Steelbooks have been hugely popular with collectors in the last few years. Often offering attractive, artistic alternatives to the floating head Photoshops of standard cover art, they’re also shiny and metal, and often sell out quickly, with empty Steelbook boxes often selling for more than the movies themselves on eBay. After the success of Steelbook, other case manufacturers decided to get into the shiny metal case game, most notably Viva, who has scored contracts with Disney for recent discs like Finding Nemo and Avengers, which were exclusively available at Best Buy in the US.
Today, though, a judge ruled that Viva’s products are too close to Steelbook’s patents, and has ordered them to cease production and distribution of their metal cases in the United States:
The Court permanently RESTRAINS AND ENJOINS Defendants Viva Magnetics Ltd. (Hong Kong), Viva USA, Inc., Viva Media Packaging (Canada) Ltd., Viva Metal Packaging Ltd. and Viva Media Packaging Ltd. (collectively, “Viva defendants”), their duly authorized agents, servants, employees, and all others in active concert or participation with the Viva defendants from (a) infringing the following United States patents of plaintiff Glud & Marstrand A/S (“G&M”): 7,051,872; 7,232,032; 7,350,642; and D562,049, and (b) making, using, offering to sell, selling and/or importing (i) the Viva Metal Box for Blu-Ray and DVD products accused of infringement in this action, and/or (ii) the Digital Versatile Disk (DVD) case accused of infringement in the 2005 action between G&M and some of the Viva defendant
This only applies to the United States, at least until Canadian courts catch up, so any future Viva MetalPaks that were scheduled for Best Buy will end up at FutureShop, making them still accessible to US citizens who are willing to import. Personally I’d like to see Viva either reach a licensing deal, or simply sell the existing contracts to Steelbook. Anything to save us from the focus-grouped floating noggins that pass for movie posters and Blu-ray cases these days.