By: Ryan Whitwam (Geek.com)
The ongoing court battle between Asus and Hasbro might be a little surreal at times, but Hasbro, which holds trademarks on the term “transformer,” got some bad news today. A US district court judge has ruled that Hasbro could not stop Asus from making and selling an Android tablet called the Transformer Prime as the case continues winding its way to trial.
Asus released its first Transformer tablet in the spring of 2011, but it was not until the company put out the follow up Transformer Prime, that Hasbro went all decepticon. Hasbro began airing an animated series in late 2010 called, you guessed it, Transformers Prime. The toy maker claimed in court that consumers would be confused, thinking that the Asus tablet was part of the Hasbro line of products. That might not be as completely outlandish as it sounds on the face of it; Hasbro has, in the past, allowed its Transformers logo to appear on mice, USB drives, and other electronic products.
The judge was unwilling to grant Hasbro the preliminary injunction that would have stopped Asus from selling the device until the case was settled. In the decision, the judge used several justifications including the accuracy of the name. The Asus Transformer products “transform” into laptops with the aid of a keyboard dock. Additionally, Hasbro may have simply waited too long to act, thus weakening its claim of ongoing harm to its brand.
Hasbro played up the positives in the case thus far, pointing out that the judge did acknowledge the strength of the Transformers trademark in general. One last bit of juicy data from the courtroom, Asus revealed in filings that it has only moved around 80,000 Transformer Prime tablets since the device was released in January.