in the Toys & Sports category, not the copyrighted character in fiction. The two characters have the same name in fiction, which is fine, but trademark law allows only one company to lay claim on it in a certain category. That's where the clash comes from, the right to use "Bumblebee" for the toys. Just felt like pointing that out. >:

This needs to be quoted again in the hopes people actually read it and understand what this is about ...
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907341)
Posted by JelZe GoldRabbit on August 29th, 2017 @ 3:12pm CDT
Another thing I'd like to point out:

Strictly speaking, it shouldn't matter how long the characters in question have been in existence, just how the "Bumblebee" trademark was used in the category it was registered under, and whatever company used it. Usually the company who used it more takes priority, in this case Hasbro has used it for over 10 whole years straight, whereas DC Licensee Mattel seemingly hasn't laid any claim on it within that time period, if the lack of DC Bumblebee is any indication.

I will admit Hasbro going after DC Comics is brazen, yet smart as they're the owner of the character, yet silly as DC only deals with comics, not toys :lol:
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907342)
Posted by Chibi Starscream on August 29th, 2017 @ 3:13pm CDT
Rodimus Knight wrote:This could end up with Hasbro losing the Bumblebee Name. They'll have to go with Autobot Bumblebee.
This could be hilarious.


Or Bumblebee could die in the next movie and we get back mah boi Hot Shot! jAaM!!!
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907344)
Posted by Rodimus Knight on August 29th, 2017 @ 3:25pm CDT
Burn wrote:
JelZe GoldRabbit wrote:One key note: the lawsuit is only about the trademarked name in the Toys & Sports category, not the copyrighted character in fiction. The two characters have the same name in fiction, which is fine, but trademark law allows only one company to lay claim on it in a certain category. That's where the clash comes from, the right to use "Bumblebee" for the toys. Just felt like pointing that out. >:

This needs to be quoted again in the hopes people actually read it and understand what this is about ...


It would be curious to look, because I believe there was a Bumblebee Toy in the crappy Teen Titans Toy line back with the original Cartoon series around 2005. It would be funny if it was trademarked back then, and no one realized it and it was still active.

I almost hate to say it, but I do hope Hasbro loses this one.
Re: Hasbro Suing DC Comics for Use of 'Bumblebee' Name (1907346)
Posted by o.supreme on August 29th, 2017 @ 3:36pm CDT
Black Hat wrote:C'mon Hasbro. Don't be stupid.


Exactly. I backed Hasbro 100% when Harmony Gold tried to make a frivolous lawsuit against them a couple years back because of a supposed Veritech likeness in one of their Jetfire toys (which we know has been sketchy since the beginning).

But the DC character of Bumblebee has been around for much longer than Transformers. She has been featured in at least 3 animated series in the past decade that have all supported merchandise of said character (Teen Titans, Young Justice, and now DC Girls) Hasbro has no case here.

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