Hasbro Sues Asus Over Transformer Prime Trademark

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Hasbro says Transformer Prime tablet infringes its trademark for the popular toys and movie franchise

Hasbro has filed a lawsuit against Asus which alleges that its Transformer Prime tablet infringes on its Transformers trademark. The action could refuel rumours that the arrival of the tablet will be delayed.

Although in recent months the tablet market has been plagued by numerous, complex patent claims and counterclaims made by the likes of Apple, Microsoft, HTC and Samsung, at first glance, this appears as though this is one of the more orthodox legal battles.

Tablets in disguise

The use of the term ‘Transformer’ alone seems inconspicuous enough, given the widespread use of the word in the English language, but when joined with the word ‘Prime’, the claimed association with Hasbro’s Transformers franchise becomes more apparent.

In the Transformers universe, the leader of the Autobot faction which fights the evil Decepticons, is called ‘Optimus Prime’, causing Hasbro to believe that the name of the device is not just pure coincidence.

The similarities between the two seemingly unrelated products are even more pronounced when you consider that the major selling point of the Asus Transformer Prime is that it converts into a form that closely resembles a laptop when the keyboard dock is used.

Transformers are usually disguised as vehicles such as trucks or cars to conceal their true identity, so unless they have decided that consumer electronics provide greater protection, Asus may find it difficult to explain its actions.

The legal action could delay the release of the device or force Asus to rename the Transformer Prime if it is unable to prove it has not infringed on Hasbro’s trademark or is unable to negotiate a licence. However the tablet may be delayed regardless with Asus recently denying that the launch of the quad-core Tegra 3 device could be postponed, adding that pre-orders of the device had already started in the UK.

The Android-powered Asus Transformer Prime boasts 18 hours of battery life, an eight megapixel rear camera and 1.2 megapixel front-facing camera and is capable of recording and displaying full 1080p HD video.

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