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Hasbro sues Asus over Transformer Prime

The toy maker is non too pleased about Asus' forthcoming shape-shifting tablet. Could a ban be in the offing?

Well here's a lawsuit that's a little different to usual. Hasbro, maker of the Transformer range of toys that morph into vehicles, is suing Asus, maker of the Transformer Prime tablet that comes equipped with a keyboard that allows it to morph into a laptop, with the aim of banning the tablet.

Hasbro has accused the Taiwanese company of trademark violation. Let's not forget Optimus Prime is the leader of the Autobots, so the Asus tablet's name does seem a little close to the bone. The lawsuit was filed in a Los Angeles federal court last week, GMA News reports.

"Hasbro continues to aggressively protect its brands and products and the specific actions we are taking today against Asus underscores yet again Hasbro's willingness to pursue companies who misappropriate our intellectual property for their own financial gain," the toy company said in a statement.

Hasbro is seeking damages and a temporary injunction to stop Asus selling the tablet. That'd be bad news for us Brits as the Tranformer Prime is due early next year, for a not too unreasonable £499, and scored a very respectable four-out-of-five in our review. It could well be the Android iPad-challenger we've been waiting for.

Trademarks apply to stop confusion, and it's not likely anyone's going to think the Transformer Prime is related to the toy range. But at the same time, with the Transformers movies expanding the range of merchandise, it's possible Hasbro could branch out and while it might not produce its own computers, it may well launch a tie-in product with another company, much like Nokia did with the recent Batman-themed Nokia Lumia 800.

The Transformer Prime packs an Nvidia Tegra 3 chip, and will update to Ice Cream Sandwich. The handy dock ups the battery to a laptop-thrashing 18 hours too. Very practical.

Is Hasbro right to sue? And would you buy the Transformer Prime? Let us know over on our Facebook page, or below in the comments.