In the US you are free from copyright laws as long as it is somehow different from the source material, no? Artistic freedom and all that? Maybe I don't understand the laws correctly.
However, let's take a very brief look at the third party Transformers as a prime example. Those are characters that are directly "ripping off" a major, global franchise that is still on-going today. I'm going to assume that Has/Tak isn't unwilling to pursue these companies, but that they are unable to do so. They change the names of the 3P characters and take some artistic liberties so that they're slightly different from the source material. It's a HUGE market with a ton of money in it, so nobody can argue it would be unprofitable for them to pursue it either.
What Eddie does is honestly not much different, except it's on a significantly smaller scale. I don't think anybody here can call any of his work a direct copy of any existing IP he has "copied."
Let's assume, for argument's sake, that Eddie never presented his idea to Moose. Everybody knows they keep their eyes on competition, and they very clearly knew about the campaign that was run and was successful. They are very clearly trying to snuff out their competition before it becomes competition. It's a really shitty thing to do, but not at all unexpected for a large company either. (Moose or not, all large companies would try and stifle competition like this.)
Generally whatever it is needs to vary by at least 30% from the original, that isn't a rule per-say but is recommended. Application/use can also be called into it too. Parodies can come under fire no matter what you do with it.
International copyright is hinky. It's acknowledge by treaties and technically is automatically applied to any US copyright, but having countries enforcing it is where the issues are. Some don't acknowledge those treaties at all, which can make things very difficult to do deal with.
Has/Tak might not see the point in pursuing them either, if it's a smaller scale company pumping those guys out they could disband and reassemble multiple times and still keep doing what they're doing. It'd be a huge time and money sink, if the product isn't as easily/readily available they might not even be worried about the loss in profits. Specially if the quality isn't anywhere as good. Fan loyalty helps too.
Some of his minis could come under fire, but it's unlikely. Battle Toads, for example, could have a cease and desist slapped on em.
The problem is, if they can prove that he made those figures while being fully aware of theirs, they could argue it's a derivative work and still keep him from producing those figures... then turn around and use the ideas for themselves. They might try to claim it was too heavily inspired by their product and would confuse consumers. Even if none of that were true and he had never heard of or seen their line of toys, they could still pull most of that as an excuse if they felt strongly enough about it.
EDIT: Be curious to see some of Eddies figs with armor and weapon packs, a peg on their backs to allow for optional attire.
Edited by mannakat, 19 July 2017 - 09:50 AM.