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Explain this to me (Another KO / 3rd pty Discussion)


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There's also a link to their Wikipedia page which has a link to their official web site. CMS Corp appear to be a perfectly legit toy company that happens to be making Transformer toys under licence from TakTOM. It's like say licensed Lego lines (e.g. Star Wars Lego, Harry Potter Lego, DC Comics Lego etc.). This isn't the first time we've seen other companies produce TF products under licence -- happens all the time. Heck, look at Kabaya... they're a confectionery company but they often make PVC figurines and small model kits based on Transformers and other toy licences. Or Medicom and their Transformers BeATrbricks. These can't be compared with 3rd Party Makers because it's all manufactured under licence, so it's legit.

 

Sometimes it happens the other way around where HasTak pay licensing fees to other companies, e.g. Binaltech/Alternators, Sports Label, Music Label, Disney Label, Movieverse (that's why you see vehicle manufacturer logos and text (e.g. GM) on toy packaging); and licence issuers have sometimes dictated what HasTak could do with these toys. e.g.

+ BT Tracks initially had to be yellow (because they don't make that Corvette in blue). It was only later when Hasbro was able to convince them to allow for a blue Tracks that both Hasbro and Takara were able to release it again in blue.

+ BT Meister was allowed to be released in pearl white, but they also had to release a red variant (as that was the colour that Mazda used in the promotional material for the RX-8). Ichikawa created the alternate "Zoom-Zoom" character for the red version. ;)

+ Disney Label Donald Duck is the only VW Beetle Transformer since 1993 - because VW doesn't allow their vehicles to be associated with war, but since Disney Label canon doesn't involve conflict/warfare, they allowed it.

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Licensing shouldn't be hard to prove at all, actually. If the company is licensed, it will state it on the packaging. One of the licensing requirements ;)

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Licensing shouldn't be hard to prove at all, actually. If the company is licensed, it will state it on the packaging. One of the licensing requirements ;)

 

We'll have to wait for the packaging to show up to know for sure then I guess. But on CM's website they have the Tomy copyright on the picture. Unfortunately, the link to the product is broken.

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They're not the same toy. They're Construction Set Toys which happen to be compatible with Lego. And their advertising says that they're compatible with other building block systems, but don't actually use the word "Lego." The blocks themselves are different too, for example each block has at least one "empty" stud/peg, whereas Lego's are all "full." And Lego bricks all have the "LEGO" logo on them, whereas Kre-O's don't. And the Kreons are quite different from Lego people; they're more articulated for one thing. They also avoid making their skin tones yellow like Lego people (or the Simpsons :P). Totally different sculpts too.

 

For example, a lot of Transformer toys use the 5mm post weapon thing (it's been around since 1984 - you can take the original G1 Optimus Prime's rifle and fit it on DOTM Deluxe Optimus Prime's fist). It doesn't mean other action figure manufacturers can't make 5mm posted weapons. Or weapons and accessories that are compatible with Transformers. It's when the weapons/accessories take on the likeness of Transformers that it started treading into legally dubious territory. Kre-Os are currently based on Transformers and Battleship, which are Hasbro properties. If Kre-O started imitating a Lego property, like say Lego City, then Lego _might_ have a case against Hasbro. And I don't mean if Kre-O decides to make their own original city designs, but attempted to mimic Lego's City theme designs. Heck, look at the G2 Go-Bots (RiD Spychangers). Transformer toys made by HasTak to be compatible with Hot Wheels launchers and tracks... not that they'll ever explicitly state this because Hot Wheels is own by Hasbro's greatest rival, Mattel.

 

If someone decided to make an original upgrade accessory for a Transformer of their own original design, or based on a property that they own, then it doesn't infringe on Hasbro's IP. An example might be the upgrade kit with fists and feet for Superion Maximus and Bruticus Maximus. I haven't seen them IRL, but if they're pretty much generic looking robot fists and feet that happen to be compatible with Superion Max and Brut Max, then I doubt Hasbro would have much of a case suing the makers for IP violation. They _might_ (and that's a big might) have a stronger case with 3rd party heads/faces, like the Classics Cliffjumper head add-on, or the G1 Ironhide/Ratchet head add-ons. The 'symbiotic' 3rd parties are far more legally dubious and Hasbro would face a lot of uncertainty if they wanted to take legal action against them.

 

The 'parasitic' 3rd parties on the other hand are more susceptible to litigation, but even then it depends on just how blatant the usage of IP is. The more "accurate" looking stuff like Not-Arcee would be more susceptible to litigation, whereas less "accurate" looking things like Warbot Defender and the Not-Insecticons _may_ be less susceptible. But I suspect that in general, 3rd party action figures would be more suspectible to litigation over 3rd party accessories; but it depends on the nature of the product.

 

From Hasbro's legal team and Fun Pub's POV it would be difficult and time consuming to determine which 3rd parties are in clear violation of their IP and which aren't, cos you'd have to take it as a case by case basis... it's easier to simply disallow all unlicensed products from Hasbro sanctioned events like BotCon. Besides, a Transformers convention should be just for TRANSFORMERS -- i.e. the brand from Hasbro. Anything else can be dealt with elsewhere.

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