Possible Legal Problems for MP-23 US Imports – Pre-Orders Cancelled

BBTS sent out an email Friday evening explaining some possible issues in getting the MP-23 Exhaust figure into the US. Marlboro & Phillip Morris USA are not only citing that the figure infringes on their trademark and trade dress for products sold in the USA, they also express concerns in having such infringements appear on a toy that could potentially be marketed towards children.
The trade dress in question is of course represented in the red shape on the hood of the car that was based on the original Diaclone Wheeljack Marlboro 598 design, that itself was based on the real life Lancia Marlboro sponsored race car seen below.
From BBTS:

Hi – We wanted to update you about a new development in regards to your preorder of the Transformers Masterpiece MP-23 Exhaust figure from Takara.   We were just contacted by a law firm on behalf of Marlboro & Phillip Morris USA.  They informed us that the MP-23 Exhaust figure infringes on their trademark and trade dress for products marketed and sold in the USA.
The mark is  generally shaped like this:
|    |
This mark is found on the hood/roof of the MP-23 car in red, and also in smaller green shapes on the left and right fenders.
They are concerned because these marks cannot be used on products that could be intended for children as dictated by the Tobacco Master Settlement Agreement  (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tobacco_Master_Settlement_Agreement).
We must comply with the requests they have made in order to avoid legal action with Phillip Morris.   We have removed the MP-23 listing from our website.    Your preorders have been transferred to a generic unpublished listing in case the product is changed or modified before release.   If the product is not changed, we will be forced to cancel all preorders and we will not be able to sell this product.
We apologize for the trouble on this item.
Joel Boblit

We’ll keep you updated as more information becomes available — in the mean time, please be sure to comment in our forums topic.
Thanks to BigBadToyStore for the heads up!


One comment

  • People need to stop hating on BBTS, Hasbro, Takara, and Phillips Morris. AND it is definitely not the lawyers fault. All it takes is one asshole who decides to cash in on an opportunity to try to file a frivolous lawsuit against any of them that can potentially cost them millions of dollars. I think this is a very prudent thing to do…