Marvel sued over Avengers box set packaging

What is it with Hollywood and luggage companies? In the second time this past year, a luggage company has sued a major movie studio over knockoffs of their products. The first one came last year when French luggage company Louis Vuitton sued Warner Bros by alleging that the airport scene where Zach Galifianakis’ character Alan tells Stu’s future brother-in-law Teddy to be careful with his “Lewis Vuitton” bag. Louis Vuitton says that the scene harmed its brand by infringing its marks and creating consumer confusion. The case was eventually dismissed by a judge this year.

Now, Marvel and Disney’s Buena Vista Home Entertainment is being sued by German luggage manufacturer Rimowa by claiming that the box set is trademark infringing, trademark diluting, and creating unfair competition on its Topas attaché briefcase. For the movie, Rimowa gave Marvel/Disney a genuine briefcase for them to use as the case for the Tesseract. Rimowa is stating that “Marvel did not obtain any license or authorization from Rimowa to make replica copies of the cases for any purpose,” which in this case is the briefcase replica found in the Avengers collector’s box set.

According to the lawsuit, “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 — 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.”

I don’t know whose side I lie with this. On one side, you can call this a greedy move on Rimowa’s part. On the other hand, the company must protect its products from replicas. My question is why hasn’t anyone over at Disney checked if they had the license to do such a replica before they actually announced its release of the Avengers box set? Disney is a multi-billion dollar company, who I’m sure has many lawyers at the ready to look this up. If Rimowa does win the lawsuit, what does that mean for Marvel/Disney if they cannot get a license to sell the box sets? Will there be a recall and redesign of the product? If that’s the case, then at least there is a design out there that will work just fine for us Marvel fans. I’m looking at you Helicarrier concept!

Source: The Hollywood Reporter

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