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Lionbot

As a franchise based heavily on selling toys and merchandise, there are many IP infringing items that attempt to profit off the likeness of Voltron without the legal acquisition of a license. Such items would include bootlegs made with cheaper material and, just recently, attempts to create collectibles in the likeness of Voltron characters that would appeal to high end collectors.

Knockoffs

Voltron bootleg

An example of a Voltron knockoff

"Knockoffs" generally refer to toys made with cheaper materials, lower quality, and often made off-color. Many of these toys originate from countries like China, Taiwan, or South Korea. Knockoffs can also be direct replicas of existing official products even implementing the same engineering.

The most notable one is the Lionbot from Taiwan which was derived from Bandai's original DX Golion mold. Certain changes done unto it were variations of the belt symbol and colors on the individual lions. The Lionbot's packaging is also a heavily edited version of the original Japanese packaging replacing the Japanese text with English.

Copies of the Lionbot also have deliberate chippings done to the lion's molded copyright info, suggesting that they came from the same factory where the Matchbox Voltron toys were outsourced to.[1]

"Third Party" products

Goraion

Dream EX's F-01 "Goraion"

"Third Party" is a misleading term to refer to high quality IP infringing products that are instead made with quality in mind aimed at collectors.

In proper terms, third party refers to companies given the license by the initial IP owners to produce officially licensed products. The term to refer to unofficial companies was adopted by the Transformers fandom after the phenomenon which occurred after the release of the first live action movie sparking the trend of unlicensed Chinese companies to create Masterpiece-like items.

However, due to the fact that they're unlicensed, certain measures may be done to cut funding. Among these may include lower quality control, different materials, lower production runs, and opting out of painting certain areas in favor of including stickers instead.

Many "third party" companies are merely tolerated by the official IP owners of the products that they're modeling their products off of, such as Hasbro and TakaraTomy. A likely explanation would be that taking these companies to court would take too much time to prove any IP infringing. Many of these "third company" toys would have slight variations to the overall look of the toy such as different colors, sculpts, and engineering.

This is because of the line between copyright infringing and trademark infringing. Whereas the former is more vague and harder to prove in court, the latter is the one that many "third party" companies dodge by the exclusion of trademarked symbols and names. All IP infringing toys use names that are variations of the characters whose likeness they are deriving off of. A known case for Lion Voltron is Mad Toy's "King of Beast" which is clearly a direct reference to the original source material Beast King GoLion.

Whereas both Golion and DaiRugger have had constant bootlegs in their likeness, "third party" companies have also done a few attempts of making high-end collectibles. Among them were the F-01 Goraion by Dream EX which imitated the SD style of ES Gokin.

See Also

References

VE Voltron toys and collectibles
Current License-Holders BandaiPlaymates Toys
Past License-Holders FunkoLJNMatchboxMattelMiracle ProductionPanosh PlaceToynamiTrendmasters
Related articles ChogokinDream EXIP infringing itemsKatsushi MurakamiMerchandise
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