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Asus Transformer Prime is not an Autobot, says US court

A US court has decided that the Asus Transformer Prime won't be banned from sale after toymaker Hasbro sued over the tablet's name.

A US judge has ruled that the Asus Transformer Prime will not be banned from sale in the lead-up to a lawsuit brought by toy firm Hasbro -- suggesting the Android tablet doesn't infringe on the Transformer name.

The case initially began in December last year, when Hasbro -- maker of the robot shapeshifters -- began a court case arguing that Asus' latest tablet/laptop hybrid was infringing on its property with its use of the Transformer Prime name.

"So what? It does transform, right?" Well, yes, and that's pretty much the argument the US court has agreed with for now. The judge ruled that the 'Transformer' word was an appropriate description of the product, as the tablet 'transforms' into a laptop with the use of the keyboard dock. This result means that the tablet won't be banned from sale in the run up to the final hearing, as Hasbro initially requested.

It doesn't mean Asus is totally in the clear, however. This is just a preliminary hearing, so we'll have to wait to find out the tablet's ultimate fate. While Hasbro's argument that people might confuse the tablet with an Autobot does seem laughable, Asus' use of 'Prime' together with 'Transformer' is on dodgier ground -- the leader of the Autobots is a Transformer named Optimus Prime, just in case you're not up on your awesome 80s cartoons or abysmal Michael Bay movies.

Hasbro's only gripe is with the naming convention, so even if it did win the final case, the only likely outcome is that Asus would have to rename its slate -- something it has already started to do with the Transformer Pad Infinity -- so don't be concerned that it's going to be pulled off the shelves before you've had time to save up your money.

If you are planning on splashing your cash, you'll be getting a supremely powerful quad-core tablet, wrapped in a metal case that docks into a keyboard to act as a laptop. Handy.

There's no fixed date on the court case yet, but I'll be sure to keep you up to date with further news. Is this total nonsense? Have you bought an Optimus Prime figurine thinking it was a quad-core tablet running Ice Cream Sandwich? Let me know in the comments below or over on our Facebook page.