LOS ANGELES (CN) – A woman who holds rights to the 1950s science fiction movie “Invasion of the Saucer-Men” claims in court that retailers are selling unauthorized bobblehead toys modeled on the “evil and eponymous” aliens in the movie.
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Susan Nicholson Hofheinz sued A.V.E.L.A. Inc., toymaker Funko, Amazon.com and Toys ‘R’ Us, both of which sell Funko’s Wacky Wobbler line of bobbleheads, and six other companies and one person, in Federal Court.
Hofheinz claims that “serial litigant” A.V.E.L.A. has “ripped off numerous entertainment properties,” and sold a false license to Funko, which then made the bobblehead Saucer-Men toys.
Hofheinz claims that Funko’s Wacky Wobbler product is “substantially similar to the Saucer-Men from the film, right down to the wicked-looking blade instrument clutched in the Saucer-Man’s veiny claw. This violates the plaintiff’s copyrights in the film.”
Hofheinz claims that A.V.E.L.A. and Funko never asked her permission to “exploit in any way the film, its characters, or its marketing materials.”
She says the “titular” Saucer-Men are one of the “most important elements of the film.”
“Indeed, filmgoers young and old have thrilled to and been kept up at night by the specter of the diabolical Saucer-Men and their extravagant weaponry, and the stylized and frightening appearance of the Saucer-Men is wildly unique, providing many hair-raising and spooktacular moments throughout the film,” the complaint states, in fluent Hollywoodese.
Actress Susan Hart is the widow of American International Pictures co-founder James Nicholson, who produced “Invasion of the Saucer-Men,” according to the entertainment website IMDB.com.
Courthouse News could not immediately confirm whether Hofheinz and Hart are one and the same, though IMDB says that Hart is married to Roy M. Hofheinz Jr. Hofheinz says in her complaint that she owns the rights to a number of “creepy” 1950s horror flicks.
Hofheinz is represented by Scott Burroughs with Doniger Burroughs of Culver City. She seeks an injunction and damages for copyright infringement, trademark and trade dress infringement and unfair competition.
Also named as defendants are Artnostalgia.com Inc., X One X Movie Archive Inc., Leo Valencia, Entertainment Earth Inc., and Smeraldi Enterprises dba mymoviemonsters.com.
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