"The Gobots are like the K-Mart of Transformers..." - Clerks II
Contrary to popular belief, the GoBots brand was actually started a whole year before Transformers.
The GoBots line was based on original Japanese robot toys from the first line of toys of a 1982 franchise called Machine Robo (マシンロボ) and helped create the toy robot "sensation" that swept 80s USA for a short time. The line sold well initially, but was eventually overtaken by Transformers.
Hanna Barbera produced a cartoon series called Challenge of the GoBots to promote the toyline, which ran for 65 22-minute episodes from 1984 to 1985.
The main tagline for the original animated TV series was: "GoBots - Mighty Robots!!! Mighty Vehicles!!!".
In 1986, soon after the end of the Challenge of the Gobots television series, the Gobots co-starred with the Rock Lords in an animated feature film GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords, again produced by Hanna Barbera.
Although initially a separate and competing franchise, Tonka's Gobots became the intellectual property of Hasbro (owners of Transformers) after their buyout of Tonka in 1991. Subsequently, the universe depicted in the animated series Challenge of the GoBots and follow-up film GoBots: Battle of the Rock Lords was established as an alternate universe within the Transformers franchise.
While Hasbro now owns the fictional side of the property (character names, bios, storyline), the original vintage toys and their likenesses were only licensed from Bandai Namco in the 80s, were not covered by the Tonka acquisition, and are not available for Hasbro use.