Tom Spurgeon's Web site of comics news, reviews, interviews and commentary

October 10, 2012

Missed It: Stan Lee Media Sues Disney For Marvel Characters

This is one of those things that is going to pop up until that semi-scary, namesake-no-longer-involved skeleton of a company aka Stan Lee Media finds a final resting place: they're suing Marvel for the characters that Stan Lee co-created while at the company in the 1960s, the characters that are the basis of the multiple-billion dollar presence Marvel has within the wider Disney umbrella. You can read the story here; the actual complaint here.

Basically, this is another stab by that company to find some sort of legal traction for one of the all-time "sounds great on the Internet" arguments. The basic argumentative ju-jitsu is that 1) Stan Lee assigned rights to all the characters he owned to SLM in his initial deal coming on board with the Internet 1.0 company, and that 2) when Marvel finally settled their completely different set of legal battles with Lee they basically paid him in a way that recognized that Stan at one point had a chunk of those popular characters. So SLM folks have long asserted that basically Stan Lee "sold" or "assigned" rights to Marvel in exchange for cash that basically weren't his to sell or assign. Marvel has long maintained -- and they haven't lost so far -- that there was nothing resembling an assignation in their deal with Stan Lee. I don't see anything new here except maybe a move to a different jurisdiction, maybe, or that they're going after the characters themselves rather than the money Stan Lee was paid for them, perhaps. It's hard to recall in the blizzard of slapped-down legal attempts that is that company's history.
posted 1:00 pm PST | Permalink

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