Robot 6

Stan Lee Media loses appeal in fight for Conan the Barbarian

conan21The litigious Stan Lee Media is no match for Conan the Barbarian or the U.S. court system.

Deadline reports that more than two years after the failed dot-com sued Paradox Entertainment in a bid to reclaim the rights to Robert E. Howard’s most famous character, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has effectively delivered the deathblow to SLM’s case, upholding a lower court’s 2012 dismissal. Of course, we’ve learned by now that the company isn’t one to give up a legal fight.

Stan Lee Media, which hasn’t had a connection to its co-founder and namesake in more than a decade — in fact, it has sued Stan Lee on a few occasions — purchased the rights to the Conan characters in 2000, shortly before it entered federal bankruptcy protection. The company claimed its interests weren’t properly represented, nor were shareholders notified, when in 2002 Conan Sales Co. bought back the rights. The complaint also alleged that the late Arthur Lieberman, Stan Lee’s longtime attorney, committed fraud during the proceedings, and failed to report conflicts of interest. Therefore, SLM argued, the subsequent sale of the characters to Paradox Entertainment should be annulled.

However, in 2012, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed the lawsuit, finding that shareholder notice wasn’t required during the bankruptcy process — and even it was, SLM couldn’t demonstrate standing or harm. Wilson also noted that the company did, in fact, have representation during the proceedings, and that it had failed to show that Lieberman had acted improperly.

Stan Lee Media was handed another major loss just last month, when a federal judge dismissed its multibillion-dollar copyright-infringement lawsuit against Disney, part of its lengthy legal battle to claim ownership of the Marvel characters co-created by Lee.

News From Our Partners

Comments

12 Comments

When will these clowns finally give up and go away?!?

Is there no way for Stan Lee to countersue them on the grounds that they continue to use his name though he no longer has any ties to the company? Surely with the litigious nature of the company an argumant could be made for defamation for Stan the Man?

I wonder do they pay Stan a monthly check or something to maintain his name ? I bet that’s their only claim to fame.

Can someone tell me what this company actually does, aside from suing anyone even remotely associated with its namesake or past dealings? I’m not being snarky at all. I honestly have no idea what this company produces. Aside from failed lawsuits. And well-paid lawyers.

Eric, I don’t think there is an actual “company” in the way we usually think of one, with offices and employees (beyond the requirements for a corporate entity to exist). All of these actions taken since Stan Lee Media emerged from bankruptcy in 2006 are by by shareholders who think they were wronged by Stan Lee, by Marvel, by Disney, by the sale of the Conan rights, et al. The lawsuit against Disney was funded by a group of investors, including one of the country’s biggest hedge funds; presumably the Conan action has similar (if not the same) support.

I’m also not sure what properties SLM actually owns, barring a surprise Supreme Court decision reversing all of these previous rulings. At one point, there was a Stan Lee creation “The 7th Portal,” but I’m not sure what happened to that in the bankruptcy.

I’m also curious about the name, since I was under the impression that Stan Lee had it copyrighted years ago. I simply don’t understand how they can use his name yet sue him at the same time. What a world.

These entities that exist almost solely to pursue litigation actually have investment groups to fund them now…yes, there are investment groups out there whose sole purpose is to fund the pursuit of litigation, betting on the same settlement or other positive outcome the plaintiff’s do.

Am I wrong in thinking the “company” bought the rights to Stan Lee’s name, but they thought they were buying the rights to any intellectual property Stan passed near.

the company went into bankruptcy after the fraud of the CEO and CFO. during the chapter 11 proceedings Stan Lee appropriated ALL intellectual property of the company Stan Lee Media and assigned it to a new company POW! entertainment. the bankruptcy court tried to intervene but lee and his lawyer had a sneaky clause in the contract he had to create the characters (The 7th Portal, The Drifter, and The Accuser) giving lee a pretty much unchallengeable ability to transfer the properties he created for stan lee media i.e. everything of value to himself.

There has to be a reason these guys exist. It seems sketchy all around.

I hope Stan Lee Media eventually runs out of money with all its lawsuits. Lee himself I hope makes it to 100, but his namesake is a blight to society.

Isn’t this the guy that got busted for putting together a party for the Clintons?

Leave a Comment

 



Browse the Robot 6 Archives