Hasbro has lost a round in its effort to protect its "Transformers" territory from encroachment by tablet maker Asus.
The toymaker claimed in a lawsuit filed in Los Angeles federal court in late December that the electronics maker was creating confusion by blending the "Transformers" and Optimus Prime names. Hasbro accused Asus of counting on consumers associating the new tablet with children's toys to sell the Transformer Prime.
However, a judge denied the toy maker's request for a temporary restraining order preventing Asus from selling the tablets under the Transformer Prime name.
"There is nothing gimmicky about the Eee Pad Transformer or the Eee Pad Transformer Prime, nor can it be said that there is any similarity in the use or function between Hasbro and Asus's products," he said, according to a PaidContent account of the ruling, which went into some depth in describing the toy robots' character.
In his decision, the judge ruled that Hasbro failed to demonstrate that consumers would confuse the toy maker's products with those from the tablet maker. He also said Hasbro did not prove that it would suffer "irreparable injury" if the tablet's sales were allowed to continue:
The judge's conclusion:
In sum, Hasbro has not demonstrated a likelihood of success on the merits of its infringement and dilution claims. Even assuming "serious questions" going to the merits are raised, the present record fails to evidence a likelihood of irreparable injury or that the balance of the equities tips sharply in Hasbro's favor. Having waited until the purportedly infringing and diluting tablets had been on the market for almost a year, the court sees no grounds for invoking the extraordinary and drastic remedy of preliminary relief that would reverse the status quo ante before the parties have had the opportunity to try the case on its merits. Motion denied.
A representative for the toymaker told PaidContent it was disappointed with the court's ruling.
"Hasbro strongly disagrees with the court's decision not to preliminarily enjoin Asus' use of those marks, however we were pleased with the court's views on the strength of Hasbro's Transformers and Transformers Prime marks. While the case proceeds toward trial, Hasbro will continue to actively pursue this matter and will take all steps necessary to protect its globally recognized and established marks."
See also: CNET's review of the Asus Transformer Prime