Stan Lee Media Case Against Disney Dismissed By Judge
All of the Hollywood-related sites surely have something up by now on the case by Stan Lee Media against Disney being dismissed yesterday. US District Judge William J. Martinez sent out an 11-page order yesterday that not only included a clear win for Disney in terms of Marvel characters created by Stan Lee, but had language that sought to dissuade the former Internet media company hopeful from using the courts to file another case in this manner.
My understanding of the basic mechanism behind the SLM claim as repeated in various courtrooms over the years is as follows. 1) Stan Lee becomes partnered up with Stan Lee Media in 1998 to work on digital content and the like. 2) As part of his initial agreement with the company, he assigns rights to all of his creations to the company in exchange for company stock. 3) Stan Lee eventually settles with Marvel in a dispute over his claim to certain character rights and related issues. 4) That settlement includes language that SLM says acknowledges Stan Lee's interest in certain Marvel characters in order that Marvel can settle with him on matters related to those characters. 5) But Stan Lee blanket-assigned rights to SLM! 6) SLM now owns a piece of Pepper Potts.
I think that's basically it, minus snarky language. At least that's how it was explained to me on the phone a couple of times by pro-SLM people. It always sounded to me something that would make a lot of sense sitting in a college dorm hallway at 2 AM, but maybe not so much in the courts. And It hasn't done well in the courts. As long as there's money to hire lawyers I suspect this won't be the end of it, as I'm not sure SLM has another hand to play here.