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Robotech and HG license debates


Roy Focker
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As long as we're engaged in wishful thinking, consider that Bandai could eventually just buy Takara for whatever reason. Not motivated by a desire to consolidate the Macross properties, surely, but that would be a side effect.

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Sorry to re-ignite the embers of this thread, but There was some other news that came about while MW was down. Everyone's probably heard that TAKARA (the house of Transformers) has bought up a super-majority stake (somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%) in the shares of Tatsunoko Pro (If I have to gloss THAT one...).  TAKARA, therefore, flat-out OWNS Tatsunoko.

I'm wondering about the effect of this buyout on the ongoing BW-SN/HG-Tat lawsuit extravaganza. TAKARA said that they bought out Tat precisely to get a hold of their massive back catalogue of anime properties (for merchandising purposes). It'd be interesting to see if they consider Macross in that catalogue, and will fight for it. I guess the question hinges on one condition that I can see:

Would the merchandising and other revenue they could get from Macross outweigh the costs of continuing the lawsuit? (Apparently, Tatsunoko's sales were declining across the board, and Tatsunoko has vowed to raise sales from JPY 500,000,000 to JPY 6,000,000,000 in the next three years.) And as Macross has been declining in Japan for a while (sad but true...unfortunately, Hikaru, Isamu and *sigh* Basara can't compete with Amuro, Kamille and Heero) would TAKARA be inclined to cut its losses and revert the property to BW?

If it does, it could change the whole playing field. With Tatsunoko no longer propping HG up, BW may finally be able to put legal pressure on them to rectify the situation vis-a-vis Macross (the other two shows wouldn;t be affected, IIRC -- they are both purely Tatsunoko productions.) If so, this could finally be the "checkmate" announcement we've been waiting for. But it's iffy, and only would come IF, and only if, TAKARA does decide to settle or drop the suit outright.

Oh boy, I hope it is!

And as Macross has been declining in Japan for a while (sad but true...unfortunately, Hikaru, Isamu and *sigh* Basara can't compete with Amuro, Kamille and Heero) ...

How can ANYONE lose to Heero?

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As long as we're engaged in wishful thinking, consider that Bandai could eventually just buy Takara for whatever reason. Not motivated by a desire to consolidate the Macross properties, surely, but that would be a side effect.

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I'd agree, that this is in the 'wishful' thinking category. I could be that the reason we've not heard much lately is because of this transition. I'm certain Takara is very much aware of the legal battle and certainly has a position on the matter. But, we have no indication of what that is yet.

Though, at one of the Robotech panels at AX, Alan Letz, who's pretty much been in Japan for the last few months overseeing Shadow Chronicals, said that it's highly probable Shadow Chronicals will become a sequel to Mospeada in Japan. Whatever that portends, I have no idea.

Edited by wrylac
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Though, at one of the Robotech panels at AX, Alan Letz, who's pretty much been in Japan for the last few months overseeing Shadow Chronicals, said that it's highly probable Shadow Chronicals will become a sequel to Mospeada in Japan.  Whatever that portends, I have no idea.

310537[/snapback]

Wasn't Sentinels also supposed to be considered a sequel to Mospeada in Japan?

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Wasn't Sentinels also supposed to be considered a sequel to Mospeada in Japan?

Not, not really but Tatsunoko brought up to Harmony Gold and Carl Macek, several designs for Southern Cross that never made it to the actual show.

Now, when the Sentinels was canned, Tatsunoko used several of the Sentinels's designs in another show called Zillion.

Sorry to re-ignite the embers of this thread, but There was some other news that came about while MW was down. Everyone's probably heard that TAKARA (the house of Transformers) has bought up a super-majority stake (somewhere in the neighborhood of 80%) in the shares of Tatsunoko Pro (If I have to gloss THAT one...). TAKARA, therefore, flat-out OWNS Tatsunoko.

I'm wondering about the effect of this buyout on the ongoing BW-SN/HG-Tat lawsuit extravaganza. TAKARA said that they bought out Tat precisely to get a hold of their massive back catalogue of anime properties (for merchandising purposes). It'd be interesting to see if they consider Macross in that catalogue, and will fight for it. I guess the question hinges on one condition that I can see:

Would the merchandising and other revenue they could get from Macross outweigh the costs of continuing the lawsuit? (Apparently, Tatsunoko's sales were declining across the board, and Tatsunoko has vowed to raise sales from JPY 500,000,000 to JPY 6,000,000,000 in the next three years.) And as Macross has been declining in Japan for a while (sad but true...unfortunately, Hikaru, Isamu and *sigh* Basara can't compete with Amuro, Kamille and Heero) would TAKARA be inclined to cut its losses and revert the property to BW?

If it does, it could change the whole playing field. With Tatsunoko no longer propping HG up, BW may finally be able to put legal pressure on them to rectify the situation vis-a-vis Macross (the other two shows wouldn;t be affected, IIRC -- they are both purely Tatsunoko productions.) If so, this could finally be the "checkmate" announcement we've been waiting for. But it's iffy, and only would come IF, and only if, TAKARA does decide to settle or drop the suit outright.

If it doesn't, Does this mean TAKARA might get into the business of making Macross toys? Perhaps a Jetfire?

I read somewhere in RT.com forums, that another company was interested in buying Takara, I do not know for sure if that comments holds any water or not, but hopefully this (Takara buying Tatsunoko) will open the door for future Macross pprojects outside of Japan.

One can only hope.

Regards...

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I highly doubt this will effect Macross at all. If it does, a probable outcome could be more cooperation regarding the license, since both Studio Nue/BigWest and Tatsunoko are both being stiff-necked regarding ownership, maybe the change in hands will produce a more favorable mindset of treating Macross like a joint-venture.

Who knows?

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Maybe HG will get another stick up its butt and decide it doesn't need to pay the new company any money, because it "owns" Macross, thereby resulting in breach of contract and termination of license.

...

Not likely, but one can hope...

Edited by JB0
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Yeah, but on the other hand, as underhanded as HG has been in the past, they can't be stupid or suicidal enough to go up against some of those Japanese megacorps like TOMY or TAKARA, right?

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Yeah, but on the other hand, as underhanded as HG has been in the past, they can't be stupid or suicidal enough to go up against some of those Japanese megacorps like TOMY or TAKARA, right?

311054[/snapback]

We can still dream. :)

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Yeah, but on the other hand, as underhanded as HG has been in the past, they can't be stupid or suicidal enough to go up against some of those Japanese megacorps like TOMY or TAKARA, right?

311054[/snapback]

We can still dream. :)

311101[/snapback]

Good point :)

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it's highly probable Shadow Chronicals will become a sequel to Mospeada in Japan.  Whatever that portends, I have no idea.

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Somewhere, deep in the Outback, a man named Cyclone weeps. :lol:

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Le sigh....

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  • 1 month later...

Sorry to add embers to this thread again, but it looks like there's a slight difference of opinion between Tatsunoko's US and Japanese sites as to whether Macross is considered a Tatsunoko show -- It's not listed in the catalogue of shows on the official Japanese webpage, but it IS on the US offical web page.

On the US page, however, they are nice enough to credit Studio Nue with the creation of the series.

Here's Tatsunoko USA's page on Macross.

Edited by Pat Payne
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Sorry to add embers to this thread again, but it looks like there's a slight difference of opinion between Tatsunoko's US and Japanese sites as to whether Macross is considered a Tatsunoko show -- It's not listed in the catalogue of shows on the official Japanese webpage, but it IS on the US offical web page.

On the US page, however, they are nice enough to credit Studio Nue with the creation of the series.

Here's Tatsunoko USA's page on Macross.

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That seems reasonable.

They WERE insturmental in getting it produced, but DO acknowledge that it wasn't their creation.

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That seems reasonable.

They WERE insturmental in getting it produced, but DO acknowledge that it wasn't their creation.

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And the other heartening part about it is that they aren't claiming anything outside of the TV series, DYRL? and Flashback.

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http://www.tatsunokousa.com/macrossfilm.html

Here is the entry for Dyrl

heres the entry for flashback 2012

http://www.tatsunokousa.com/macrossflash.html

No Entries for macross plus and 7 i might add. No mention of HG in these entries ether, except if you count the mentioning of robotech,and clash of bionoids.

so everything listed is fairly fair sounding imho.

Edited by Bob_Coffee
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http://www.tatsunokousa.com/macrossfilm.html

Here is the entry for Dyrl

heres the entry for flashback 2012

http://www.tatsunokousa.com/macrossflash.html

No Entries for macross plus and 7 i might add. No mention of HG in these entries ether, except if you count the mentioning of robotech,and clash of bionoids.

so everything listed is fairly fair sounding imho.

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Tatsunoko did IIRC, have a part in the production of those 2, specifically DYRL?. It wasn't big, but enough to claim something. Of course, no one is gonna touch DYRL? until they can figure out the license.

M+ and M7 (and other later productions) are Tatsunoko-free.

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I dont have the endurance nor the will too read through all these pages on the topic. Haha. I am VERY interested in this topic. Im a newcomer in the series of Macross. But i LOVE it way more than the robotech series. So im really eager to know more about the Robotech and HG debates. Could somone pm me or summarize the issues here. Thanks.

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I dont have the endurance nor the will too read through all these pages on the topic. Haha. I am VERY interested in this topic. Im a newcomer in the series of Macross. But i LOVE it way more than the robotech series. So im really eager to know more about the Robotech and HG debates. Could somone pm me or summarize the issues here. Thanks.

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Short version: HG licensed Macross from Tatsunoko, who recieved international distribution rights from Big West as partial payment for their help in the production of the original TV series.

HG claims this license gives them exclusive rights to all Macross products ever, and

throws cease&desist letters and/or lawsuits at anyone that dares import a product without their authorization.

Excepting Macross 2 and MacPlus, because these were imported before they claimed to have exclusive rights to the entire franchise. And DYRL, which had something like 3 companies do US releases back in the day, and lacks a DVD release because no one's sure who, if anyone, actually still has a license.

Big West thinks otherwise, and has yanked one license(for a US release of the Macross 7 Trash manga) because they agreed to pay HG royalties.

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I dont have the endurance nor the will too read through all these pages on the topic. Haha. I am VERY interested in this topic. Im a newcomer in the series of Macross. But i LOVE it way more than the robotech series. So im really eager to know more about the Robotech and HG debates. Could somone pm me or summarize the issues here. Thanks.

325635[/snapback]

Short version: HG licensed Macross from Tatsunoko, who recieved international distribution rights from Big West as partial payment for their help in the production of the original TV series.

HG claims this license gives them exclusive rights to all Macross products ever, and

throws cease&desist letters and/or lawsuits at anyone that dares import a product without their authorization.

Excepting Macross 2 and MacPlus, because these were imported before they claimed to have exclusive rights to the entire franchise. And DYRL, which had something like 3 companies do US releases back in the day, and lacks a DVD release because no one's sure who, if anyone, actually still has a license.

Big West thinks otherwise, and has yanked one license(for a US release of the Macross 7 Trash manga) because they agreed to pay HG royalties.

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Thanks JBO. You're awsome. I remember reading that animeigo's liscense ran out and thats when HG picked up the overstocks to the 9 dvd set. (The only reason i know this is cuz i scoured the internet for the dvd set that made me a hardcore macross fan =)) So is it ever possible for HG's liscense to run out? Id really love to see Macross more easily viewed instead of an underground cult kinda anime. Im afraid my generation of late teens are the last generation of macross fans. LIVE ON MACROSS!

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Thanks JBO. You're awsome. I remember reading that animeigo's liscense ran out and thats when HG picked up the overstocks to the 9 dvd set. (The only reason i know this is cuz i scoured the internet for the dvd set that made me a hardcore macross fan =))

Remember, Animeigo sublicensed it from HG.

So is it ever possible for HG's liscense to run out?

No one knows. HG refuses to show anyone their license.

It's POSSIBLE that it already has, but we don't know.

Id really love to see Macross more easily viewed instead of an underground cult kinda anime. Im afraid my generation of late teens are the last generation of macross fans. LIVE ON MACROSS!

Don't worry. Macross Plus made it through unbutchered, and it's commonly regarded as quite good.

It will continue to lead people to the one true anime.

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Thanks JBO. You're awsome. I remember reading that animeigo's liscense ran out and thats when HG picked up the overstocks to the 9 dvd set. (The only reason i know this is cuz i scoured the internet for the dvd set that made me a hardcore macross fan =))

Remember, Animeigo sublicensed it from HG.

So is it ever possible for HG's liscense to run out?

No one knows. HG refuses to show anyone their license.

It's POSSIBLE that it already has, but we don't know.

Just a quick question here, I'm sure there is an answer but I don't know exactly...but if HG cannot show a license, even if they claim they got one, how can they stop Macross merchanising in other states and countries?

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Thanks JBO. You're awsome. I remember reading that animeigo's liscense ran out and thats when HG picked up the overstocks to the 9 dvd set. (The only reason i know this is cuz i scoured the internet for the dvd set that made me a hardcore macross fan =))

Remember, Animeigo sublicensed it from HG.

So is it ever possible for HG's liscense to run out?

No one knows. HG refuses to show anyone their license.

It's POSSIBLE that it already has, but we don't know.

Just a quick question here, I'm sure there is an answer but I don't know exactly...but if HG cannot show a license, even if they claim they got one, how can they stop Macross merchanising in other states and countries?

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Well, the thing is that it's never made it through the courts.

The only case I know of that even came close was the Battletech suit.

They settled out of court, with one of the conditions of the settlement being that they not talk about the case or settlement.

So the guys from Fasa are the only people that MIGHT have ever seen the license, and they're legally bound to not speak about it.

No one else has ever made it TO the courts. They usually cave when they recieve the first threats, because they can't afford to fight it.

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I have a question about the Blue MP Alphas. Is it safe to assume that the lower the production number of the Alpha, the more likely the chance of having those qc problems? I know it's been discussed to death, but humor me. Thanks in advance.

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Thanks JBO. You're awsome. I remember reading that animeigo's liscense ran out and thats when HG picked up the overstocks to the 9 dvd set. (The only reason i know this is cuz i scoured the internet for the dvd set that made me a hardcore macross fan =))

Remember, Animeigo sublicensed it from HG.

So is it ever possible for HG's liscense to run out?

No one knows. HG refuses to show anyone their license.

It's POSSIBLE that it already has, but we don't know.

Just a quick question here, I'm sure there is an answer but I don't know exactly...but if HG cannot show a license, even if they claim they got one, how can they stop Macross merchanising in other states and countries?

325843[/snapback]

Well, the thing is that it's never made it through the courts.

The only case I know of that even came close was the Battletech suit.

They settled out of court, with one of the conditions of the settlement being that they not talk about the case or settlement.

So the guys from Fasa are the only people that MIGHT have ever seen the license, and they're legally bound to not speak about it.

No one else has ever made it TO the courts. They usually cave when they recieve the first threats, because they can't afford to fight it.

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Few things. Generally, most things won't need to go to court. Really, about three companies would ever need to have any knowledge of the actual terms of HG's license, and one of them only barely. Those three: HG, Tatsunoko, and Big West. And, as long as Tatsunoko and Big West are clear on what Tatsunoko took away from their deal, all Big West needs to know is that Tatsunoko gave HG a complete license.

Second, HG has said its license is for perpetuity.

Third, I think that eweilen (sp?) hit the nail on the head several pages back. Most of the fight really has to have been over the trademark of the name Macross. If HG got the mark registered (which it did), it has exclusive rights to the mark for its products (and related products) in the relevant channels of commerce.

I haven't reviewed it entirely, but there's a pretty long history of the mark in the USPTO records. It would also explain how Macross Plus got through (done after the mark lost its registration while HG wasn't actively tracking, using, or renewing). It appears from those same records that Big West started opposing the most recent registrations, but then abandoned those challenges. So, something clearly happened between the companies, whether it was a beat down or a negotiation, can't really tell.

It would also explain the lack of "court" cases. Trademark registration issues are resolved usually by the Trademark Board, not courts.

So, there you go.

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I have a question about the Blue MP Alphas.  Is it safe to assume that the lower the production number of the Alpha, the more likely the chance of having those qc problems?  I know it's been discussed to death, but humor me.  Thanks in advance.

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you'd think it would be that way, but the lower ones I have are better (ooops I almost typed excellent), while the newer ones including the green, red and shadow are utter crap. The best one I had was one that I bought for a friend in Japan. And it had the turquoise intakes that signified really early release.

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Few things.  Generally, most things won't need to go to court. 

They SHOULD go beyond HG sending cease & desist letters and refusing to prove their claims.

Particularly when including statements such as all infringing merchandise needs to be delivered to HG's main office, which has no basis in US law. They can stop the sale of imports, with restrictions. They can get law enforcement to seize merchandise that is suitabley offensive. They CANNOT seize the merchandise themselves.

Really, about three companies would ever need to have any knowledge of the actual terms of HG's license, and one of them only barely.  Those three: HG, Tatsunoko, and Big West.  And, as long as Tatsunoko and Big West are clear on what Tatsunoko took away from their deal, all Big West needs to know is that Tatsunoko gave HG a complete license.

And everyone HG has used their license against.

I wouldn't just take someone's word that they owned the product I'd just imported.

As an analogy... let's say you just bought a car from a used-car lot.

And I walk up to you one day and say that that's my car, the guy at the used-car lot stole it from me, and you need to give me your keys.

Are you going to take my word for it? No, you won't.

You'll call the cops. They'll likely ask to see my title. If I can't present that as proof of ownership, I've got nothing.

Second, HG has said its license is for perpetuity.

The license they refuse to show anyone? The license that only covered the original TV series until nostalgia kicked in? (note that HG made no attempts to stop importations of DYRL, Macross 2, or Macross Plus).

Third, I think that eweilen (sp?) hit the nail on the head several pages back.  Most of the fight really has to have been over the trademark of the name Macross.  If HG got the mark registered (which it did), it has exclusive rights to the mark for its products (and related products) in the relevant channels of commerce.

I haven't reviewed it entirely, but there's a pretty long history of the mark in the USPTO records.  It would also explain how Macross Plus got through (done after the mark lost its registration while HG wasn't actively tracking, using, or renewing).  It appears from those same records that Big West started opposing the most recent registrations, but then abandoned those challenges.  So, something clearly happened between the companies, whether it was a beat down or a negotiation, can't really tell.

It would also explain the lack of "court" cases.  Trademark registration issues are resolved usually by the Trademark Board, not courts. 

So, there you go.

Except HG's cease and desist letters cited their distribution rights, not their trademark.

http://www.animenewsnetwork.com/article.php?id=1953

A sample.

There's a thread somewhere in the forums regarding what happens when you challenge a HG C&D.

Edited by JB0
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you'd think it would be that way, but the lower ones I have are better (ooops I almost typed excellent), while the newer ones including the green, red and shadow are utter crap. The best one I had was one that I bought for a friend in Japan. And it had the turquoise intakes that signified really early release.

We have a MPC thread for this....

The license they refuse to show anyone? The license that only covered the original TV series until nostalgia kicked in? (note that HG made no attempts to stop importations of DYRL, Macross 2, or Macross Plus).

I should probably note, as I said earlier, M+ and MII and productions after that, have had no involvement with Tatsunoko.

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The license they refuse to show anyone? The license that only covered the original TV series until nostalgia kicked in? (note that HG made no attempts to stop importations of DYRL, Macross 2, or Macross Plus).

I should probably note, as I said earlier, M+ and MII and productions after that, have had no involvement with Tatsunoko.

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Indeed. HG's official stance as of late, however, is that they own exclusive rights to the entire franchise, be it toys, animation, line art, or anything else.

Which is a far cry from their original standpoint of not even having the rights to DYRL, or the ability to make derivative works using Macross(look at Robotech 2 and the makeovers all the characters underwent. Poor Britai...)

Edited by JB0
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I'm just curious, how was Harmony Gold, able to trademark something when they only have the rights for distribution. I thought that you were supposed to have some type of copyright in order to trademark a property.

As I understand it...

You don't need ANYTHING to file for a US trademark, aside from a trademark someone hasn't registered in the US.

Also note that(again, as I understand things) you can't trademark a property.

Phrases, names, logos, etc. can be registered, though.

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