Germans Demand Profits From Nick Fury's Briefcase

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Germans Demand Profits From Nick Fury's Briefcase

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An exclusive replica of Nick Fury's iconic briefcase used in the Avengers box set may cost Marvel a bundle.

If you went to see The Avengers, one image is undoubtedly seared into your brain: Nick Fury's snazzy attaché case. That thing just stole every scene it was in, and it became so iconic that Marvel decided to use replicas as packaging for their limited edition boxed set collection. This is proving problematic, as the German designers - Rimowa, makers of the Topas briefcase - are asking for statutory, compensatory and punitive damages as part of their trademark infringement suit against Marvel.

"Images of the replica briefcase on Marvel's advertising materials," says Rimowa's complaint, "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." Rimowa was fine with the case appearing in the movie - in fact, they supplied it - but nobody told them Marvel was going to use a knock-off of their case design as schlock packaging for a movie boxed set.

Rimowa is miffed, and seeks vengeance. Specifically, it wants a prohibition against further infringements, all profits from the alleged unlawful conduct, and an award of three times its actual proven damages. Its demands may just be pre-trial chest-thumping; when this issue has come up before - as with The Hangover 2 and its alleged Louis Vuitton handbag, which provoked a suit against Warner Brothers - the courts have been less than sympathetic to designers claiming trademark infringement. No doubt Rimowa is fully aware of this, and would like a settlement if they can get it.

However there is a significant difference between the situation in The Hangover 2 and The Avengers. In The Hangover 2 the handbag in the movie was fake and everyone, including Vuitton, accepted that it was a fake. In The Avengers the Topas was the real deal, and Marvel would have known that when it put its boxed set together. "Marvel did not obtain any license or authorization from Rimowa to make replica copies of the cases for any purpose," Rimowa helpfully points out.

Here's hoping Marvel's lawyers have a convincing counter, or at least a handy shield to hide behind.

Source: Guardian, Hollywood Reporter

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The case is so indistinguishable from other cases! That is blatant theft! Oh the humanity!

I sort of understand why he is so pissed off since there's a lot of money in this.
But at the same time the case is so cool I don't understand why he is so grumpy :P
Marvel should still know some about this sort of thing and should maybe have talked to the guy first? I doubt this is the first time cases like this have happened.

So it's the case of the fake case. It seems as though there's been a new lawsuit story every week, the legal world is a scary place.

Rimowa: I have a trademark

Marvel: We have a Hulk.

The breifcase in the film was based on a real brand?

Rimowa do know that Marvel had just make a breifcase shape dvd boxset right? Ok yes it's still ripping them off by image but I highly doubt anyone will use it as a literal briftcase if it can be used as one at all.

It sounds like a legitimate grievance to me.

The company is probably exaggerating claims so as to get a better settlement, but overall I'd say they're in the right here.

A media conglomerate being sued for copyright infringement? Oh irony.

DVS BSTrD:
Rimowa: I have a trademark

Marvel: We have a Hulk.

I would love if that was Marvel's response to the whole thing.

They probably have a case (pun unintended) when it comes down to it, it seems. Even if I doubt anybody will actually use the thing as a briefcase.

"or at least a handy shield to hide behind"... I see what you did there. S.H.I.E.L.D. and Captain America approve.

Is it wrong that I want this to go well for Marvel so I can get a sweet case for my DVDs. I'm weak, the case just looks so nice!

Damages? People now wanting a briefcase like the one they saw in the movie will be buying them from Rimowa if they are, indeed, close. This comes off like Chevrolet wanting to sue Transformers over Bumblebee being a Camaro... Actually, Chevrolet might have a case there.

Guffe:
I sort of understand why he is so pissed off since there's a lot of money in this.
But at the same time the case is so cool I don't understand why he is so grumpy :P

Imagine if you made something THAT cool and got no money for it.

I think Rimowa have a valid case. This is not some generic briefcase, but rather a rather distinctive design. Marvel didn't obtain permission to use it's likeness for the boxed set, so Rimowa have every right to seek damages.

Also,

DVS BSTrD:
Rimowa: I have a trademark

Marvel: We have a Hulk.

Marvel: "We have She-Hulk."

Would be more appropriate, IMHO.

Honestly, judging by the information given in the article, it does seem like Marvel is in the wrong. They had the rights to use the case in the movie. That doesn't give them the right to produce duplicates (even if they aren't actually functional briefcases) without further permission. Mass producing a lower-quality version of their product is something that should upset the company producing the case.

That said, three times the proven damages and everything else they're demanding seems to be a bit overkill. But I doubt they'll get that much even if they do win. I suppose we'll just have to see.

That said it's still a nifty Collector's Edition and I still want it.

Ukomba:
Damages? People now wanting a briefcase like the one they saw in the movie will be buying them from Rimowa if they are, indeed, close. This comes off like Chevrolet wanting to sue Transformers over Bumblebee being a Camaro... Actually, Chevrolet might have a case there.

except who do you think knew about that? everyone knows Chevrolet but how many people knew about the company before this lawsuit came up? NOW they will probably get some business out of it.

let's see how this turns out but my guess is we will hear from this for a while and at some point Marvel will settle.

teebeeohh:

Ukomba:
Damages? People now wanting a briefcase like the one they saw in the movie will be buying them from Rimowa if they are, indeed, close. This comes off like Chevrolet wanting to sue Transformers over Bumblebee being a Camaro... Actually, Chevrolet might have a case there.

except who do you think knew about that? everyone knows Chevrolet but how many people knew about the company before this lawsuit came up? NOW they will probably get some business out of it.

let's see how this turns out but my guess is we will hear from this for a while and at some point Marvel will settle.

Right, but people who knew about Rimowa already might be more likely to buy it thanks to the movie. Ya, it's not great advertising, but I don't see how it hurts them either. Were they planning on releasing a line of dvd cases?

Ukomba:
Damages? People now wanting a briefcase like the one they saw in the movie will be buying them from Rimowa if they are, indeed, close. This comes off like Chevrolet wanting to sue Transformers over Bumblebee being a Camaro... Actually, Chevrolet might have a case there.

Didn't Chevrolet WANT Bumblebee as one of their car models? (I remember reading somewhere that the contract also stated that a Ford model had to be a Deceptacon as well but I'm not sure.)

This case is much more clear cut, Rimowa agreed to have its case and supplied genuine models for the movie but didn't agree for Marvel to produce life-size replicas of it. Marvel are now creating full size replicas, Rimowa doesn't like it.

Really? Well, let's see here...

A German company VS a major comic book company, Hollywood, and Samuel L. Jackson.

Face it, Germany. It's a lost cause. The effects of post-modernism will create the truth to be that this is a briefcase with "Bad Motherfucker" written on it.

Ukomba:

teebeeohh:

Ukomba:
Damages? People now wanting a briefcase like the one they saw in the movie will be buying them from Rimowa if they are, indeed, close. This comes off like Chevrolet wanting to sue Transformers over Bumblebee being a Camaro... Actually, Chevrolet might have a case there.

except who do you think knew about that? everyone knows Chevrolet but how many people knew about the company before this lawsuit came up? NOW they will probably get some business out of it.

let's see how this turns out but my guess is we will hear from this for a while and at some point Marvel will settle.

Right, but people who knew about Rimowa already might be more likely to buy it thanks to the movie. Ya, it's not great advertising, but I don't see how it hurts them either. Were they planning on releasing a line of dvd cases?

probably not but marvel should have known they got the design of the case from somewhere and considered that. maybe just a case of one hand not knowing what the other does.
and i just noticed that your transformers comparison doesn't really work since they don't object to their product being in the movie but over marvel using their design for something else. and i don't think there are dvd special editions or toys of bumblebee that look like Camaros without some sort of license.

and regarding hurting them the original case is rather expensive (let me check... 430€) while the movie collection is less than one fourth of the price meaning the case probably isn't too sturdy. now all we need is one idiot getting his hands one of the cheap cases, it breaks and he looses his priceless collection of ancient coins, he writes one angry review and after word to mouth EVERYTHING IS RUINED.
not very likely too happen but when have lawsuits been about things that are likely to happen?

I think this case will largely come down to what agreements the two companies made during production and if whether the briefcase logo was displayed during the film.

That said, it honestly looks like any other stainless steel case. Not sure why they bothered getting some designer one when props probably had dozens of similar models sitting around.

teebeeohh:

Ukomba:

teebeeohh:

except who do you think knew about that? everyone knows Chevrolet but how many people knew about the company before this lawsuit came up? NOW they will probably get some business out of it.

let's see how this turns out but my guess is we will hear from this for a while and at some point Marvel will settle.

Right, but people who knew about Rimowa already might be more likely to buy it thanks to the movie. Ya, it's not great advertising, but I don't see how it hurts them either. Were they planning on releasing a line of dvd cases?

probably not but marvel should have known they got the design of the case from somewhere and considered that. maybe just a case of one hand not knowing what the other does.
and i just noticed that your transformers comparison doesn't really work since they don't object to their product being in the movie but over marvel using their design for something else. and i don't think there are dvd special editions or toys of bumblebee that look like Camaros without some sort of license.

and regarding hurting them the original case is rather expensive (let me check... 430€) while the movie collection is less than one fourth of the price meaning the case probably isn't too sturdy. now all we need is one idiot getting his hands one of the cheap cases, it breaks and he looses his priceless collection of ancient coins, he writes one angry review and after word to mouth EVERYTHING IS RUINED.
not very likely too happen but when have lawsuits been about things that are likely to happen?

The transformers comparison was a joke. Though, for the life of me, I don't know why a car company would want to have their car taking a leak on camera.

Totally legit case... see what I did there?

But yeah, put it this way... what do you think would happen if Rimowa released a Mickey Mouse case?

Disney would be all over them.

To dismiss this by saying "oh it looks like every other metal briefcase" is nonsense, for every one you show me that is similar I can show you one that is totally different.

You see the point here is the design of this case is a persons work, commission's and paid for by Rimowa.

...and to be frank this does not look like "every other metal briefcase"... because obviously Rimowa is a company that protects it's IP.

Shit. I kinda hoped Marvel would bring that boxset over to us in the U.K. and show a little love. Not gonna happen now, eh?

But Marvel really should've seen this coming and made sure their agreement with Rimowa extended to using the image for promotional purposes and for merchandise. I know why they didn't, it's because they never expected to use the case for that purpose because they were unaware of how popular it'd be. But by the same token, there was plenty of opportunity to ask Rimowa before this got out of hand.

It looks like the German company just wants to get themselves a piece of the Avengers pie.

What, all of Germany wants a cut of the profit?

Ah wait, it's just a German company, which, because it's not important enough to be American, can just be othered into "Germans".

Raise your game, Escapist, you're better than this.

Slycne:
I think this case will largely come down to what agreements the two companies made during production and if whether the briefcase logo was displayed during the film.

That said, it honestly looks like any other stainless steel case. Not sure why they bothered getting some designer one when props probably had dozens of similar models sitting around.

The case companies business depends on exclusivity. You are not going to pay a high price for a stainless steel case when there are cheap plastic versions of it selling a comic book movie. If you are walking into a Frankfurt bank HQ, Avengers fandom isn't not the image that most sober suited German businessmen want to project.

I'm not sure how it is that I keep on ending up in threads about copyright or trademark infringement, but my Blade Runner DVD set from several years back came in a briefcase relatively similar to this one. No Cosmic Cube window, of course, but still the finest packaging I've ever gotten in a collector's edition set.

But I digress. I was just thinking that maybe Marvel should've looked at their licensing agreement with Rimowa before contracting somebody to make knockoffs of Rimowa's design, which is trademarkable, and which in this case was probably violated.

Quick, show of hands- how many people thought that the briefcase "stole every scene it was in, and became so iconic [to The Avengers]"? Because other than this Karloff fellow and possibly the guy who designed the packaging for the DVD collection, I don't know anyone who thinks that. I saw the movie twice, and although I remember Nick Fury had a briefcase, I could not tell you what it looked like.

DangNabbit:
What, all of Germany wants a cut of the profit?

Ah wait, it's just a German company, which, because it's not important enough to be American, can just be othered into "Germans".

Raise your game, Escapist, you're better than this.

I may be nitpicking, here, but so are you. It's a headline, which is the one place in an article where hyperbolic statements are somewhat acceptable. For example, if a newspaper said, "WORLD AT WAR," following, say, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or perhaps sometime after, this would be generally acceptable, despite the fact that a number of countries weren't involved due to geography, and Switzerland just sat that one out.

It's also a bit more terse than, "Kindly briefcase designers from a large European nation (the identity of which doesn't matter, as that would be lumping them into a demographic group, which we tend to do, as they are not Americans) seek recompense from the Disney Corporation for their usage of said briefcase makers' design without permission to do so." That would totally be a better headline.

Thomas Mccluskey:

DangNabbit:
What, all of Germany wants a cut of the profit?

Ah wait, it's just a German company, which, because it's not important enough to be American, can just be othered into "Germans".

Raise your game, Escapist, you're better than this.

I may be nitpicking, here, but so are you. It's a headline, which is the one place in an article where hyperbolic statements are somewhat acceptable. For example, if a newspaper said, "WORLD AT WAR," following, say, the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand or perhaps sometime after, this would be generally acceptable, despite the fact that a number of countries weren't involved due to geography, and Switzerland just sat that one out.

It's also a bit more terse than, "Kindly briefcase designers from a large European nation (the identity of which doesn't matter, as that would be lumping them into a demographic group, which we tend to do, as they are not Americans) seek recompense from the Disney Corporation for their usage of said briefcase makers' design without permission to do so." That would totally be a better headline.

Hang on, let me try.
"RIMOWA DEMANDS PROFITS FROM NICK FURYS BRIEFCASE"
There.

Podunk:
Quick, show of hands- how many people thought that the briefcase "stole every scene it was in, and became so iconic [to The Avengers]"? Because other than this Karloff fellow and possibly the guy who designed the packaging for the DVD collection, I don't know anyone who thinks that. I saw the movie twice, and although I remember Nick Fury had a briefcase, I could not tell you what it looked like.

Couldn't have said it better myself. Except I'll be completely honest I had NO freaking idea Nick Fury had a briefcase AT ALL.

Seriously. If it was there I ignored it simply because guys in suits in those movies ALWAYS carry some kind of case. Disney could edit the case out of the whole movie and I guarantee it'd not be any different.

And so, Earth's greatest heroes found themselves battling a foe they had never imagined facing...copyright infringement. It would prove to be a most fearsome foe indeed....

YOU FELL FOR THE OL' FAKE JOKER GAG, BATS!

I saw the movie. I barely remember the briefcase. Not sure what all the hubbub is about.

Since Marvel is now backed by Disney and their troop of lawyers able to bend copyright and trademark laws to their whim I can see this becoming a serious non-issue.

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