The battle of the superhero franchises has intensified as news of Hasbro’s intentions to fight DC Comics over the right to market Bumblebee toys.
The entertainment studio and global toymaker has filed suit against Warner Bros. and DC Comics for trademark infringement over the use of the Bumblebee name, a character from the Transformers brand.
The suit claims that the DC Bumblebee – a teenage girl with the ability to shrink – could be confused with the Autobot Bumblebee.
The suit has been filed ahead of the release of the first Transformers spin-off starring the Bumblebee character in 2018.
The company is seeking to block the sales of Mattel’s Bumblebee toy, part of the DC Super Hero Girls action figure line and has raised concerns over the Bumblebee LEGO Set.
Hasbro says that it began selling Bumblebee toys in 1983 and has been selling building block toy sets featuring the Bumblebee brand sine 2011.
However, DC and Warner Bros. announced the DC Super Hero Girls franchise in April 2015 with the named character taking inspiration from an original Bumblebee character that was first introduced in the Teen Titans comic series in 1977.
“Defendants and/or their licensees’ use of the Accused Mark is likely to cause consumers mistakenly to believe that the Accused Goods emanate from or are otherwise associated with Hasbro,” the suit alleges.
“Such improper use of the Accused Mark by Defendants and/or their licensees is likely to cause confusion, mistake and/or deception among the public as to the source of the Accused Goods.”
Warner Bros. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.