Optimus-Prime-13-sPerhaps this isn’t directly about e-books, except insofar as a tablet can be used as an e-reader, but I was so amused to learn today that Hasbro is suing Asus over the name of its latest hybrid tablet/netbook device that I just had to share it.

I’m not surprised. I can honestly say I had half-expected it since I heard Asus was calling its original such device the Transformer, and I completely expected it when I heard the newest version was the “Transformer Prime”. I mean, really, what is any child of the eighties going to think when he hears the words “Transformer” and “Prime” in close proximity?

Yes, that.

It would be nice if Asus and Hasbro could get their differences ironed out enough that they could actually start using the Hasbro Transformers logo on the thing, of course. But I don’t think I see that happening.

Of course, in theory trademarks only apply across the narrow range of products that they are originally applied to. I could start up a company to sell "McDonald’s brand fiberglass insulation” without the McDonald’s restaurant company having a leg to stand on if it wanted to sue me for using the McDonald’s name. But given the long-standing association of the combination of words “Transformers” and “Prime” with the franchise (not to mention the 2010 Transformers: Prime TV series) Hasbro might not only have legs but know how to use them.


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