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Stan Lee Media asks high court to revive suit against Stan Lee

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After losing one lawsuit after another in its eight-year battle for many of Marvel’s most famous characters, Stan Lee Media is looking to the U.S. Supreme Court for a reversal of fortune.

In a filing made public Friday, and first reported by Law360, the failed dot-com asked the justices to revive its lawsuit against co-founder and namesake Stan Lee, arguing the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals erred in its October dismissal.

The court called Stan Lee Media’s claims to ownership of Spider-Man and other characters “simply implausible,” pointing out that between 1998 — when Lee purportedly transferred rights to the dot-com — and 2007 — when it began litigation — the company never publicized or attempted to license these lucrative properties. However, in its petition filed Feb. 12, Stan Lee Media insists the Ninth Circuit wrongly limited the pleading standings established in 2007 by Bell Atlantic Corp. v. Twombly, and focused on facts outside the actual complaint.

A response from Lee’s attorney to Stan Lee Media’s brief is due March 26.

Stan Lee Media has long insisted that between August 1998, when Marvel terminated Lee’s $1 million-a-year lifetime contract, and November 1998, when he entered into a new agreement with the House of Ideas, the legendary creator signed over his likeness and the rights to all of the characters he co-created — Spider-Man, the Avengers and the X-Men, among them — to Stan Lee Entertainment, which later merged with Stan Lee Media. That company in turned filed for bankruptcy in February 2001; it emerged from protection in November 2006, and within months, the first of numerous lawsuits (against Marvel, Lee, Disney and others) was filed.

None of Stan Lee Media’s actions, pursued in multiple jurisdictions, has been successful. In December, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of a billion-dollar copyright-infringement lawsuit against Disney, and determined the issue of ownership has already been settled by other courts, and may not be relitigated.

The Supreme Court accepts only 100 to 150 out of the more than 7,000 cases it’s asked to review each year.

Comments

13 Comments

do these people have lives?

God! Give up already!
Stan Lee didn’t own any of the Marvel characters when he signed
the unfortunate contract, how could he sign any rights over.

They are human parasites that will never give up since they have nothing to lose and possibly something to gain. They know they have no real case, but knowing Disney and Marvel have deep pockets, they will continue to be a nuisance, hoping they will just pay them to go away. That’s a game lawyers play. If there is even one slim chance some clueless judge may sympotize with their bogus allegations, a defendant might settle out of court to avoid the headache of a possible trial.

Vultures. These people are filing nuisance lawsuits. They should be shut down.

like the song says, let it go!

hope the justices turn them down if not then tell these people once and for all that they have no rights to the characters for stan lee himself does not own them they were work for hire disney owns them and stan lee media will finaly end this waste of legal resources.

You can take these sponsored ads by Taboola and shove em.

Why the heck are you cluttering this page with crap like that?

Andy E. Nystrom

March 2, 2015 at 4:37 pm

Marvel should send the Scourge of the Underworld after them. PUM-SPAK “Justice is served!”

I seriously doubt the court will hear the case; and that will be that. By refusing to hear the case, the previous jugements will stand and these chuckledheads will be out even more money. The sad thing is that this venture did more to trash unwittingly trash Stan’s name than anything Marvel ever did, even at its worse.

Stan Lee should file a suit against Stan Lee Media for dragging his name through the mud with so many frivolous lawsuits. Make them stop using his name.

Aren’t these bozos ever going to give up? You won’t get a penny from Stan or Marvel, guys – it’s over, and that was even BEFORE they’ve got Disney lawyers.

Nobody who has posted comments has any intimate knowledge of the facts of this case. This is not a nuisance lawsuit. Did you ever wonder why Stan Lee has not sued Stan Lee Media if this was such a frivolous lawsuit? The reason is that if Stan Lee were to attempt to sue Stan Lee Media all of the dirt would come out in the wash. Stan Lee knows what he did and knows where the bodies are buried. He knows that when Marvel let him go and terminated him (way back when Marvel was all but dead and no movies were in the works) he took all of his intellectual property rights with him. That included his name, his likeness, all items in his creative universe, and all items of intellectual property he was to create. The assignment of rights was without limitation and was a general assignment. Stan Lee was paid for that assignment. Stan Lee then turned around after he assigned all of these rights to Stan Lee Media and made a deal (without telling Stan Lee Media) with Marvel.

If you read the assignment that Stan Lee signed, he gave everything in the creative universe to Stan Lee Media. He did not reserve anything. SLM started operating and was doing well for a short period of time. Then SLM started borrowing money and spiraled into bankruptcy. When Stan Lee saw what was happening he filed for bankruptcy protection, and proceeded to move all of the assets of SLM and personnel of SLM over to POW Entertainment. Take a look at the names of the officers of SLM when it went into bankruptcy and compare them to the names of the officers of POW Entertainment when it started; virtually identical. Stan Lee knew what he was doing. All he cared about what keeping assets and keeping money and he left SLM to die.

Marvel made a big mistake when they fired Stan Lee, allowing Stan Lee to assign his intellectual property to SLM. It has been a cover up since then. Anybody who doesn’t understand that or hasn’t actually read the source documents should not jump to conclusions about the legitimacy of the claims made by SLM.

The Supreme Court today threw out SLM’s appeal; Lee (and POW! Entertainment, named at the top of SLM’s appeal) waived any right to respond, so the Supremes threw it out on SLM’s own arguments alone. That pretty much proves “Truth” is a liar; the fact is Lee gave up *all* rights to his Marvel characters, other than a paycheck (I understand he still gets $1M a year for life from Marvel), decades before SLM even existed. Lee doesn’t need to sue SLM because SLM has lost this same absurd claim SO many times in numerous courts (as the article correctly points out) that its lawyers need to go back to law school to learn what “res judicata” means. (I know what it means and I’m *NOT* a lawyer.)

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