updated 12:50 pm EDT, Tue March 27, 2012
Court says Transformer Prime too different
Hasbro saw at least a temporary setback in its lawsuit against ASUS over the Eee Pad Transformer and Transformer Prime names. A federal court judge denied a preliminary ban after finding that ASUS' Android tablet was too different from the Transformers' brands characters and toys, even with the clear allusion. ASUS' description was also a literal reflection of the tablet's keyboard docking feature, not just an attempt to seize on a familiar name.
"There is nothing gimmicky about the Eee Pad Transformer or the Eee Pad Transformer Prime," the judge said.
It came even as Hasbro was planning to launch a set of toys under its brand, badged as Transformer Prime, before the end of March. A TV series, Transformers Prime, had in November 2010. However, the judge noted that the Transformers name itself was reflecting what ASUS was doing, as Michael Bay's Dark of the Moon had one Autobot character turn into a Lenovo ThinkPad Edge notebook.
The verdict doesn't amount to permanent exemption, but it could result in several months or more before any kind of permanent ban. The effect could be moot at that stage, as ASUS is already changing its naming scheme for devices like the Transformer Pad Infinity and might have the Prime off of shelves regardless.
An extra revelation as part of the ruling has revealed relatively low adoption of the Transformer Prime. Although it's not clear whether or not this was limited to the US, ASUS had taken just 2,000 pre-orders for the Prime in the run-up to its launch and was going to take two months to ship 80,000 units. Apple shipped three million iPads in one weekend and would have sold more than ASUS in just the first few hours. [via paidContent]