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Marvel Is Getting Sued Over Their Avengers DVD Briefcase Set

I don’t know about you but I wouldn’t mess with Nick Fury of S.H.I.E.L.D. but a German luggage company is about to step up to the main man in a big way. The company, Rimowa GmbH, is suing Marvel and owner Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment. Why? See that magnificent DVD case above? That’s one of Rimowa GmbH’s designs. We know that for sure because they allowed Marvel to let Samuel L. Jackson carry it in The Avengers. What they didn’t do was allow Marvel to mass produce and sell it. Oops. 

I was honestly a little shocked when I first saw this story. This doesn’t seem like the type of thing that would get by Disney’s lawyers. But let’s take a look at the details we know so far.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney/Marvel and Rimowa will head “into federal court in California over itsattaché case products, which are prized by the company ‘for being impervious to the elements and being virtually indestructible.’” They offer it in a few different sizes and it can run anywhere from $650-$750. Here’s what the real deal looks like.

Rimowa says they have no problem with how their Topas attaché case was used in The Avengers, they gave permission for that. ”However, Marvel did not obtain any license or authorization from Rimowa to make replica copies of the cases for any purpose,” says the plaintiff in the new lawsuit. Marvel is currently advertising and taking pre-orders for this set they call Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One — Avengers Assembled Box Set. We previously showed you the stylized art that is meant to go along with each of the included films.

“Images of the replica briefcase on Marvel’s advertising materials, and fan video from Marvel’s product display at this year’s Comic-Con convention, show the plastic ‘replica case’ to be a close copy of Rimowa’s Topas attaché case in every respect but quality,” states the complaint from Rimowa, “from the proportions and coloring, to the style of the handle and latches, and, of course, in the use of the trademarked parallel ridges around the body of the case.”

Without seeing copies of their original contract I can’t say for sure but this seems like a really big mistake on Marvel’s part. Will Rimowa block the selling of this set until the litigation is done or make a deal that allows Marvel to go ahead with the set as planned? Time will tell but I know at least a few Marvel Universe fans who are going to be disappointed if they can’t pretend to be Nick Fury.

(via The Hollywood Reporter)

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  • Anonymous

    Am I the only one who bought the Blade Runner briefcase back in the day? Looks damn similar.

  • Anonymous

    Wow, way to ruin something meant to be fun and geeky. Fucking suits…

  • Lindsey Stock

    I’m also really surprised that Disney’s lawyers didn’t catch this. It’s not like they accidentally made it look exactly like Rimowa’s case.
    But I really hope this doesn’t delay the awesome box set. Especially since I saved up all that money to pre-order it! Hope they can settle this in a reasonable way.

  • Claudia

    Well, that would be really stupid of Marvel. If they ask permission to use the briefcase in the movie why didn’t they simply ask before taking pre-orders for this box set?

  • Anonymous

    Once again, being able to own an idea is incredibly stupid. No doubt not the fault of the company that is suing though. No more than it would be the fault of a rock if you tripped over it. Companies are amoral. The law is where this all fails.

  • idleprimate

     i so wanted that and saw it really cheap one day–when i went back with money, it was gone.  yes this does remind me utterly of that set.

  • RodimusBen

    The suit seems totally legit if you ask me.

  • Anonymous

    I disagree entirely.  If you come up with a design, or a story, or an invention, you deserve to make money off it for a period of time.

    It’s the new patents where people are patenting things they didn’t create, just things people do every day, like double-click, so the patent owner can sue, THOSE are enraging.

  • Theatreguy1961

     As opposed to all the time Disney has sued people? Or all the times Disney has had preschools paint over Mickey and Donald on their walls?

  • Anonymous

    So? Those are different situations and I haven’t seen them sue anyone nowadays for those things.

    To me, the other company is basically doing this as an obvious cash grab because Disney is very likely just going to settle and cut them a huge check for ‘stealing’ their idea. 

  • Jill Pantozzi

    Cash grab or not, if they didn’t have a contract with Marvel to sell this item as-is, they are owed compensation.

  • Anonymous

    Well, fine, they probably WILL get ‘compensation’ since Disney isn’t going to go through the headache of a trial. That’s how these things go. More often than not, these lawsuits are settled out of court.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    So everybody wins. Rimowa gets compensation for Disney’s screw-up. Disney gets to sell the replicas. I’d hazard a guess that whatever amount the judge orders Disney to pay (in this hypothetical settlement situation) will basically be chump change to them.

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Disney gets slammed over something licensing-related. Beautiful, beautiful schadenfreude.

  • Michael Hartman

    Are you insane?

    The reason Disney copied it for their DVD case is because it looks so awesome. Well, Rimowa spent all the time, energy, and money developing their look to be awesome. 

    The whole reason we have IP laws is so someone can’t just blatantly rip off what you work hard to create and profit from it.

  • RubenI

    And not just once but twice. Marvel granted a license to Hot Toys for a collectible action figure of Nick Fury carrying ?…. his Rimowa briefcase. So chalk up 2 oversights by Marvel/Disney’s legal team ! In this case, you can be certain that Hot Toys is paying a royalty to Marvel so indirectly Marvel is making money from an IP that is not theirs. Oops !

  • Rebecca Pahle

    Right?! I wonder who’s responsible for this goof and if they still have their job. On the plus side for Disney, it does help increase awareness of the DVD set.

  • Michael J

    It’s called copyright infringement.How would you like someone to steal an idea of yours and make giant profits off of something you worked so hard to get off of the ground? You wouldn’t like it.I am a comic book creator and if someone were to try and steal my idea I’d take them to court too.

  • Michael J

    There is no way Marvel comics is going to win here, unless there was something in the contract deal that they had with this company that allows them to create more replica’s of the briefcase for profit from the film.Why did they even feel the need to create a replica in the first place, when the creators of the briefcase mentions that they only gave Marvel comics the rights to use it in the film.
    What Marvel comics is doing here is the total opposite of the agreement they made with this company.They essentially are selling the exact briefcase that is currently on sell for $750.This is trademark infringement.When the final ruling comes down, they will have the last laugh.
    Most likely outcome, if Marvel comics realize that they are going to lose this case big time, they’ll try to settle this out of court and stop selling the replica briefcases.

  • Xavier

    Well, if Marvel/Disney was stupid enough not to get proper legal permissions and can’t seal the deal, then forget the briefcase and turn to a Phase 1 Tesseract with , maybe with real flowing glow and some type of soft release of each disc or block in some fashion. Didn’t Loki deal with a nice containment unit for it in Asgard? Don’t do a Helicarrier (they just crash sooner than later). It just depends on how they want to deal with their first round and where people want to put the goods.

  • nah

    and how many other brief cases are there in the world that look like that? iv seen a few there only suing cuse marvel has money