LOS ANGELES (CN) – A German luggage company sued Marvel and Buena Vista movies, claiming they used a knockoff Rimowa briefcase to package the Blu-Ray release of “Avengers.”
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Cologne-based Rimowa sued Marvel Entertainment and Buena Vista Home Entertainment in Federal Court, alleging trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition. Rimowa claims that its Topas briefcase was copied “in every respect but quality” for the plastic replica box set.
Rimowa claims its “virtually indestructible” briefcases have a distinct look, with “parallel, evenly spaced horizontal bands,” and were used in several Hollywood blockbusters, including “Girl With The Dragon Tattoo,” “Transformers,” and “Ocean’s 11.”
The Topas briefcase was used by Samuel L. Jackson’s character Nick Fury in this year’s “Avengers” movie. Rimowa says it supplied Marvel with a genuine case for the movie, but did not give the company a license or permission to make replicas.
“Defendants are currently marketing and advertising a product called the ‘Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One – Avengers Assembled Box Set’ for shipment starting September 25, 2012,” the complaint states. “According to Marvel’s marketing materials, the product consists of Blu-Ray versions of ‘The Avengers’ and several other Marvel superhero motion pictures; bonus discs containing various additional materials; and art, prop reproductions and artifacts from the motion picture, all packaged in ‘an exclusive replica of Nick Fury’s iconic briefcase.’
“Images of the replica briefcase on Marvel’s advertising materials, and fan video from Marvel’s product display at this year’s ComicCon convention, show the plastic ‘replica case’ to be a close copy of Rimowa’s Topas attaché case in every respect but quality – 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.”
A similar lawsuit was rejectedin June by a federal judge in Manhattan. In that case, Louis Vuitton sued Warner Bros., claiming the studio had used a counterfeit Vuitton handbag in the hit comedy “The Hangover: Part II.”
Rimowa seeks statutory, compensatory and punitive damages. It is represented by Anjani Mandavia, with Weintraub Tobin Chediak Coleman & Grodin of Beverly Hills.
Neither the law firm, Marvel nor Buena Vista responded to requests for comment.