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Hasbro Sues ASUS For “Transformer Prime” Name – Says Consumers Will Associate The Tablet With Autobot Leader

What do we have here. Oh yes, it’s yet another lawsuit from a company attacking an Android manufacturer. Nothing new there. Or is it? In a surprising twist, this time, the lawsuit has nothing to do with an Android competitor.

Seems Hasbro isn’t too keen on ASUS allegedly “stealing” one of their trademarks when they released the Transformer Prime (now being shipped). According to Hasbro, the Transformer Prime is clearly “stealing” their trademark from the Autobot leader, a Mr. “Optimus Prime,” star of their Transformers franchise. Hasbro’s believes that ASUS was banking the fact that consumers would associate the convertible tablet with the animated TV show. They issued this statement:

“The specific actions we are taking today against ASUS underscores yet again Hasbro’s willingness to pursue companies who misappropriate our intellectual property for their own financial gain.”

I can’t imagine anyone could actually associate the tablet with a children’s TV show (and one of the best 80′s movies of all time) but I guess anything’s possible. Should ASUS be forced to change the name of the greatest Android tablet of all time to avoid a conflict with the greatest Autobot of all time?

[MocoNews via Electronista]

Continue reading on the ASUS Transformer Prime forums, see the specs, or find news and reviews.




  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7HY5ASZXK3WS6OPO2RZIAUGBQ4 Thomas R.

    No surprise here

  • Line6ix

    if inventing the words transformer and prime are your intellectual property, then why isn’t it called Hasbro Dictionary.  Shut up Hasbro.

    • http://www.vgchartz.com SuperChunk

      When you heard “Transformer Prime” you didn’t think of Optimus? Asus was clearly going for that angle.

      • http://www.facebook.com/travis.rowland Travis Lee Rowland

        They didn’t have to go off any angle, the product would sell if it was called “epic pile of shit”, I would have still bought it, and you would too!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25818168 Matt Goldberg

    Honestly, the Transformer Prime name does make me think of the Transformer series.

    • Line6ix

      yeah, but whenever someone says “i’m coming”, that makes me think of someone having an orgasm, yet thats not what it actually means. hasbro should be grateful.  if something COMPLETELY UNRELATED to hasbro’s toys/movies puts the thought of their toys/movies into your head, its free advertising.

      • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25818168 Matt Goldberg

        Hasbro didn’t say a thing when the first transformer came out.  Now, ASUS has added Prime.  

      • Mitchel White

        honestly the name makes me wanna watch transformers lol

        • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=25818168 Matt Goldberg

          I’m doing that right now.

          • Mitchel White

            lucky, i gatta find mine, but not the 3rd, that one kinda sucked :(

          • http://www.vgchartz.com SuperChunk

            dislike. You should be watching the cartoons on youtube.

        • http://www.mark717.com Mark Seven

          Me too lol

      • ScottColbert

        You are a complete dimwit.

        • Line6ix

          good arguement!

      • http://www.blackred.co.uk/ Greg Fyans

        Copyright infringement is free advertising? Now I actually *have* heard it all.

  • TheJunkie

    what cartoon?

  • lawnsprinkler

    I own the original transformer and i’m not shocked at all.  I thought they were pushing it with the Transformer name, but I could see how it could slide.  Add prime to the name and it just looks like Asus is trying to ride on the coat tails of the franchise.

    • Matt Poulsen

      absolutely. I had just assumed that ASUS was licensing the name.  I can’t understand why ASUS would dream of trying this with out permission. 

      • Unorthodox

        Absolutely agree. I too thought they acquired the licensing deal when they used the names so freely. ASUS totally leveraged the Hasbro trademark. Frankly, I thought the same of LG with their Optimus line.

      • http://twitter.com/CraigHwk Craig Hawkins

        I too thought they had licensed the name. Verizon decided it was a good idea to license the Droid name with Lucasfilm, and that’s an even more obscure reference.   

        ASUS pushed too hard. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_7HY5ASZXK3WS6OPO2RZIAUGBQ4 Thomas R.

    Honestly, before I really got into this whole Android thing and would get on this sight I was always wondering why we were talking about Transformers here. So I see where Hasbro is going w/ this. 

  • Zenstrive

    Then siemens could use Hasbro for the use of words Transformers. It is afterall, a generic name for power infrastructure.

    • Matt Poulsen

      No they couldn’t. Siemens doesn’t own a trademark for “transformers.”  And in the context of power transfer it is generic. But that has nothing to do with consumer goods.  Unless you’re alleging that the transformer toys are power transfer devices??

  • ElvisMarmaduke

    And here, I thought they had leased the named lawl

  • bmg314

    I believe this is why we don’t have a Nexus Prime.

  • ZeoVGM


    I can’t imagine anyone could actually associate the tablet with a children’s TV show (and one of the best 80′s movies of all time) but I guess anything’s possible.”

    How exactly could you not imagine that? If it were just one of the two words in the name, that would be understandable, but when you put “Transformer” and “Prime” together in the name of product, you know -exactly- what you’re doing. Can’t blame Hasbro for this as it’s pretty blatant.

    • Line6ix
    • http://twitter.com/acntspeel Brian Claude

      Yea but considering it was a such a blatant attempt at thief could you
      blame Hasbro for trying their best to take advantage of ASUS?

      • Matt Poulsen

        Huh??  How is Hasbro taking advantage of ASUS??  Hasbro has trademarks for both Transformer and Prime.  They have a legal right to those names. Moreover, when you first hear Transformer Prime don’t tell me you don’t first think of the Transformers franchise.  

        • beerme828

          Honestly, I don’t really get that confused between a tablet and a cartoon. And I dont think that ASUS had any intention of copying the name for gain…especially as I sincerely doubt that ASUS is going to profit more because of the name, or that Hasbro is going to be hurt because of it.

          When ASUS released the original Transformer, there was no confusion (and to my knowledge, no lawsuit from Hasbro)… and the name, Transformer, makes sense since the product “transforms” from a tablet to a netbook. To add “Prime” as a modifier to the root, “Transformer”, doesn’t strike me as a “rip off” of Hasbro or anything, it logically follows. The tablet is badass, top of the line, “prime” – like prime rib!… and Hasbro does seem to be raising this point a little late in the game to really earn sympathy points from me

          • Off_Road_Racing

            Actually, I think the whole issue was NOT confusing, but people would think the Asus Transformer Prime is related to Hasbro, and that Hasbro would be getting some of the money from buying the device.

            That, obviously, is not true. That is why Hasbro is mad. It’s seeming lyk Asus is trying to make themselves seem lyk they’re cool with Hasbro.

            Too be honest, when I heard about the Asus Transformer, I thought about the actual cartoon. I also thought that if you got the Asus Transformer, it would come with the Transformers movie, lyk the HD2. (Still have those 2 free movies. :P)

          • beerme828

            lol interesting take. Maybe Hasbro should get behind the TP and use it as a marketing tool themselves…

          • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Hight/1143997714 Jason Hight

            Why would anyone assume Hasbro would be getting money for the device?  It’s not the “Transformer Optimus Prime.”  Optimus Prime was a Transformer.  There is no Transformer Prime in the show.  Hell, I equated the LG Optimus with the show more than I did the Transformer(prime).  You know that old saying about what happens when you ass-u-me something?

            Also, “lyk?”  Really?  The word is like.  It’s one extra character.  Not hard to take the extra 1/10th of a second to spell it properly.

    • Tylar Clark

      fully agree… I’d bet all my past, current, and future android devices on the fact that Asus knew damn well the connection that name has to hasbro’s property. come on.. transformer prime.. what next?.. it’s the decepticon starscream tablet!!!

      • Ryan Young

        I would buy that.  I would buy that right fuckin now.

  • YamiYaiba

    Hope they sure the Optimus line too

    • MarcusDW

      Its not the Optimus Prime and the phone doesn’t transform in any manner.

      • Matt Poulsen

        Yes, it does transform.  It can be converted from a tablet to a quasi-laptop.  And that’s pretty much irrelevant anyway. 

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_3TWTEKBS24WMAJUAHBSRL56YWA Chris

    I would have a *little* more sympathy for Hasbro if they filed the suit last month right after the Transformer Prime was announced.  By waiting until after it started shipping to consumers, they don’t appear (to me) to be acting in good faith to protect their intellectual property; instead they appear to be trying their best to take advantage of the situation.  I only hope whatever judge and/or jury gets this case sees things that way.  I also hope someone brings up the BBX vs RIM trademark case that caused RIM to change the name of their new OS right after it was announced, rather than waiting until after RIM started shipping phones with the OS (not quite the same but I see parallels in the two cases).

    Of course all that assumes that Hasbro wasn’t trying to negotiate out of the public eye for the past several weeks, and I’m betting that there’s no requirement of “good faith” in copyright/patent/trademark law.Either way, go get ‘em Asus!

    • Matt Poulsen

      My guess is a lot was going on in the background we haven’t heard about it. 

    • Off_Road_Racing

      Maybe they were mad already that Asus had used the name “Transformer”, so when they heard about this, they decided to wait until they shipped them. This way they’d be able to get a maximum amount of revenge.

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Jason-Hight/1143997714 Jason Hight

      My guess would be they waited until they were shipping so they could get a licensing agreement.  Had they done it when the TP was announced, it would’ve been more likely that they got an injunction to bar sales until they either got licensing (expensive) or changed the name (easy/cheap).  It’s not so easy/cheap to change a product’s name after it’s started shipping.

      • http://www.mark717.com Mark Seven

        Cutthroat legal strategies…

  • http://twitter.com/acntspeel Brian Claude

    I hate to say but considering the Transformers movie series have recently brought back the use of the Transformers brand I think they have a point. Both the words “Transformer” and “Prime” pertain to the series. They’ll probably end up changing the name but whatever it could be called Hello Kitty Fun Time for all I care as long as the product is the same. Actually, I guess Hello Kitty Fun Time is also a trademarked name but you get the point.

    • Damon Lewis

      But the tablet is able to “transform” (by adding the keyboard). Hasbro own transforming robots, not the general concept of one thing transforming to another (and if they do we are all screwed).

      • Matt Poulsen

        A trademark has nothing to do with the function of the device.  That is a patent and they don’t have a patent for “transforming” things.  They have a trademark, which merely protects the NAME.  And how would ASUS be screwed by simply picking a different name?? 

        • http://www.facebook.com/travis.rowland Travis Lee Rowland

          I don’t understand how Hasbro could own a copyright to the singular words “transformer” and “prime” — this is exactly why I effing hate our country. The USA sucks!!!

      • Off_Road_Racing

        Dude… The Asus Transformer is a mechanic device that can transform from one thing to another. Are you serious? That’s a dead win for Hasbro. -_-

  • johnny989

    People associate the “Droid” branding with star wars, especially when the first Droid came out. Verizon actually pays lucas films to use the name. ASUS really should have seen this coming.

    • http://twitter.com/savagejeep SavageJeep

      And people scoffed at that as well at the time. But since they paid for the licensing they started running with the theme… R2D2 Droid2, marketing etc. 

    • Line6ix

      droid was a word created by the lucas empire…not an everyday word that everyone uses.

      • johnny989

        transformer in the sense of a machine “transforms into something else” is made up by hasbro. They own the rights to it. Transformer isn’t an everyday word and the only other thing that’s called a transformer are electrical transformers such as the ones on power lines. I don’t think ASUS wanted to have people think that there tablet should be part of a power line.

        • Line6ix

          lol  you serious bro? the word transformer has existed for a long time…

          http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/transform

          • johnny989

            ….that’s the word transform. Transformer is there, as in the electrical sense. You’re disagreeing with everyone and all that’s happening is that everyone is thinking that you’re a douche bag. Happy Holidays :)

        • Line6ix

          i’m just gonna go ahead an LOL at you again, since you edited your post

        • Line6ix

          well, the tablet doesn’t transform into something else…its always just a plain ol’ tablet…i don’t think they are wanting people to thing their tablet is an independently moving, talking thinking robot that turns into a harrier jet and saves the planet from the evil robots either…soooooooooo yeah

          • http://www.vgchartz.com SuperChunk

            I think they called it Transformer as it transforms from a tablet to a laptop. Which is actually really cool btw.

            edit…ignore.. I read in the wrong direction. This is already covered and I’m sure my post looks silly now.

          • nicotinic

            Yes they do… Hasbro’s Transformer Optimus Prime is an Android. The Transformer Prime runs…Android. You nay-sayers really can’t see the link?
            I’m sure they’d love potential customers to think their device had some of the qualities of an android that is efficient enough to simulate an A.I. It talks and does many things a “robot” would do.

  • http://twitter.com/acntspeel Brian Claude

    Yea but considering it was a such a blatant attempt at thief could you blame Hasbro for trying their best to take advantage of ASUS?

  • MarcusDW

    I LOVE 80′s TRANSFORMERS!!

    And yes I think of the cartoon when I hear TP and ASUS is definitely banking on the name’s popularity giving it an edge.

  • WickedToby741

    Hasbro shouldn’t sue Asus, they should become marketing partners with Asus since the Transformer Prime is pure awesome just like Optimus Prime.

    • Off_Road_Racing

      Oh? So maybe they’ll do what Microsoft is doing to HTC. They tried to sue, but HTC just worked out a license with them. So maybe Hasbro is hoping for something lyk that.

  • One Radical Dude

    Not surprising. I saw it coming. “Transformer Prime”, “Transformers Prime” on The Hub? I’m only surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

  • Guest

    If it was only named Transformer the thought of the cartoon and movie series would come to mind anyways. Adding Prime to it doesn’t change the fact people would associate or think of the Transformer series. Hasbro is just looking to pocket some loot. They don’t have anything better to do with their time and money, might as well stir some drama.

    • J R

      Well it’s their right to do that

  • Liquifire3D

    Who didn’t see that comin from day one?

  • Matt Poulsen

    Why would anyone be shocked by this??  And Transformer and Prime are absolutely intellectual property.  You don’t “invent” words.  You trademark words or word phrases that are associated with products.  You ask 100 people on the street where the words Transformer/Prime are from and what do you honestly think the answer is?  I would bet 100% of them would say the cartoon/movies/toys.  I would ask why ASUS decided to use those words.  There are nearly an infinite number of words or word combinations that ASUS could have come up with.  Why did they use Transformer Prime?  Could it be that their ASUS tablet, having the ability to “transform” into a quasi-laptop might remind people of the Transformer robots?  Its a clear attempt at coattail hanging.

    And all of those trying to be cute and throwing out random names of other things and claiming that Hasbro could be sued on those grounds, my answer is sure they could if those other companies (e.g., Siemens) would have actually registered those names.  You don’t just have a trademark automatically. You have to register it and undergo a trademark examination. 

    There is clearly a huge lack of understanding here by a few of the posters and the author as to what an actual trademark represents. 

    • Line6ix

      asus eee pad transformer tf101   wheres the lawsuit for that?
      adding the word prime, which is defined as “of the greatest relevance or significance” makes perfect sense.  
      optimus prime is a transformer,  the asus transformer prime is a completely different thing.

      ASUS probably knew exactly what they were doing, but to think that they didnt do their part to consult with trademark lawyers before proceeding is just as stupid as thinking they didn’t.  I’m guessing they were probably told, “We don’t believe this is infringement” and proceeded thusly.

      • Matt Poulsen

        You’re crazy if you think a trademark attorney would tell them that.  Either that or they have extremely bad trademark attorneys (and by the way I am a trademark/patent attorney). At the very very best their attorneys would tell them they’ll like get sued, but we might be able to beat them…might. 

        Trademark law is about confusion.  Calling something “transformer” is one thing. That’s already bad, but arguable.  Calling something Transformer Prime is insanely bad.  And you mention “Optimus Prime” as though that is the extend of their trademark protection.  The own the trademark for “Transformers Prime.”  There is simply no question that Hasbro will win this if it actually goes to trial.

        • Line6ix

          why would they own transformers prime?   i’m not arguing anymore…genuinely intrigued.

          • http://www.aldenbates.com/ Alden

            One of the current Transformers cartoons (it screens on the Hub) is named “Transformers Prime”.

          • Matt Poulsen

            Ah. Good to know.  Scratch my 2nd theory above.  Turns out it is just a lame derivation of the original. 

          • Matt Poulsen

            I don’t know.  They own a lot of names.  Maybe some lame derivation of the original cartoon series.  I actually just looked it up and it appears as though its an active application, meaning it has not yet issued to hasbro.  That’s even more intriguing and it tells me these guys have been at it for a while and that maybe Hasbro filed the new application (in early 2010) in an effort to cut ASUS off.  Not entirely sure. 

          • http://www.facebook.com/travis.rowland Travis Lee Rowland
      • Matt Poulsen

        I would also add that the definition of “Prime” is entirely irrelevant.  Its about whether a consumer when hearing Transformer Prime they would be confused and believe it was associated with the Hasbro toy line.  Be honest.  Hearing “Transformer Prime” in vacuum with no knowledge of ASUS what do you think of?  That will essentially be the test for the jury. Take 12 average people stick them in a jury box and let them see the words Transformer Prime or hear the words Transformer Prime and tell me they don’t associate that with the wildly popular Habro toy, movie, and cartoon line. 

        • Line6ix

          so it’s left up to a judge to decide whether every person hears transformer prime and thinks of hasbros transformers?  because i bet there are plenty of people that don’t make that association.

          edit… it a vacuum with no knowledge of asus isn’t fair..with no knowledge of hasbro’s transformers, this thing goes the complete opposite way…right?

          • Matt Poulsen

            No, its not up to a judge. Hasbro will submit consumer polling information as proof. And a jury will weigh that proof along with their own common sense understanding to determine whether their is consumer confusion. 

            It is fair to ignore ASUS.  Hasbro has had the trademarks for a long time.  The question is whether ASUS is infringing on Hasbro’s trademark.  Its not whether ASUS deserves it more. Hasbro has a trademark and the only question that will exist is whether ASUS’s use of that name is likely to cause confusion. 

          • Matt Poulsen

            I’d also add that you can count me as one of the consumers that thought there was some connection. I had assumed all this time that the Transformer and the Transformer Prime were licensed names from Hasbro.  And the fact that the device “transformed” even more led me down that path.  And I thought it was a creative name and a good relationship. When I saw the news release I was completely shocked that they weren’t in a relationship. 

            And the other thing that is really really going to work against ASUS is the fact that the Hasbro Transformers is so popular right now and very few average Joes (which make up the jury) even know what the ASUS Transformer is.  When people here Transformer, Transformers, Prime, and etc. they think Transformers the toys, cartoons, and movies.  That will kill ASUS. 

        • Guest

          One cannot be sure what a consumer thinks when looking at that name. Transformer and Prime are two generic words that have meanings separate from the movie/cartoon. One can easily argue that the meaning has to do with the laptop’s ability to transform and the fact that it’s the ‘best’ available at the moment.

          It’s unfortunate Hasbro chose to trademark generic terms like Prime or Transformer(s) but there’s a price to pay for ambiguity although I really doubt this would cost Hasbro anything as they are two completely different products.  This is no different from Apple trying to stop the use of App Store which I believe they trademarked. So far they have not had any luck and I doubt they will. 

          • Matt Poulsen

            Transformer and Prime are not generic terms for the purposes of trademark law. The word “generic” has a special connotation in trademark law.  There is a scale of descriptions ranging from “generic” to “fanciful.’”  “Car” is a generic term when dealing with automobiles.  So a company that makes cars could not get a trademark for “car.” Moreover, its analyzed with respect to Hasbro’s trademark, not ASUS’s product.  Hasbro’s trademarks are valid, there isn’t much to debate there.  Transformer and Prime simply are not generic words. 

            The comparison to Apple and the App Store is flawed, First, I don’t think Apple got a trademark for the App Store.  And “App” in the context of a service for selling applications (which have long been called “apps”) is dangerously close to being generic.  But Apple is the plaintiff there, not the defendant. 

            Notwithstanding Hasbro’s mark, do you think ASUS could get a trademark for Transformer Prime??  Absolutely they could.  And that’s because its not generic, or even descriptive.  Tablet is generic.  But when you think of other tablet devices you don’t go and say “oh look at that new transformer prime.”  That would have to be the case for transformer prime to be generic.  Not even close.  If you think Transformer or Prime are generic then no one could ever trademark anything.  And to be clear, you can’t trademark generic terms.

            I understand what you’re arguing.  But I’m simply telling you that is not how trademark law works.

          • Guest

            I agree Asus can probably get a trademark for Transformer Prime as used TOGETHER. But to get a  trademark for  the words transformer and prime separately would make no sense IMO.

            Name someone who has never used the verb transform at least once in their lifetime? Hasbro did not invent the function or the word to describe it.  

             Transformer is a noun derived from the verb  transform. IMO, one should NOT be able to trademark it. So it’s really not that different from App in App store.

            Asus is attaching the word transformer to a product that can transform. If it didn’t transform then it probably would be more of a sticky situation but the fact that it DOES transform means it serves a function that has a word to describe it. And that word just happens to be…………. transform.

            Prime has several meanings. In Hasbro’s world Prime is just a name. In everybody else’s,  prime can have several others. Prove to me that prime in transformer Prime doesn’t mean anything other than ‘topdog’ or ‘best’. 

            You can’t and no juror could.  

            Yes I agree, Hasbro has these trademarks but maybe they shouldn’t. 

          • Matt Poulsen

            John:

            That’s not how trademark law works.  The fact that a word has a common meaning isn’t a big factor.  Its only really relevant when its used to describe the actual product.  And there is even case law stating that using words like “best” “number one” and etc. (like Prime in the way you are suggesting) don’t count towards describing the product.

            Moreover, it doesn’t matter what ASUS was trying to do.  Its about Hasbro’s trademark.  Here is an example:

            Company A develops a computer and calls it Apple.  Company A then trademarks that name.  Provided Apple isn’t actually describing the device they are perfectly able to get a trademark.  This is what Hasbro did.  Nothing about Transformers or Prime relates to the consumer products, movies, and etc. that they make (in terms of generic description).   At that point, it doesn’t matter what ASUS does.  Even if someone buys your story that Transformer and Prime are generic terms with respect to the tablet.  The problem is they aren’t treating them as generic terms.  They aren’t saying here is our  X-Y-Z transformer prime as someone would say here is our X-Y-Z tablet.  They are using Transformer Prime as a specific name for their tablet.  They are using it not to describe their goods, but to market their goods and their is a big difference.

            If you prescribe to your idea of not being able to trademark names that already exist then almost nothing (except completely fabricated names) could ever be trademarked.  Think that through and I think you’ll find that’s not reasonable.

            The test for generic naming is whether or not allowing company A to have that name someone disadvantages others in the market.  For example, if you are a tablet company and your tried to get the trademark for Tablet, you’d almost definitely fail.  And it fails because no one else who makes tablets could use the word tablet in their name. None of that is going on here. Neither Transformer or Prime is inherent to their product.  They could have just as easily named it Converter One and that would have had no less significance with respect to the device than Transformer Prime.  They chose Transformer Prime because of all the goodwill Hasbro had built up in the name, the name has value.

            And no I can’t prove to you what ASUS meant by Prime or Transformer. But as I said above, it absolutely does not matter.  Hasbro has valid trademarks and are almost definitely not subject to invalidation.  Whether  Transformer or Prime describes something ASUS is doing is simply irrelevant.  What will be tested is the level of consumer confusion and that will be done through consumer polling data and jury interpretation.

          • Guest

            Well obviously I’m arguing with someone who probably is a lawyer and I appreciate you taking the time to explain very roughly how trademark law works however I’m still not sure how they got that trademark in the first place.

            I get the gist of what you’re saying but the Apple example is different.
            Transformer(s) as Hasbro is using it describes what the products are doing. They can transform.  This is not like Apple where the name has nothing to do with describing the product as you rightly said.

            If you say there are laws that say ‘best’ and ‘number’ etc don’t really describe a product, I’m in no position to doubt that, however, we have a well known retail chain as a good example: Best Buy. Surely that name is trademarked right?  However I doubt the words ‘best’ and ‘buy’ are both individually trademarked as well.  

          • Matt Poulsen

            John:

            Yes, you can trademark Best Buy. And yes you can trademark Transformer Prime.  But that is the test for getting a trademark, not infringement of the trademark. 

            You’re kind of looking at it backwards.  Its not about what ASUS is doing with their product.  The trademark already exists and its owned by Hasbro.  Nothing would have been taken away from ASUS had they simply used a different name.  Transformer and/or Prime is not a generic description of the device (like tablet). “Transformer” might be somewhat descriptive (and that’s giving extreme deference to ASUS) but that doesn’t matter when faced with a standing trademark by Hasbro for Transformers, Transformers Prime, and etc.

            When I mentioned that things like “one” “prime” and “best” are not important for trademarking I wasn’t completely clear.  I mean from an infringement perspective.  For example, if you went out and started selling something calling it Nike Prime, or Nike Best, or Nick Supreme you wouldn’t be able to avoid being sued (and losing) for infringement merely because you added that extra word.  Here its no different.  And to make it worse, the name “Prime” is trademarked by Hasbro, which is a double whammy.

          • Guest

            Matthew:

            My contention will always be with the trademark itself.  I think it was wrong for that trademark to be awarded in the first place as it’s clearly a desriptive word and is being used as such by BOTH parties. And I doubt we’ll see eye to eye there. 

            Anyway we’ll see how this all plays out. Thanks for your educated insight regardless.  

          • Off_Road_Racing

            Oh come on. You know the first thing that pops in your mind is “Transformers, robots in disguise”. Regardless of how you use the word in your every day life. If you here the word, “Transformer”, the cartoon will be in your thoughts.

            That’s what Hasbro is saying. 

            And the whole AppStore thing? Um… I thought that was related to Apple having the name AppStore? To be honest, I always thought it was called iTunes and iTunes had an AppStore. But I refuse to start an argument on that subject. If I’m wrong on that, then let it be.

    • Guest

      Well first of all the Cartoon was called the Transformers (s at the end) and the  character’s full name was Optimus Prime. Because YOU can make a connection doesn’t mean that connection is valid. Prime in itself can mean ‘first in excellence or top’ in terms of quality. Also no where in the cartoon or in the movie is there even a slight reference to a Transformer Prime.

      Also the ability to transform cannot be trademarked. So calling a product a transformer (a generic term) should not be an issue.

      This is a weak case IMO and I’m not sure they’ll succeed.

      • Matt Poulsen

        They are not trademarking the function of the device and it really doesn’t matter what Prime means. They have trademarked the name Transformer, Transformers and Transformers Prime among other things.  As far as infringement analysis goes that one little “s” will make almost zero difference.  The test will be whether a jury associates the name Transformer Prime with Hasbro’s Transformers line.

        I actually believe its a slam dunk for Hasbro. Moreover, the fact that the ASUS device “transforms” works against ASUS not form them.  Its  a device that transforms and they then added the name prime to it. It even further shows that they were trying to play on the value of the Hasbro franchise.

      • Off_Road_Racing

        Yea the cartoon was called that. But what do you think they called each other in singular form? Dohye!! LoL!!

        They own those words. Because a Transformer is a character in the show. So now the Asus Transformer Prime has become a character in a childs’ cartoon that adults love as well.

  • blaque_prince

    I love Android and I’m probably as big a fanboy as anybody but lets be real here folks. Transfomer is cuttin it close. But Transformer Prime????? If you can’t see the problem here then you are blind. I mean what do they have to do call the next one Megatron? I’m surprised they got away with it till this point. I thought they had made an agreement with Hasbro all along honestly. The Transfomer is my line of choice for tablets but seriously….theres absolutely nothing wrong with this law suit.

    • bmg314

      Megatron? Why would they name a tablet after Calvin Johnson? O_o

      Seriously tho, I would totally buy atablet or phone named Megatron… The Megatron 4G!

  • modtv1337

    Tim what are you 12? Lol it’s not free advertising when your piggybacking your product on someone elses trademark…. The concept of the trademark was made for just this type of lowball marketing. I obviously fully support hasbro in this lawsuit the nameing of the laptop was not an accident they knew about the many popular movies and btw you would be stupid to think hasbro has no stake in the movies and everything else transformer its thier asset and if it where me i would do the same. -posted via a galaxytab 10.1 tablet

    • Line6ix

      i’m not 12, but i’m looking at the fact that hasbro doesn’t LOSE ANYTHING from another unrelated company using REGULAR ENGLISH WORDS that DO NOT mean the same thing as hasbro’s product, and i think to myself…WHY IS THIS HAPPENING.  its so pointless and a waste of money.  

      • Matt Poulsen

        Its called trademark dilution and its not pointless. Every time another company is able to hijack their brand their brand becomes less valuable.  For example, the next time Hasbro wants to come out with a new product the name will be that much less valuable because some consumers will begin associating that name with ASUS.  Sure, its not a big deal now because ASUS isn’t a major player, but its a gradual thing that occurs over time.  What for example would happen if Apple had used the name Transformer Prime?

        On top of that, most people also assume that ASUS has Hasbro’s blessing (i.e., via licensing agreement) and that directly or indirectly Hasbro was giving their stamp of approval to the ASUS tablet.  If ASUS’s products turn out to be garbage then that can definitely hurt the value of Hasbro’s trademarks in Transformer and Prime. 

        Its not a waste of money.  If it were really as simple as free advertising and nothing could hurt Hasbro then why on Earth would Hasbro sue over it??? 

        • Superguy

          So, by this logic, are you saying than any electrical transformer could get smacked because of trade mark dilution?  After all, calling those items transformers infringes on the trademark … :D

          I don’t think people would necessarily assume Hasbro gave Asus their blessing.  Maybe if they had Autobot logos or something all over it and made it look like a Transformer or even had it painted red they might have a point. Not even close to the same industry. 

          This is about as dumb as Taco Bell, Taco Time, and Del Taco all suing each other because they have Taco in their names and all have a southwestern motif.

          • Matt Poulsen

            No, I’m not saying that.  But electric transfer equipment is much farther removed from the space Hasbro occupies than is ASUS.  Moreover, ASUS was not sued for  “transformer.”  They were sued for Transformer Prime.

            Further, the electrical transformer is a generic name associated with that one specific device, regardless of the manufacturer.  ASUS isn’t building electrical transformers, they’re building tablets (which by the way “tablet” is the generic term for what ASUS). 

        • http://www.facebook.com/travis.rowland Travis Lee Rowland

          ASUS is not a major player? HAHAHAHA I’m sorry but they are a multi-billion dollar company. I actually think they probably make more money than the Hasbro franchise. HAHAHAHAHA

          • Matt Poulsen

            Ha ha ha ha ha ha. Sorry, but you simply read into what I mean by a major player. Maybe instead of mocking someone you might pull some actual context out of the post. Ask 100 people on the street if they know what Transformers the movie, toys, cartoons are.  Then ask 100 people on the street if they know what the ASUS Transformer is.  Do you have any doubt at all what one will get the most recognition??  I’m talking about market penetration and recognizability, with respect to the name Transformer.  But ha ha ha ha ha…way to miss the entire point.

      • scuroraven

        “Transformers prime” is directly is trademarked by Hasbro. It is the name of their current CGI cartoon series that has been around for almost 2 years.

    • http://www.facebook.com/travis.rowland Travis Lee Rowland

      You, my friend, are an idiot. It is the most powerful mobile device on the planet and the name has nothing to do with it. GTFO

  • BigCiX

    who didnt see this coming

  • jshaffer21

    i often wondered how they were able to get away with naming their tablet that.

  • PigHeaded

    When i first heard about the transformer prime, the first thing that popped into my mind was optimus and I was excited about a tablet that could transform. Then I started to wonder, how is this thing going to turn into a truck?

    Now I don’t want to get one due to being mislead. Yeah, Hasbro has nothing to worry about.

  • http://twitter.com/mitch_bartlett Mitch Bartlett

    I was surprised they got away with this when the original Transformer came out. First Xoom, now this. It’s clear that companies want some type of consumer familiarity with product names like “Droid” has.

    • Matt Poulsen

      And Motorola paid a licensing fee to Lucas for “Droid.” I hear people whining about this and I simply ask if its not a big deal then why did ASUS use the name Transformer Prime??  Oh, and lets just ignore the fact that its the name of a device that transforms between a tablet and a quasi-laptop. Ya, I’m sure its just a coincidence.  Its actually a pretty cut and dry case in my opinion.

      If ASUS didn’t want trouble they could have done two things.  They could have a) formed a licensing arrangement with Hasbro; or b) name it something else. They chose this name for a reason, because it had value, they just didn’t want to pay for that value.

      • Line6ix

        can i ask,  what does it mean that asus is taiwanese?  i assume hasbros patents are US and not world, correct?  does this just mean hasbro is trying to ban transformer tablets sales in the US?

        • Matt Poulsen

          Trademarks are generally enforceable world wide (due to treaties). Patents are not, but this is about trademarks not patents.  That said, yes, Hasbro’s main focus will be to ban sales in the US and Europe.  In all reality, my guess is they’ll strike a licensing deal. But you’d also think that’s probably been discussed.  The fact that Hasbro is filing suit probably means they’re at major odds.

      • Superguy

        Actually, that was Verizon that did.  There are all kinds of Droids that aren’t Motos (Eris, Charge). 

        Moto paid for the R2D2 Droid 2.

        Hasbro’s a bit late to the party on this.  If they had an issue, they should have said something with the first Transformer tablet.  I highly doubt anyone confuses an Asus Transformer with a Hasbro Transformer. 

        • Matt Poulsen

          This lawsuit if over Transformer Prime, not Transformer.  Its about trademark confusion and dilution, not product confusion.

  • http://twitter.com/benbaranovsky Ben Baranovsky

    I thought of Transformers instantly when I first heard the name “Nexus Prime”.  It just sounds like it has the power of a giant robot.  (Yes, I’m aware that the device in my pocket is actually called the Galaxy Nexus)

  • Jordan lynem

    First time I heard “transformer prime” or even just the “transformers” I thought about the cartoon and toys. I don’t see how Hasbro can’t win this thing. All of us on here associated the one with the other at some point. Jus sayin…..

  • http://profiles.google.com/destroy.erase.improve.martin Martin Christopher

    It’s irrelevant. Unless Hasbro thinks that ASUS naming their tablet “Transformer Prime” will impact negatively on the sale of Transformers merchandise, media or other aspects, then who cares. If anything it will put people in mind of Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, which has been proven to have *real* medical benefits. (I made that last bit up)

    Unles Hasbro were planning to release their own Transformer Prime tablet device…

    Holy shit…..

  • One Radical Dude

    I blame Starscream.

  • Robert Manser

    Dam you a

  • Robert Manser

    Damn u Asus

  • http://www.swornbrotherhood.com/ nemesys06

    of all the lawsuits we have heard of, this has to be one of the more legitimate lawsuits around.  i’m sure hasbro didn’t think anything of it with the original transformer, as that is a broad word to use…  however, using transformer prime does make people think about the series.   i know people who never heard of the asus transformer that ask if the transformer prime is the next movie to be released.  I am a strong supporter of asus, as i have their latest RoG laptop, however they should have had some thoughts about this happening.  who knows, maybe this will come out on the good end…  turn it into a plus.  License the term from Hasbro, then license the logos and release an autobot and a decepticon edition of the prime.  the autobot edition has the autobot logo and has the color scheme used for optimus prime and the decepticon edition can have the decepticon logo with a color scheme that matches megatron.

  • http://AfterCredits.com Chris R.

    I’m shocked.  I honestly thought there was some sort of connection!  Like that phone that connects to the dock to turn into a full blown laptop.  I assumed it was all related.  Guess not.

    Whenever I hear optimus, transformer with prime I always think of the Transformers.

  • TheWenger

    oh noooooo that’s what makes it sound so cool

  • Alejandro

    Here’s an idea. Cash in on it, pay the royalties brand an Optimus prime tablet red and blue with a autobot decal. I’d buy 20 of them

    • Hadi Khalid

      Seriously, that is an awesome idea. I would totally buy that, no joke. Perhaps someone will come up with an Optimus Prime-themed case/cover for the tablet?

  • Hadi Khalid

    It was going to happen, honestly. ‘Transformer’ was pushing it, but adding ‘Prime’ to it…

    I just hope a licensing deal doesn’t affect the price for the consumers, though I don’t think it should.

  • The_ATL_Guy

    ” “The specific actions we are taking today against ASUS underscores yet again Hasbro’s willingness to pursue companies who misappropriate our intellectual property for their own financial gain.”

    What Asus Couldn’t create their own name?
    They had to steal another company’s name ”
    for their own financial gain”.

    I don’t see the problem hear maybe Asians should stop stealing other people’s work

  • tdizzel

    No worries, I hear ASUS already has a plan in place for just this occasion. It will no longer be called the Transformer Prime, it will now be called the Cobra Commander.

    Problem solved.

  • http://www.facebook.com/dgemus Don Gemus

    Shouldn’t they sue LG instead for making the Optimus? Optimus is WAY less common than Prime. Shouldn’t Prime numbers sue Hasbro? Where are you 3, 5, 7, 11????

  • Aslan N.L. Bollin

    I’m gonna be honest here and say I actually assumed ASUS licensed the name from Hasbro. Hell, I thought of the Transformers when ASUS announced the first Transformer and I’m sure alot of people within the Android Community who grew up in the 80′s did too. lol

    As for LG, I know everyone here remembers the Optimus Pad video.
    You know, the one where the Optimus Pad turns into *cough* Optimus Prime and throws *cough* Megatron through a *cough* Apple building? =P
    Oh, and it sounds like it’s voiced by Optimus prime himself….. lol

  • http://profiles.google.com/danielm.nc Daniel Marcus

    If they were smart, they’d instead ask Asus to simply bundle a movie with the tablet along with links to purchase the DVD.

    • Off_Road_Racing

      Huh? Or why not just add the movies to the device lyk the HD2? That way for every phone sold, Hasbro would have gotten money. That way they don’t have to worry about any pirated the movie offline. (LoL!! I sound so innocent right there) 

      What happened to that? I used to actually love getting a new phone with movies in them. Is that fad gone now? They need to bring that back. The HD2 is the reason why I say Transformers 2. And the Samsung Vibrant is why I say Avatar. LoL!!

  • jonathanbond110111

    Asus:
    Now hey lil Samsung, I can transform ya,

    No I can’t dance, but I can dance on ya,

    M on the beat, H move ya feet,

    And maybe I can take out an ipad 3,

    I can change ya life, never feel old,

    Make you never wanna go back to the iPhone,

    So rock in line, give it lil time, now go and sing the chorus Optimus Prime

    LG:
    Need a slate? I can hook you up, 3D I can change you up,

    I can be a laptop, or a normal messager,

    Please, I can build you up, buy me and I give you luck,

    Everytime they hear my name, they be like G-what?

    Tablet! You can have that,

    My G-slate, they don’t decline that,

    See potential then you, go and purchase that,

    Asus:
    I can transform ya. I can transform ya

  • dtblair24

    I thought of Transformers the second I heard of this device. Not surprised considering how big the Transformers franchise is at the moment. Like a few of you said, I too thought they had permission to use the name. 

  • http://Theywaitedtoolong Dsparil

    I’m a big fan of Asus, but Hasbro will win this one. They could have named it Transformer anything else and gotten away with it, but adding Prime is too blatant.

    I hope Asus licenses the name and includes transformers wallpaper and the movie.

  • http://www.vgchartz.com SuperChunk

    Should of just called it the Transformer. Might have gotten away with that is it was a little more general.

    • https://profiles.google.com/mrrix32 Martin Rix

      Hi, you must be new here!

  • Scott Tompkins

    GoBots Prime? ;)

  • bob

    Like most people I assumed the licensed the right to use the name. The fact that they didn’t makes this the most blatent case of copyright and trademark infringement I can remember in recent history. This will be a lay down win for Hasbro.

  • Abel torrez

    Like someone else previously mentioned the series is called Transformers not transformer. When i first heard of the tablet not once did I connect it with the transformers. IMO don’t think Hasbro can win but you never know.

    • Matt Poulsen

      And what about when you hear Transformer Prime??  This is likely a pretty straightforward case for Hasbro.

  • SpacelySproketz

    You guys do know that Hasbro has a show called “Transformers Prime” 
    Every time I think about the name I thought about the toys and the show.

    http://www.hubworld.com/transformers/shows/prime

    • MarcusDW

      Wow I didn’t know that and it looks like nobody else in here does either.  With that, its a clear case of infringement and ASUS knows it.  

  • moopuna

    Saw this coming… I can’t believe it went un-noticed as long as it did

    • aiden9

      “Un-noticed” not at all. Hasbro certainly noticed, they just decided they could get more money if they waited until after units were definitely made and working their way to shipping.

  • godrilla

    No duh!

  • Slizzard Lizard

    Im suprised it took as long as it did. Not one person can tell me this was not intentional.

  • http://www.facebook.com/KayFaux Kehin Faux

    You mean my tablet wont transform into an autobot???

  • nicotinic

    Come on! Are you guys kidding? Asus is dead wrong here. I immediately thought of the Transformer: Optimus Prime. Forget the cartoons it’s the recent movies. Sleek sentient androids that transform. In the movies he was often referred to as Prime. Watch the promotional video for this Tablet….

  • Pkmmte

    One of the first things I did as soon as I got my Transformer Prime was watch the Transformers movie on it… is that bad?

  • mike payton

    Given that the name of the current Transformers TV series is exactly one letter off from the name of this tablet, ASUS was dumb to even consider pushing this issue. If nothing else, the guy in their legal department that cleared the name should have at least tried Google first and save themselves a lot of hassle. Someone at ASUS is gonna get fired over this, even if they win the case. 

    Anyone that didn’t immediately think of the Transformers when they heard of this tablet is probably not in the target demo to ever buy this tablet. 

  • moopuna

    ASUS had to realize this was coming right?? I mean come on…I thought it was ridiculous for them to name it that to begin with

  • NorthVandea

    I don’t normally side with copyright holders with ridiculous complaints, but ASUS created a transformer tablet which transforms like The Transformers.  Okay maybe not close enough, but when they release a sequel that “happens” to include part of the name of the head Transformer, I think that is too much of a coincidence.  ASUS should buck up the cash and license the name from Hasbro.  Just follow Verizon’s example with LucasArt’s DROID trademark.  I’m sure paying some royalties won’t kill this superb device and face it ASUS, you owe Hasbro a little something…$$$

    • scuroraven

      It is easy to see that Asus is in the wrong. Transformers prime is a CGI transformers cartoon that has been airing for over a year. Even if Asus was not aware of that transformers franchise has been around for decades. Th ewords used separately is fine, but combining them has to be a clear violation and Asus had to been aware of that.

  • Nfotiu

    I too assumed they must have licensed the name. Pretty bush league on asus’s part. Putting both those words together is a pretty obvious case of infringement.

  • David Mathisen

    The real argument here is that whether you consciously thought of the Transformers when hearing the name of this tablet or not, a good portion of those who didn’t are still subconsciously influenced by hearing the names.  THAT is the main problem here and that is why Hasbro needs to protect their property. Sure, it is “free advertising,” but think about this for a minute: what if the TP turns out to be a piece of garbage? Suddenly, that “free advertising” isn’t so “free” anymore. When people here “Transformer Prime,” Hasbro wants people to think about their brand and remember the connection to their childhood and feel good about it. And then think “I should buy MY kids some Transformers!”, not “I should buy MY kids a tablet PC!”

  • David Lu

    I asked my Transformer Prime (nickname optimus) what he thinks about this lawsuit… here is what he said…

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Greg-Filardo/100000615766378 Greg Filardo

    I assumed it was licensed as well. I also think the claim is legit.

    A “transformer” is an electrical component; thanks to good branding most of us think of autobots/decepticons instead. It is similar to how you think of “Band-Aid” and “Maxi-Pads” despite them being bandages and sanitary napkins; those are brand names we associate with the product more than the product itself.

    I’m pretty sure when you reach that level of brand recognition you are in a good place if you find yourself in court. Calling it a “transformer” because it transforms in a way similar to the fictional transformers is already pushing it (real transformers don’t do anything like that) adding “prime” just takes away any doubt.

    ASUS should get in the phone biz and make “My Little Phony.”

  • http://www.facebook.com/BoriOki Boris Gershman

    You mean they didn’t have a liscensing agreement with Hasbro? Thats ridiculous, everyone i know refers to those phones a nd tablets as the “optimus prime” or something like that. I mean transformer tablets and optimus phones? What do you expect?

  • jake higgins

    here is an idea, asus, pay hasbro a little money to shut-up and for some licensing then put out an autobot symbol on the tab. win-win for both sides…

  • irishrally


    I can’t imagine anyone could actually associate the tablet with a children’s TV show (and one of the best 80′s movies of all time) but I guess anything’s possible”

    Oh really? Wasn’t it Phandroid that was plastering Transformer pictures all over articles related to the Asus Prime?

  • Chris

    Did they sue LG for the “LG Optimus” too?

  • Jacob

    All companies should by the words. Taco bell should buy the words taco and bella so that they can sue anyone who says taco bell without their permission. In fact, we should have a new language by now.