The matter of Hasbro versus Mattel over the use of the name “Bumblebee” has been settled. No details have been revealed, but the case was dismissed by Judge Lorna Schofield, of the Southern District of New York, after receiving a settlement notice from DC’s attorneys. The terms of the settlement were not made public.
The legal squabble began last September as Paramount was ramping up for the release of the ‘Bumblebee’ ‘Transformers’ movie later this year, with the usual deluge of toys and other licensed products planned to accompany it. Hasbro, who makes the ‘Transformers’ toys wanted ownership of the name, which DC/Warner Brothers and Mattel were using as part of the ‘DC Superhero Girls’ brand, which includes various toys and other merch. DC’s Bumblebee is a female superhero, real name: Karen Beecher, who originated in the ‘Teen Titans’ comic book and has appeared sporadically in various toy lines over the years. This Bumblebee is usually considered DC’s first black female superhero.
Technically, DC’s Bumblebee came first, premiering 1977. The Autobot Bumblebee and the other ‘Transformers’ didn’t arrive in the U.S. until 1983. They did, however, obtain a trademark on the name in 2015. But prior to that, Bandai had made toys based on DC’s Bumblebee as part of the ‘Teen Titans’ toy line, which ran from 2003-06.
Though no details are known– and this is just a guess on my part– DC and Mattel may have acquiesced to stop using their Bumblebee, because from the look of things, ‘DC Superhero Girls’ may be on its way out. And Bumblebee has never been the focus of the line, which mainly focuses on Wonder Woman, Batgirl, Harley Quinn and Supergirl.
So you’ll be able to buy all the Transformers ‘Bumblebee’ toys you want, when the movie opens on December 21. Directed by Travis Knight, ‘Bumblebee’ stars Hailee Steinfeld and John Cena.