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Concerning Harmony Gold and Robotech

Robotech Harmony Gold Legalise Legal talk Complicated

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#1 azrael

azrael

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Posted 06 March 2012 - 12:57 PM

The original series: All 3207 replies in one collection set
Part 1: August 2003 - April 2009
Part 2: April 2009-August 2009
Part 3: August 2009-October 2009
Part 4: October 2009 - January 2010
Part 5: January 2010 - May 2010
Part 6: May 2010 - May 2011
Part 7: May 2011-October 2011
Part 8: October 2011-March 2012
 

No one knows the exact details of the 1984 contract between Harmony Gold and Tatsunoko Productions because this contract has not been made public. However, we can infer what the contract entails from Harmony Gold's actions and inactions. I'll keep this first post updated with the most reliable information.

SDF Macross
On October 1st, 1982, Tatsunoko Productions asked for and received the worldwide (excluding Japan) film distribution and merchandising rights from Big West as compensation for their animation assistance with SDF Macross. On January 15th, 1984, Harmony Gold licensed, and later acquired, these same film distribution and merchandising rights from Tatsunoko. However, the intellectual property rights (copyrights) for SDF Macross still resides with Big West. What this means is that Harmony Gold can legally distribute the SDF Macross footage outside of Japan (ie: the AnimEigo and ADV Macross DVD's) and edit the footage at their discretion (ie: Robotech). However, they cannot create any new animation or movies using the SDF Macross characters and mecha because they do not have the intellectual property rights (copyrights). Comic books and videogames are excluded as these fall under the category of merchandising rights.

Macross: Do You Remember Love
Harmony Gold also has the worldwide (excluding Japan) merchandising rights to Macross: Do You Remember Love. However, they do not have the film distribution rights nor the intellectual property rights (copyrights) to this movie. What this means is that Harmony Gold can legally license the distribution of DYRL merchandise (ie: Toynami's DYRL Super Posable toys) worldwide (excluding Japan). However, Harmony Gold cannot release DYRL on video, nor can they create any new animation or movies using the DYRL characters and mecha. Comic books and videogames are excluded as these fall under the category of merchandising rights.

On a related note, in 1988, Celebrity's Just For Kids released DYRL (as 'Macross in Clash of the Bionoids') in the USA under a license from Toho International Co. Ltd. In 1995, Best Film & Video Corp. released DYRL (as 'Superdimensional Fortress Macross') in the USA under a license from Big West. At Anime Central 2001, Robert Woodhead (of AnimEigo) was asked about DYRL and he said that nobody knows who owns the worldwide (excluding Japan) film distribution rights anymore.


Macross II, Macross Plus and Macross 7 Trash
The film distribution rights for Macross II and Macross Plus were licensed from Big West, by U.S. Renditions (1992) and Manga Entertainment (1995), for release in the USA without any involvement from Harmony Gold. Likewise, Macross 7 Trash was licensed from Big West, by Glénat (1998), for release in France without any involvement from Harmony Gold. In 2003, Tokyopop announced that they would release Macross 7 Trash in the USA under a license from Harmony Gold, however, the manga was never published and no official explanation was given.

Harmony Gold said that they were not involved with Macross II and Macross Plus because "no one was minding the store" at that time (source needed). The subsequent Tokyo District Court ruling determined that Tatsunoko Productions (and by extension Harmony Gold) did not have any copyrights to the Macross derivatives (ie: Macross II, Macross Plus), thereby rendering the "no one was minding the store" explanation moot.


The rest of the series
As for the rest of the Macross series (ie: Frontier, 7, et al), Harmony Gold only has certain rights to these. In 1999 and 2002, Harmony Gold tradedmarked the name 'Macross' in the USA, Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. What this means is that any series and merchandising featuring the 'Macross' trademark would have to compensate Harmony Gold for the use of that trademark in those respective countries. Harmony Gold also trademarked 'U.N. Spacy' in the USA and Canada. In the European Union, 'U.N. Spacy' was trademarked in November 2007 and is held by Yugenkaisya Suneast trading (aka Suneast Co.Ltd) from Tokyo, Japan.*


This is just my understanding of the current legal situation. It may not be 100% accurate, so any corrections are welcome.

Sources:
Harmony Gold et al v. FASA Corporation et al, 1996 WL 332689 (N.D.Ill.): http://terrania.us/hg-fasa/

Macross 7 Trash published in France by Glénat - http://www.macrosswo...?...st&p=732684

"Fun at Acen" - http://groups.google...27c03d7fffd14ff

"Tatsunoko Wins Macross Lawsuit" - http://www.animenews...macross-lawsuit

"Macross Lawsuit" - http://www.animenews...macross-lawsuit

Big West statement - http://web.archive.o...ents/index.html

Loo, E.:"Separated at Birth", Animerica, 2003, Vol.11, No.1, p. 47

"Tokyopop to Publish Macross 7 Trash Manga" - http://www.animenews...s-7-trash-manga

Tom Bateman states that Harmony Gold acquired DYRL merchandising rights - http://www.robotech....mp;pagenumber=3

Canada trademark filing - http://www.ic.gc.ca/...ntIndexOnPage=1

United Kingdom trademark filing - http://www.ipo.gov.u...sticnum=2204547

European Union trademark filing - http://oami.europa.e...1/003853926.htm

United States, Germany and Spain trademark filing - These websites do not allow direct linking and must be searched manually.

*A huge thanks to Bri for getting the trademark information!


Compiling the court documents we have into a simple, itemized list:

25 February 2002 Ruling (Studio Nue owns the 41 disputed designs)
http://www.courts.go...mp;hanreiKbn=06

02 October 2002 Appeal (Tatsunoko's appeal of the above - rejected)
http://www.courts.go...mp;hanreiKbn=06

20 January 2003 Ruling (Tatsunoko owns economic rights to Ep1-36) (Dug up for me by Talos)
http://www.courts.go...mp;hanreiKbn=06

25 September 2003 Appeal (Studio Nue's appeal of the above - rejected)
http://www.courts.go...mp;hanreiKbn=06

01 July 2004 Ruling (Tatsunoko's demand for restitution against Big West & Bandai - rejected)
http://www.courts.go...mp;hanreiKbn=06

27 October 2005 Appeal (Tatsunoko's appeal of the above - rejected)
http://www.courts.go...mp;hanreiKbn=06


Serial #75750692
Word Mark MACROSS
Goods and Services IC 025. US 022 039. G & S: [ Socks, footwear, shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, warm-up suits, coats, shorts, gym shorts dresses, clothing belts, bandannas, sweaters, gloves, ear muffs, neckwear, ski wear, slacks, sun visors, suspenders, turtlenecks vests ] headwear [ bathrobes, beachwear ]. FIRST USE: 20010930. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20010930
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING

Serial #76382155
Word Mark MACROSS
Translations The English translation of the Japanese characters "Ma-Ku-Ro-Su" which means "MACROSS". The English translation of the Chinese characters "Chou Jikuu Yousai" is "super dimension fortress". The entire title is pronounced "Chou Jikuu Yousai Ma-Ku-Ro-Su" which is officially translated as "Super Dimension Fortress Macross".
Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: Comic books [ and novellas ]. FIRST USE: 19841203. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19841203
IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Toy action figures. FIRST USE: 20020227. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20020227
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 26.11.01 - Rectangles as carriers or rectangles as single or multiple line borders
26.11.21 - Rectangles that are completely or partially shaded
28.01.03 - Asian characters; Chinese characters; Japanese characters
Serial Number 76382155
Filing Date March 13, 2002

Serial # 76480124
Word Mark MACROSS
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Animated cartoon series delivered via a global computer network, television and satellite. FIRST USE: 20010800. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20010800
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial Number 76385551
Filing Date March 14, 2002
Current Filing Basis 1A
Original Filing Basis 1A
Published for Opposition October 29, 2002

Serial #76288366
Word Mark MACROSS
Goods and Services IC 009. US 021 023 026 036 038. G & S: Prerecorded video cassettes and compact discs featuring music and animation from an animated cartoon series; computer game software based on an animated cartoon series. FIRST USE: 19850114. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19850114
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING
Serial #76385551
Word Mark MACROSS
Goods and Services IC 041. US 100 101 107. G & S: Animated cartoon series delivered via a global computer network, television and satellite. FIRST USE: 20010800. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20010800
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING

Serial #76382155
Word Mark MACROSS
Translations The English translation of the Japanese characters "Ma-Ku-Ro-Su" which means "MACROSS". The English translation of the Chinese characters "Chou Jikuu Yousai" is "super dimension fortress". The entire title is pronounced "Chou Jikuu Yousai Ma-Ku-Ro-Su" which is officially translated as "Super Dimension Fortress Macross".
Goods and Services IC 016. US 002 005 022 023 029 037 038 050. G & S: Comic books [ and novellas ]. FIRST USE: 19841203. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 19841203 IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Toy action figures. FIRST USE: 20020227. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20020227
Mark Drawing Code (3) DESIGN PLUS WORDS, LETTERS, AND/OR NUMBERS
Design Search Code 26.11.01 - Rectangles as carriers or rectangles as single or multiple line borders
26.11.21 - Rectangles that are completely or partially shaded
28.01.03 - Asian characters; Chinese characters; Japanese characters

Serial #76480124
Typed Drawing
Word Mark MACROSS
Goods and Services IC 028. US 022 023 038 050. G & S: Toy action figures. FIRST USE: 20020227. FIRST USE IN COMMERCE: 20020227
Mark Drawing Code (1) TYPED DRAWING


Just out of curiosity, I decided to do a search in the US Copyright database for "Macross" (I'm not sure I can directly link each reference but it's easy to do a lookup anyways. Linky)
 

Macross; Producer: Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3449D401
Date of Recordation: 2000-03-06
Entire Copyright Document: V3449 D401 P1-3
Date of Execution: 15Jan84
Title: Macross; animated TV series / Producer: Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Notes: Original license agreement.
Party 1: Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Party 2: Harmony Gold Ltd. USA.

Names: Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Harmony Gold Ltd. USA

Macross: episodes 1-36. By Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Type of Work: Motion Picture
Registration Number / Date: PAu002503627 / 2000-03-13
Supplement to: PAu000740323 / 1985
Title: Macross: episodes 1-36. By Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Copyright Claimant: Harmony Gold USA, Inc. & Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd. (on original appl.: Japanese soundtrack & story)
Previous Registration: (on original appl.: English version including animation prev.reg.)
Supplement to Registration: PAu 740-323, 1985
Contents: Bobbytrap -- Countdown -- Spacefold -- Lin Minmei -- The transformation -- The Daidarus attack -- Bye-bye Mars -- The longest birthday -- Miss Macross -- The blind game -- First contact -- The big escape -- Blue wind -- Gloval's report -- Chinatown -- Kung fu dandy -- Phantasm -- Pineapple salad -- Bursting point -- Paradise lost -- Micro-cosmos -- Love concert -- Drop out -- Goodbye girl -- Virgin road -- The messenger -- Love floats away -- My album -- Loli's song -- Viva Mariya -- Satan's dolls -- Broken heart -- Rainy night -- Private time -- Romanesque -- A gentle farewell.

Variant title: Macross: episodes 1-36.
Other Title: The transformation.
The Daidarus attack.
The longest birthday.
The blind game.
The big escape.
The messenger.
A gentle farewell.
Names: Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Harmony Gold USA, Inc.

Macross : episode no. 1-36.
Type of Work: Motion Picture
Registration Number / Date: PAu000740323 / 1985-03-28
Supplemented by: PAu002503627 / 2000-03-13
Title: Macross : episode no. 1-36.
Description: 21 videocassettes (525 min.) : sd., col. ; 3/4 in.
Notes: Animated.
Language: In Japanese.
Credits: Produced by Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Copyright Claimant: Harmony Gold U. S. A., Inc., and Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.
Date of Creation: 1983
Authorship on Application: animation, story, soundtrack: Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd., employer for hire.
Previous Registration: Preexisting material: English version including animation.
Basis of Claim: New Matter: "Japanese soundtrack and story."
Copyright Note: See also Macross: episodes 1-36; Reg. 13Mar00; PAu 2-503-627

Variant title: Macross : episode no. 1-36
Names: Harmony Gold U. S. A., Inc.
Tatsunoko Production Company, Ltd.


And then this:

Macross.
Type of Work: Visual Material
Registration Number / Date: VAu000534107 / 2002-05-17
Title: Macross.
Description: Drawings.
Copyright Claimant: Kabushiki Kaisha Studio Nue & Kabushiki Kaisha Big West
Date of Creation: 1982
Authorship on Application: artwork: Kabushiki Kaisha Studio Nue, employer for hire.

Names: Kabushiki Kaisha Studio Nue
Kabushiki Kaisha Big West


Majority of the references, as I understand it, of Macross relate to SDFM. :rolleyes: I need to find the Japan Copyright and Trademark databases just to see what's listed in there. biggrin.gif


Warner Brothers' licenses of Harmony Gold properties:

=======================================
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3586D834
Date of Recordation: 2010-02-12
Entire Copyright Document: V3586 D834 P1
Date of Execution: 1Oct09; date of cert.: 9Feb10
Title: Robotech.
Party 1: Harmony Gold USA, Inc. & Warner Brothers Pictures, a division of WB Studio Enterprises, Inc.

Names: Harmony Gold USA, Inc.
Warner Brothers Pictures
WB Studio Enterprises, Inc. Warner Brothers Pictures
========================================
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3570D412
Date of Recordation: 2008-09-30
Entire Copyright Document: V3570 D412 P1-6
Date of Execution: as of 16Aug07
Title: Robotech & 57 other titles.
Notes: Assignment.
Party 1: Warner Brothers Pictures, a division of WB Studio Enterprises, Inc.
Party 2: Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
Links: List of Titles

Names: Warner Brothers Pictures
WB Studio Enterprises, Inc. Warner Brothers Pictures
Warner Brothers Entertainment, Inc.
This list contains titles in document V3570D677
Document title: The macross saga & 52 other titles.
The complete document is: V3570 D677 P1-7
=======================================================
Type of Work: Recorded Document
Document Number: V3570D677
Date of Recordation: 2008-09-30
Entire Copyright Document: V3570 D677 P1-7
Date of Execution: 2Apr08
Title: The macross saga & 52 other titles.
Notes: Add. ti.: Robotech. Option agreement.
Party 1: Harmony Gold USA, Inc.
Party 2: Warner Brothers Pictures, a division of WB Studio Enterprises, Inc.
Links: List of Titles

Other Title: Robotech.
Names: Harmony Gold USA, Inc.
Warner Brothers Pictures
WB Studio Enterprises, Inc. Warner Brothers Pictures
========================================================
List of titles:
001 The macross saga : otherwise k.a. The super dimension fortress macross.
002 The robotech masters : otherwise k.a. Super dimension cavalry southern cross.
003 Robotech: the new generation : otherwise k.a. Genesis climber mospeada.
004 Robotech: the shadow chronicles.
005 The sentinels-1987.
006 Robotech 3000.
007 Robotech comics.
008 Robotech role playing games.
009 Robotech novels / by Jack McKinney.
010 Robotech battlecry.
011 Robotech: the macross saga.
012 Robotech: invasion.
013 Robotech: the new generation.
014 Robotech book-the art of robotech: the shadow chronicles.
015 Robotech comics-DC (1984-present)
016 Robotech defenders 1-1984.
017 Robotech defenders 2-1984.
018 Robotech: from the stars-2002/2003.
019 Robotech: the macross saga reprints 2002-2003.
020 Robotech: sourcebook-2003.
021 Robotech from the stars trade paperback-2003.
022 Love & war-2003.
023 Robotech invasion-2004.
024 Robotech: prelude to the shadow chronicles-2005-2006.
025 Genesis.
026 Battle cry.
027 Homecoming.
028 Battle hymn.
029 Force of arms.
030 Doomsday.
031 Southern cross.
032 Metal fire.
033 The final nightmare.
034 Invid invasion.
035 Metamorphosis.
036 Symphony of light.
037 The devil's hand (the sentinels)
038 Dark powers (the sentinels)
039 Death dance (the sentinels)
040 World killers (the sentinels)
041 Rubicon (the sentinels)
042 The end of the circle.
043 The zentraedi rebellion.
044 The masters' gambit.
045 Before the invid storm.
046 The Macross saga: battlecry (#1-3)
047 The Macross saga: doomsday (#4-6)
048 The Masters saga: the Southern cross (#7-9)
049 The new generation: the invid invasion (#10-12)
050 The sentinels 3-in-1 (#13-15)


Harmony Gold's trademark request for "Macross" in Japan and Asia - Denied
Issued: 1-24-2004
http://shohyo.shinke...?number=1088731
http://shohyo.shinke...?number=1088733

Harmony Gold Cease&Desist order to Mozilla.org for infringing themes
Legal/Infringement Notices/Robotech

Robotech Project Valkyrie fan-film -*CANCELLED* due to Cease & Desist order
http://www.macrosswo...showtopic=37082

SDCC 2013 exclusive Sky Striker toy - Out-of-Court settlement - DISMISSED with prejudice
http://www.macrosswo...showtopic=39378
http://generalsjoes....lusive-jetfire/
Harmony Gold USA v. Hasbro Case Dismissed (ANN)

Additional Resources:
What is Intellectual Property?
Did You Say "Intellectual Property"? It's a Seductive Mirage

#2 azrael

azrael

    Mod-senses tingling...

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Posted 07 March 2012 - 10:13 PM

This thread will only serve as a information for users wishing to know more about this subject as the litigation ended in 2005. Our current accessible archives date back to 2002. Users may review the archives or contact staff for more information.





Also tagged with one or more of these keywords: Robotech, Harmony Gold, Legalise, Legal talk, Complicated

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