Hasbro’s San Diego ComicCon exclusives included a G.I. Joe & Transformers crossover that delighted fans and peeved the bejeebers out of Harmony Gold, resulting in a lawsuit. Lawsuit, you ask? OK… back in the days of long ago, when Transformers first hit shelves in the mid 80s, they were so popular that Hasbro/Takara couldn’t keep up with demand – so – some toys sold as Transformers in America were pre-existing (ahem) transforming robot toys already being sold overseas. One of those toy molds licensed was the Macross VF-1 Valkyrie, which casual fans would look at and say: “Hey, look. Robotech.” You get the picture.
Because of this license, the original “Jetfire” toy cannot be re-issued as a Hasbro Transformer, and toys made since then that resemble the Jetfire toy/character have to be careful not to too closely resemble the original VF-1 Valkyrie toy. One of the crossover toys for SDCC is a G.I. Joe Skystriker decked out in a spiffy Jetfire paintjob, and Harmony Gold, which licensed the rights to Macross from Tatsunako, thinks this has crossed the line. LawyerBot… can you quote the rest of this from hisstank.com? My head hurts.
What Harmony Gold alleges is that Hasbro’s VS Transformers Jetfire Skystriker toy infringes upon Harmony Gold’s rights to the marketing of Macross, including merchandising rights, outside of Japan, based on the resemblance of the toy to the Veritech VF-1 Valkyrie. They allege that the SDCC exclusive toy has caused, and continues to cause, financial damage to their company. As a result Harmony Gold are seeking the withdrawal of the G.I. Joe VS Transformers Jetfire Skystriker toy from sale, seizure of all remaining stock (including Hasbro to “recall from any person or entity known to them who purchased or received… any unauthorized toys or other products based on [Harmony Gold’s] copyrighted works”), Hasbro to pay all profits made on the set to Harmony Gold, in addition to damages, legal fees and “exemplary damages in an amount sufficient amount to punish and make a public example of Hasbro, and deter wrongful conduct in future.”