Stan Lee Media Suing Disney for Marvel Character Ownership
by Newsarama Staff
Date: 09 October 2012 Time: 10:36 PM ET
Stan Lee's former company is claiming ownership of the comic legend's Marvel creations and seeking billions in damages from Disney, reports Deadline.The suit, filed Tuesday in Colorado court, claims that Lee (not himself a defendent in this suit) signed the rights to characters he created at Marvel to Stan Lee Entertainment, Inc. — a predecessor to the plantiff in the current suit, Stan Lee Media — in October 1998, in exchange for shares in the company. Further in the complaint, Lee is said to have "signed a written agreement with Marvel" a month later in November 1998, "in which he purportedly assigned to Marvel the rights to the Characters" — an agreement Stan Lee Media is alleging to be fraudulent based on the prior deal. As Lee's Marvel creations are the subject of successful movies including the $1.5 billion grossing Avengers, Stan Lee Media is seeking "all gains profits and advantages derived by Defendant" within the statute of limitations.
This is the latest development in the complicated legal history of Stan Lee Media, which was formed in 1998 to develop new properties in various forms of media, before going bankrupt following the dot-com bust. In the past five years, Stan Lee Media has been involved in multiple lawsuits — many of which are based on the allegation that they are the rightful owners of Stan Lee's many creations — including waging legal battle with Lee himself and a very similar suit seeking billions from Marvel in 2007 (two years before the company was purchased by Disney). In July of this year, a U.S. federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by Stan Lee Media against Stan Lee. Look for more on this story as it develops. Got a comment? There's lots of conversation on Newsarama's FACEBOOK and TWITTER!