Harmony Gold Sues Hasbro for Copyright Infringement Over Toy
posted on by Crystalyn Hodgkins
Licensing company Harmony Gold U.S.A. Inc. filed a lawsuit against Hasbro, Inc. for copyright infringement on Monday in the United States District Court in the Central District of California — Western Division.
According to court documents, Harmony Gold is alleging that Hasbro violated its copyright on the Macross, Mospeada, and The Southern Cross television anime series, including rights to prepare derivative works such as toys and other merchandise. In particular, the court document mentions the "Veritech Fighter VF-1" vehicle featured in Macross.
Harmony Gold's lawsuit alleges that Hasbro — without Harmony Gold's authorization or consent — sold, distributed, and continues to sell and distribute the "G.I. Joe and the Transformers ... The Epic Conclusion" boxed toy that infringes Harmony Gold's copyrights.
Harmony Gold alleges that it is sustaining "substantial pecuniary damage" due to the sale and distribution of the toy set. The company is asking the court for the following: for Hasbro to stop selling, marketing, and distributing "unauthorized toys or other projects" based on Harmony Gold's copyrighted works; for Hasbro to deliver all toys or other products in their possession that violate the copyright; for Hasbro to be required to recall the toys from "any person or entity known to them who purchased or received" copies of the infringing products; for Hasbro to be "required to account for all gains, profits and advantages derived from their acts of infringement;" and for Hasbro to pay Harmony Gold the damages suffered from the infringements, any profits attributed to the sale or distribution of the products, exemplary damages, prejudgement interest, lawsuit costs, attorneys' fees, and any other relief the court deems appropriate.
Harmony Gold is asking the court for a trial by jury in the case.
Hasbro declined to comment for this article. Harmony Gold confirmed the legal suit, and it is preparing a statement.
BackgroundHarmony Gold licensed three different television anime series — The Super Dimension Fortress Macross, The Super Dimension Cavalry Southern Cross, and Genesis Climber Mospeada — from Tatsunoko Productions in 1984. It combined the three series and marketed them in the United States and other countries under the name Robotech. Harmony Gold has since renewed its license with Tatsunoko for the three series multiple times, the most recent being in March 2008, which extends the license agreement for a renewal term through March 14, 2021.
Separately, Hasbro licensed a 1/55-scale toy of the VF-1 Valkyrie variable fighter from Macross in the 1980s, and it released the toy in different colors as "Jetfire." For its new "G.I. Joe and the Transformers... The Epic Conclusion" box this year, Hasbro took another toy mold, its own Skystriker fighter plane toy, and reissued the mold with new parts and colors heavily inspired by Jetfire.
The exclusive "G.I. Joe and the Transformers ... The Epic Conclusion" box set is the third and final installment in the crossover merchandise series. It includes the following (pictured in a gallery below): A G.I. Joe Skystriker plane toy with new parts and colors inspired by the Autobot Jetfire, a G.I. Joe V.A.M.P. redecorated like the Autobot Hound, Baroness with the Decepticon Ravage, Snake Eyes with an Autobot logo and miniature Autobot Blaster, and a Cobra Samurai dressed as the Decepticon Bludgeon.
Hasbro began selling the box set as a Comic-Con International exclusive last week, and it had planned to also offer a limited number online to members of the official Transformers and G.I. Joe clubs.
Thanks to Izandra and Thomas Rice for the news tips.
Source: Courthouse News Service