Robotech vs Battletech vs Macross IP Fight

Someone people complained about Games Workshop’s refusal to let Damnatus be released. IP rights we were told. Want to see what kind of cluster [censored] you can get yourself into if you’re not careful about IP rights?

Here’s the deal. Bare in mind that the story isn’t very clear and a few lawsuits were settled privately so there are plenty of unclear details.

Warhammer

Some people call me the Warhammer. Yeah! Some call me the Tomahawk. Some people call me Excalibur, cause I speak of the pompatus of IP warfare…

Back in 1982, a Japanese animation company called Studio Nue came up with a little ol’ anime series called Macross. And it happened to be awesome. Awesome enough that Tatsunoko Productions, who financially supported Studio Nue, gave Harmony Gold the rights to distribute the show outside of Japan. Harmony Gold turned around and, in order to pass certain weird regulations about how long a show must be to be aired on television, tied Macross into two other anime shows Super Dimension Calvary Southern Cross and Genesis Climber MOSPEADA. The combination was called Robotech.

Meanwhile, FASA Corporation sought to use the IP rights for various mecha originally created in several anime, Macross being the most prominent. It is said that Harmony Gold fired several cease and desist letters at FASA, but took no legal action until Gold partnered with Playmates Toys to produce a series of Robotech toys.

The results of this lawsuit ended with several anime-inspired mechs from BattleTech being removed. These fourteen designs were called the “Unseen”. They would eventually reappear with artistic changes, but remain controversial canonically if not legally. When you see fans discussing the Unseen and Reseen models, this is what they’re discussing.

But FASA weren’t the only guys who got the sharp end of the stick. Studio Nue also came out with a sequel to Macross called Macross 7 and a few other titles. Some managed to get passed Harmony Gold, like Macross Plus. Others, like 7, did not. Gold is trying to keep the rest of Macross out of the U.S.

More has happened since then, but I’m not entirely certain what is fan speculation versus what is fact. For more info, check out Chris Matthew’s view on it. And for goodness sake, guard your IP rights!

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