In early 1980's Revell had acquired the rights to use the likeness of various mecha from multiple Japanese anime properties, including Super Dimensional Fortress: Macross, for use in its two lines of model kits it called Robotech Defenders and Robotech Changers.
This put something of a wrench into the plans of American production company Harmony Gold as they had recently acquired the rights to the Macross television show and had hopes of releasing various forms of merchandise based on the series.
Eventually a co-licensing deal was struck between the two companies creating a larger franchise entitled Robotech. Thus, Robotech project recieved its name. This new franchise featured various designs from multiple anime properties whose distribution rights had been purchased between the corporations.