In two separate suits, both Marvel and NBCU/Syfy are being sued for alleged trademark and copyright infringements.
Marvel (along with Disney corporate sibling Buena Vista Home Entertainment) is being sued by the German luggage manufacturer who made a special luxury briefcase used in the movie. Not because if its use in the movie, however – they had permission – but because Marvel/BVHE planned to distribute a special box set of Avengers movies in a replica attache case, and they haven’t received permission for that – yet.
In the other case, Preston Asevedo, a Louisiana artist, filed suit against NBC Universal/Syfy and the creators of the show Dream Machines over the use of a piece of art that can be seen on the outside sign of the Parker Brothers’ shop in each episode of the recently aired first season of the show, where the brothers and their team build custom futuristic vehicles for celebrities and charities. Check out the images below of the original work and the one seen in the show:
It isn’t just similar – it looks like someone took the original, inverted it and dressed it up. It also appears that Asevedo had contacted the Parkers, who acknowledged that they used a variation of the art for their own logo but were unable to determine who the original artist was, and wanted to work with Asevedo to give him credit and remuneration. But apparently they weren’t able to reach and agreement, and Asevedo filed suit.
Lesson learned – unless the art is provably in the public domain, make sure you get permission or don’t use it…