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The History and Mystery of Why Harmony Gold Is Suing Hasbro Over the SDCC GI Joe Transformers Set

Transformers was created in 1984 by Hasbro by importing the Takara toys from the Diaclone and Microchange toy lines and getting Marvel Comics writers to make up a story for the toy about "robots in disguise".

Ronald Reagan had recently ordered the FCC to deregulated the content of the TV industry, allowing kids TV shows that were tied into toy lines to exist. So the Transformers for a hit TV series too. This series with such a success that Hasbro realized they needed MORE TOYS. They were desperate for some toys they could quickly put on the shelves, so they solicited transforming robot toys from other Japanese toy lines and sold them as Transformers. One of those toys was the Valkyrie jet from the Macross anime series, which Hasbro sold in the USA as Jetfire, the Autobot super jet. The problem is that Hasbro ONLY licensed the Valkyrie toy's design for one year, thinking after 1985 they would come up with their own designs, and not pay for licenses any more.

Shortly later the US company Harmony Gold bought the license for the US rights to the entire Macross anime series and its toys, and released it in the US as part of their Robotech series. This included the Valkyrie jet.

Hasbro would continue to use the Jetfire name over the years (Generation 2, Armada, Energon, Cybertron, Classic, etc), but always used a different jet toy for Jetfire, so they wouldn't have any legal issues.

In 2013 Hasbro released a recolored GI joe jet painted like Jetfire as a San Diego Comic Con exclusive toy. Problem is that inside the box was a picture of the original Jetfire/Valkyrie toy on a biography card. Harmony Gold still owns all rights to the Valkyrie jet and all it's likenesses. So they sued Hasbro for profiting off it's licensed intellectual property.

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