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Stan Lee Media loses appeal, sees hope for lawsuit against namesake

Stan Lee

Stan Lee Media, which just last month lost its bid to reclaim the rights to Conan the Barbarian, has been dealt another setback as an appeals court upheld a lower court’s decision preventing the failed dot-com from intervening in Stan Lee’s decade-old lawsuit against Marvel as part of an effort to gain control of the writer’s most famous co-creations.

However, Hollywood, Esq. reports the company hopes today’s ruling by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals will pave the way for pending action in California against its namesake and co-founder, whom it claims improperly transferred rights to such characters as Spider-Man, the X-Men, Iron Man, the Avengers and Thor from Stan Lee Media to Marvel. A judge had stayed the lawsuit last year pending the 2nd Circuit decision.

Lee sued Marvel back in 2002, claiming the company breached a conditional assignment of his copyright in Spider-Man when it failed to pay him 10 percent of profits from Columbia Pictures’ Spider-Man movie. He received a partial summary judgment before entering into a confidential agreement with Marvel. Stan Lee Media attempted to intervene in the dispute as the real party of interest, but was rejected by the judge because the company had gone into bankruptcy the previous year, and none of the shareholders could demonstrate they had legal standing or the authority to represent SLM.

The winding, complicated fight between Stan Lee Media, Stan Lee and, sometimes, Marvel dates back to the comics giant’s own bankruptcy: In 1998, Marvel CEO Isaac Perlmutter used bankruptcy procedures to end Marvel’s $1 million-a-year lifetime contract with Lee, negating Lee’s assignment to the company of his rights to his co-creations. It also freed Lee to form Stan Lee Entertainment (which later merged with Stan Lee Media) with now-infamous entrepreneur Peter F. Paul. The company filed for bankruptcy in February 2001. Stan Lee Media’s claims hinge on a sequence of events that took place between August 1998, when Marvel terminated Lee’s employment, and November 1998, when Lee entered into a new agreement with the company and signed over his likeness, as well as any claims to characters. But representatives of SLM claim that on Oct. 15, 1998, Lee transferred to that company the rights to his creations and his likeness.

Stand Lee Media has struggled since emerging from bankruptcy in November 2006 to regain some of the money and glory from the heyday of the Internet bubble, primarily through lawsuits claiming the improper transfer of intellectual properties. Two SLM shareholders sued Stan Lee, Marvel and others in 2009 for more than $750 million — about half the estimated proceeds from Marvel’s movies — but they were later determined to lack standing. An appeal was dismissed in late 2010, followed in February 2011 by a ruling that the plaintiffs’ motions were time-barred, as they come a decade after the alleged injury. But that same month, a California judge cleared the way for Stan Lee Media’s new board to filed a consolidated complaint, but only against Lee, POW! Entertainment and QED Productions.

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7 Comments

sandwich eater

March 21, 2012 at 3:21 pm

The fact that Stan Lee is being sued by a company that bears his name is pretty weird.

John Fogerty had to sue himself, essentially, in order to reclaim the rights to some of his songs.

Can’t help but think that Stan Lee is experiencing a bit of the old, “what goes around, comes around.”

Has Stan Lee Media actually ever won any case?
And if not, then how do they continue to have the ability to seemingly start a new lawsuit every year?

“Stan Lee Media loses appeal”

Ain’t that the truth.

So, SLM are just a bunch of scumbags that want the perpetual income of someone else’s IP. Have they ever created anything? Probably they’re just a bunch of business school frat guys that are utterly worthless and should concentrate on creating ponzi schemes. Seems like that would be in their wheelhouse, and they might actually be successful at that.

Ha, you should probably look at the facts and legal issues before advertizing to the world your lack of knowledge and understanding. In fact, Stan contracted with SLMI (before ever going mack to Marvel) his IP from the past, the present and anything he may create in the future to SLMI. The IP IS the property of SLMI period.

Your slanderous comments only further show that you are probably an uneducated-minimum wage-idiot.

Respectfully…CH

For the rest of you folks, the District court in Southern California found that Stan Lee and others illegally transferred the assets of SLMI while SLMI was in bankruptcy in Colorado.

If you are interested, look at the facts, the legal pleadings and court rulings, then comment. Scribd.com is a good place to start to give you the information to clarify this series of cases for you.

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