Artists Ben and Ray Lai have filed a lawsuit against Marvel, alleging that the body armor design from the Iron Man films is taken from designs for their own comic book Radix.
The Lai brothers have their own company, Horizon Comics Productions, but back in 2002, they were hired by Marvel as artists, and allegedly, their work on Radix was distributed to key personnel at Marvel. In the lawsuit, they claim that the body armor currently worn by the character of Iron Man in the Marvel film and promotional material is taken from their original designs.
This is not the first time that Ben and Ray Lai have accused a company or organization of taking this particular design. Before working for Marvel, they had a similar problem with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology:
[T]he Lai brothers say that after Radix came out, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology used an illustration that was substantially similar to their own work. The image was allegedly used by MIT in the midst of a $50 million nanotechnology research grant from the United States Army to create a new generation of body armor for soldiers.
Supposedly, MIT apologized publicly for using the image in 2002, and a month after this occurred, Marvel hired the Lai brothers as artists to work on various comic book franchises.
Here are the two pictures side by side as they appear in the official complaint as Exhibit B:
The Lai brothers are suing on the grounds of copyright infringement and unfair business practices. Marvel has not yet officially commented on the lawsuit.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter