Here’s a bit of interesting trivia that I discovered: the Air Raiders do not appear to be currently trademarked by Hasbro.
According to the United States Patent and Trademark Office, Hasbro originally filed to trademark the brand back in June 1987 (which seems damn late for something that launched a few months later). The trademark was cancelled in July, 1994.
Hasbro renewed the trademark in September, 2009 but as of 2011, the property has been “abandoned, no statement of use filed.” I haven’t found any further information so I assume this is the current status.
So what does this mean?
It doesn’t matter for two reasons. First, Hasbro still protects itself through it’s copyright of the toys.
According to quora:
and copyright both are the intellectual property rights, to protect a different kind of assets.
Trademark enables the user to protect their brand name. Trademark means any symbol, word, name, device, numerals or combination of both, which can be represented graphically, can be registered as trademark. A trademark is unique symbol which distinguishes your goods or services from others.
Whereas the Copyright is a form of intellectual property, applicable to certain forms of creative, intellectual, or artistic forms or works, which includes literary works, theses, paintings, drawings, musical compositions, website, script, mobile app layout, etc. It is the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.
So a trademark seems to cover stuff like the term Air Raiders, the slogan “The Power is in the Air!” and possible the logo, while the copyright covers the art, world background, character names, probably vehicle designs, etc. That copyright lasts for 70 years at least.
Second, a lapsed trademark does not equate to abandonment as Mattel was able to successfully sue to get the lapsed rights back to the Crash Test Dummy brand.
Part of the reason I was curious enough to look this up was that a different series of toys called Air Raiders kept coming up in my Google searches. They are made by Blue Rocket Toys in Hong Kong and the products were foam gliders or rockets that were shot forward with guns and slingshots or even thrown by hand.
I was wondering how they got away with this? They’re using the name and while they’re not ripping off the Air Raider concept, some of their gimmicks get close enough.
And the answer is: I don’t know. Maybe they got around the name rights because Hasbro let the trademark lapse? Or maybe international trademarks work differently?
I did notice a new brand change though recently so maybe the long arm of Hasbro finally did catch up with them. Notice the logo changes on the similar products below. The shark one appears to be newer based on reviews I’ve seen.
Xtrem Raiders! (Ugh…)
Bear in mind, I am not a lawyer so this is all pure speculation on my part. I do wonder if the trademark has truly lapsed. If so, that’s sad because it shows Hasbro currently has no interest in the brand. It does make one wonder why they renewed it briefly in 2009. Maybe the success of the Transformer movie had them digging into their other properties? Who knows.
If anyone has any thoughts or can offer better insight than me, please feel free to share.
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