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Hasbro has filed a suit against DC in regard to a Bumblebee trademark issue

Because the realm of copyright law is sometimes a difficult terrain to navigate, it appears as if Hasbro and DC Comics are about to throw down in a federal court for the right to market "Bumblebee" toys.

On Monday, Hasbro, owners of Transformers brand toys, filed a lawsuit that accuses Warner Bros. and DC Comics of trademark infringement. As per the suit, Hasbro claims that the DC Super Hero Girl, "Bumblebee" - a teenage hero with the ability to build incredible tech, kick ass, and shrink in size - could easily be confused with the Autobot "Bumblebee." Obviously, Hasbro has a lot rising on the "Bumblebee" character, seeing as the Autobot is poised to star in his very own TRANSFORMERS spinoff film from Laika creative Travis Knight in 2018.

According to the suit, Hasbro is attempting to block the sales of Mattel's Bumblebee action figurine, with concern that it could interrupt sales concerning the upcoming Bumblebee Lego set (as well as other toys). As you may know, the Transformers Bumblebee character has been on toy shelves since 1983, and a part of the LEGO brand since 2011. Hasbro is saying that even though Bumblebee is ranked as the fourth most popular Transformer character, the idea of there being another toy of the same on shelves will undoubtedly hurt sales.

If you're unfamiliar with DC's Bumblebee, she's a proud member of the DC Super Hero Girls franchise, and has been fighting beside other female heroes like Batgirl, Wonder Woman and Harley Quinn since October 2015. As an intelligent and dedicated member of her team, Bumblebee is a tech-loving genius imbued with super strength and the ability to shrink in size. It's also worth noting that DC's Bumblebee character made her first appearance as Karen Beecher in the pages of Teen Titans #45, which was published in December of 1976. She then took up the moniker of Bumblebee in Teen Titans #48 (December, 1976). Both publications were placed on shelves long before Hasbro's Bumblebee was remotely a thing.

As a part of Hasbro's filed complaint against Warner Bros., DC Comics, and Mattel, Hasbro stated the following:

“Defendants’ and/or their licensees’ use of the Accused Mark is likely to cause consumers mistakenly to believe that the Accused Goods emanate from or are otherwise associated with Hasbro,” the suit alleges. “Such improper use of the Accused Mark by Defendants and/or their licensees is likely to cause confusion, mistake and/or deception among the public as to the source of the Accused Goods.”

As it stands, Hasbro filed for a trademark on the “Bumblebee” name on July 15, 2015, and the trademark was registered on Dec. 22, 2015. So far, Warner Bros. has yet to publicly announce their approach to the allegation.

Before we break out of here, I'd like to offer my two-cents concerning this matter. Dear Hasbro, your Bubmblebee, who is a transforming robot in disguise, has been recognizable as such since the early 80s. Mattel's Bumblebee is a super-powered human female technologist who's more like Marvel's Wasp than anything else. Do you honestly think that parents will confuse your Transformers brand toy with that of a DC Super Hero Girl? While I understand that trademarks are a tricky business, maybe you should just sit down? I'm not buying your chief complaint that the name will cause confusion among buyers. Let the kids have their respective heroes and concentrate on giving Knight what he needs to make your movie awesome.

Travis Knight's BUMBLEBEE will buzz into theaters on December 21, 2018   

Extra Tidbit: This is why we can't have nice things.
Source: Variety

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