Attaché Company Attacks Marvel, Alleging Avengers Infringement

Image: Marvel/Disney

German luxury travel-case maker Rimowa claims in a federal lawsuit that the packaging for the forthcoming Blu-ray box set of the Marvel Entertainment hit movie Avengers is an unauthorized knock-off of its Topas attaché case.

The “Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One — Avengers Assembled Box Set” comes in a briefcase that looks like the one used by Samuel L. Jackson’s character, Nick Fury, in the movie. The German luxury concern said it supplied Marvel with a genuine attaché for the blockbuster movie, but did not grant permission to make plastic replicas.

Rimowa claims the plastic briefcases are cheap knockoffs, and amount to trademark infringement, trademark dilution and unfair competition in a Los Angeles federal court suit. (.pdf)

According to Marvel’s marketing materials, the Blu-Ray version of the movie, bonus discs, prop productions and artifacts from the video are packaged in a plastic “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,” the company said in its lawsuit.

The attaché, according to the suit, “was the repository for Nick Fury’s dossiers on the various superheroes who ultimately constituted the Avengers team.”

Amazon is selling the box set for $140. They are to be released September 25. The suit also names distributor Buena Vista Home Entertainment.

Amazon doesn’t carry the Topas attaché case, but you can buy it online for $750, and it looks big enough to hold the Avengers boxset inside it, if that’s the kind of meta thing you are into.

Marvel did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.