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Author Topic: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents  (Read 1428 times)

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Offline jillrose

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Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« on: November 15, 2021, 01:13:37 AM »
Hi pony friends!

Quick question: I'm interested in getting into resin crafting, because I love things like custom Li'l Litters babies and custom Petite Ponies.  I've seen resin artists producing these for sale, and am interested in creating some of my own - sales, TBD! :)

However, my only concern is whether or not commercial reproduction of Hasbro's design violates any design patents?? Or, have their patents on these early 90s toys long since expired? 

I guess I'm hoping there may be a MLP fan here who is also a laywer :)

Offline Cobblestone

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #1 on: November 15, 2021, 03:12:50 AM »
At least one person is already doing this (Clipper) so while I’m not personally sure, it would seem hasbro hasn’t been bothered enough by it to take action? Or perhaps removing the hasbro mark puts reproductions into a gray area because hasbro has always been fine with the customizing community, as far as I know.
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Offline BlackCurtains

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #2 on: November 15, 2021, 01:01:02 PM »
Someone has been making full sized resin G1 customs for years and as far as I know, never ran into an issue.
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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #3 on: November 15, 2021, 03:21:46 PM »
I can think of a few folks who have reproduced accessories and such, too. I think it's one of those things where they turn a blind eye to it, as long as it stays small and doesn't get to the point where it would actually threaten Hasbro's toy sales... I'm no lawyer though so don't quote me on that x)

There are a LOT of third-party Transformers too, I don't think Hasbro have ever shut any of those guys down?
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Offline goddessofpeep

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #4 on: November 15, 2021, 03:32:11 PM »
I am NOT a lawyer, or an expert on copyright law, but I once watched a video about this issue that involved bootleg Star Wars toys. The general theme of the video is that usually the toy manufacturers do have the rights to all forms of the toys, and could sue, but they tend to turn a mostly blind eye to fan works most of the time.  The general consensus is that  as long as the fans don’t cross certain boundaries, the toy manufacturers will leave things mostly alone since going after fans is costly, time consuming, and creates horrifically bad PR with their core customers.   

The most common boundaries that would make a manufacturer take notice are:
 
1) Creating something that “defiles” the brand - an example of this is when Hasbro went after a popular G4 website that was joking about…inappropriate touching of children. Hasbro didn’t want their brand associated with that, especially since it was popular enough to be a top hit when searching “My Little Pony” on google, and children and parents were seeing it. They also killed a Street Fighter style fighting game with G4 characters probably for the same reason.

2) Mass producing something close enough to the official brand, and in enough numbers to be a direct competitor to the official brand.  I think Clipper’s G1 retro line skirts this a bit, but as the ponies are G1, and they are going for a completely different market than the official ones in stores, Hasbro lets it slide.  Should Clipper start making toys from the current generation of MLP in direct competition to what Hasbro is currently making, odds are Hasbro would take notice.
The same is probably true of the people making replacement accessories.  Hasbro is currently not making anything similar, so they ignore it. However, if Hasbro decided one day to start making official replacement G1 Princess wands and Sea Pony shells, they’d probably shut down all those etsy sellers asap.

3) The person making the items doesn’t try to trademark their work, or attempt to assert a copyright claim on the manufacturer’s intellectual property.  The copyrights belong to the toy manufacturers, and trying to claim otherwise will force a reaction from the company’s lawyers.  Copyright holders must defend their copyrights or risk losing them, so this is an almost guaranteed way to trigger a reaction from the copyright owners.

So basically Hasbro owns My Little Pony in all its forms, but Hasbro is reluctant to try to stamp out every fan work out there due to the hassle(it’s like playing Whack-A-Mole), and the outrage it causes with its customers.  Hasbro may or may not have lost its specific copyrights on the original physical G1 moulds, but they still own the My Little Pony name, and everything using that name. So they can *potentially* come after anyone making and selling things using the My Little Pony name, but they generally don’t unless the copyright violations in question are more egregious than the average.  They still have the right to, though usually they start with a cease and desist letter instead of the full lawsuit for damages.
« Last Edit: November 15, 2021, 06:40:34 PM by goddessofpeep »

Offline jillrose

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #5 on: November 15, 2021, 04:45:22 PM »
This is all very helpful stuff!! Thanks so much everyone  :lol:

Offline jillrose

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #6 on: November 16, 2021, 11:00:57 PM »
At least one person is already doing this (Clipper) so while I’m not personally sure, it would seem hasbro hasn’t been bothered enough by it to take action? Or perhaps removing the hasbro mark puts reproductions into a gray area because hasbro has always been fine with the customizing community, as far as I know.

Who is Clipper - how can I contact her? :) Is s/he here on the forum, and/or HQG1C?

Offline lovesbabysquirmy

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #7 on: November 16, 2021, 11:53:58 PM »
At least one person is already doing this (Clipper) so while I’m not personally sure, it would seem hasbro hasn’t been bothered enough by it to take action? Or perhaps removing the hasbro mark puts reproductions into a gray area because hasbro has always been fine with the customizing community, as far as I know.

Who is Clipper - how can I contact her? :) Is s/he here on the forum, and/or HQG1C?

Clipper is a He :)

here is the subforum: http://mlparena.com/index.php/board,199.0.html

a good conversation thread:  http://mlparena.com/index.php/topic,397529.0.html
« Last Edit: November 16, 2021, 11:56:15 PM by lovesbabysquirmy »
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Offline LadyMoondancer

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #8 on: November 17, 2021, 04:40:54 AM »
Hi pony friends!

Quick question: I'm interested in getting into resin crafting, because I love things like custom Li'l Litters babies and custom Petite Ponies.  I've seen resin artists producing these for sale, and am interested in creating some of my own - sales, TBD! :)

However, my only concern is whether or not commercial reproduction of Hasbro's design violates any design patents?? Or, have their patents on these early 90s toys long since expired? 

I guess I'm hoping there may be a MLP fan here who is also a laywer :)


First, I'm not a lawyer so there are just based on my own fandom observations.  ;)

Is it strictly legal?  No.  But will Hasbro care?  Probably not!  There are so many third party Transformers toy companies that BigBadToystore has it's own category for them and I've never heard of Hasbro moving against them. And let me tell you, a lot of them are really blatant.  Like it will LITERALLY be a Starscream or Bumblebee figure, except renamed "War Shriek" and "Yellow Stinger" or something.

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Hey, that's a nice figure of Megatron HYNKEL. His name's Hynkel.

. . . wow, they really copied the G1 Transformers packaging and artwork, huh?

Ahem. :P

The only cease-and-desists I've heard of is Hasbro sending a C&D to the "MLP Fighting Is Magic" video game, which the creators foolishly took to E3 or Pax (can't remember which.)  At that point Hasbro basically HAD to act, to assert themselves and protect their brand.  (On that note, if any well-meaning person says "You should just ask Hasbro for permission :)", IGNORE THEM.  That is bad advice.  Once you directly bring your activities to Hasbro's attention, they have to act against you to protect their IP.)

The other case I've seen is Hasbro sending C&Ds to a couple G4 plushie makers.  I honestly don't know why they did that, since custom plushie makers hardly seem like a threat to Hasbro's mass produced plushies . . . ?

But anyway, if Hasbro does take exception to your activity, the most that will happen is they'll send you a C&D saying "Hey, stop it."  They aren't going to throw you in jail or anything.

Don't label the stuff you're selling as "My Little Pony" / MLP.  That seems to be a big no-no.  I've never seen a third-party "Transformers" company use the real name (of the brand or the individual robot), even when they're producing something as blatant as this:

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Optimus who?  Um, excuse you, that is clearly . . . *squints at box* . . . Prop Sky Pillar.  Duhhhh! :P

However they did describe Sky Prop Pillar as "G1 style" so I guess "G1" is okay?

Final note, I doubt any current Hasbro employees would recognize Li'l Litters as being Hasbro / MLP brand even if they were looking right at them.  The people who worked there in the 80s / early 90s have all retired and the Li'l Litters aren't horses, soooo . . . ;)
« Last Edit: November 17, 2021, 04:46:55 AM by LadyMoondancer »
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Offline WingsOfMasquerade

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #9 on: November 19, 2021, 07:26:25 AM »
Someone did encounter a trouble once so I wanted to mention
DONT BOX IT and NO PACKAGES
IDK how these TFs are getting away with boxes but I do remember years back someone was doing customs and packaging them in faux-g3 boxes and they got whacked. For whatever reason packaging things attracts a lot of negative attention so just leave the customs loose for safety.

Offline Wardah

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2021, 08:45:37 PM »
It could have been because the packaging imitates Hasbro packaging a bit too much.
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Offline LadyMoondancer

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #11 on: November 19, 2021, 09:14:28 PM »
Someone did encounter a trouble once so I wanted to mention
DONT BOX IT and NO PACKAGES
IDK how these TFs are getting away with boxes but I do remember years back someone was doing customs and packaging them in faux-g3 boxes and they got whacked. For whatever reason packaging things attracts a lot of negative attention so just leave the customs loose for safety.

Wow, that's interesting!  Did they use the MLP logo by chance?

Yes, I often wonder why Hasbro turns such a blind eye to the Transformers third-party companies because it seems like they WOULD be direct competitors to Hasbro's products.  Unless they are just aware that TF fans would be furious if Hasbro moved against them. 

Or maybe it's a way for Hasbro to keep an eye out for new talent with little effort on their part?  Like maybe if they see someone has produced several impressive transforming robots, they offer them a job?  Just speculation on my part.  Transformers require so much engineering compared to most toys.
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Offline Carrehz

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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #12 on: November 19, 2021, 10:12:46 PM »
Huh, first I've heard of packaging being an issue. Unless it used the actual logos/names, then yeah, I could see that being a problem.

Some of the third-party TFs have absolutely gorgeous packaging - I have a couple and just, damn, I haven't seen pretty boxes like that in a LONG time! It wouldn't surprise me if Hasbro scopes out the third-party market and offers some of them jobs, haha. I'm not that deep into TFdom but I have seen some impressive-looking fakes. It definitely seems like more of a threat/competitor market to Hasbro than any MLP stuff out there.

The only cease-and-desists I've heard of is Hasbro sending a C&D to the "MLP Fighting Is Magic" video game, which the creators foolishly took to E3 or Pax (can't remember which.)

THAT'S what got them shut down? Geez, I had no idea. I thought it was common sense to keep stuff like this on the DL and far away from any higher-ups who could see it...! Fangames seem to be the most common thing that companies go after; I've heard about more C&Ds being given to games than anything else.

Didn't know Hasbro had C&D'd some G4 plushie makers, maybe they were really raking it in...? I know a lot of those custom plushies were crazy expensive. Still seems weird though since I was under the impression it was a niche enough market that even if someone did drop a couple hundred dollars on a custom plushie, it wouldn't be happening frequently enough to really worry Hasbro? Weird.

However they did describe Sky Prop Pillar as "G1 style" so I guess "G1" is okay?

I doubt Hasbro have any of the Generation terms copyrighted. "G1 Transformer", "G1 My Little Pony" etc, maybe, but I imagine just "G1", "G2" etc by themselves would be too generic/vague to trademark?
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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #13 on: November 19, 2021, 10:22:36 PM »
The only cease-and-desists I've heard of is Hasbro sending a C&D to the "MLP Fighting Is Magic" video game, which the creators foolishly took to E3 or Pax (can't remember which.)  At that point Hasbro basically HAD to act, to assert themselves and protect their brand.  (On that note, if any well-meaning person says "You should just ask Hasbro for permission :)", IGNORE THEM.  That is bad advice.  Once you directly bring your activities to Hasbro's attention, they have to act against you to protect their IP.

I believe a plush maker received a C&D because of their unsavory nature which had reached memetic proportions, apparently a body pillow seller also received one. Other C&Ds were related to digital media, not physical materials. There may be more recent examples related to actual physical touchy things, but these are some I found from poking around.
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Re: Resin Moulds & Hasbro Design Patents
« Reply #14 on: November 20, 2021, 01:55:28 AM »
What kind of name is Hynkel?
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