A toy manufacturer and distributor claims Stan Lee, POW! Entertainment, Archie Comics, A Squared Entertainment and others violated its trademark with the new multimedia series Super Seven — after two of the companies promised they wouldn’t.
Announced in February, Super Seven is a planned comics, animation and online property about seven aliens whose spaceship crashes on Earth, where they’re befriended by Lee and resume their lives as superheroes.
In a lawsuit filed Thursday in San Francisco federal court, Super7 says its attorney contacted A Squared Entertainment and Lee’s POW! Entertainment in March to point out its longstanding trademarks and warn them not to violate those rights. In a response received later that month, the toymaker was reportedly assured the companies “have decided to move in a different direction and are in the process of developing another mark for their products.” In another letter, in early June, Super7 was told the companies planned to trademark “Stan Lee and the Super Seven.” The toymaker’s counsel responded the name was still too similar and “would be likely to confuse consumers,” and invited the attorney for the two companies to contact Super7 “to discuss the matter further.”
The plaintiff claims it heard nothing more on the matter until last month when, during Comic-Con International in San Diego, Stan Lee and executives from Archie Comics and A Squared Entertainment announced Super Seven will launch later this year.
The lawsuit seeks compensatory damages, a judgment ordering Lee and his co-defendants to stop using Super7′s trademark, and the destruction of all prints, packaging and advertisements bearing the names “Super Seven” or “Stan Lee and the Super Seven.”
At 80+, Stan Lee is the iron man of comics; he is all over SDCC this weekend, appearing not just with Boom! Studios but also touting his work for Archie Comics and Viz manga. Boom! Studios kicked things off by announcing that they will be publishing three superhero comics based on characters created by Lee and his company Pow! Entertainment: Soldier Zero, written by Paul Cornell (Doctor Who) with art by Javier Pina (Superman); The Traveler, written by Mark Waid with art by Chad Hardin (Amazing Spider-Man), and Starborn, written by Chris Roberson (iZombie) with art by Khary Randolph (The X-Men). CBR has posted interviews with Cornell, Waid, and Roberson about their work on the three titles.
Full press release after the cut.
POW! Entertainment announced today that it is “deepening its ties” with the Walt Disney Company. POW!, of course, is the entertainment company headed by Stan Lee, co-creator of many of Marvel’s biggest characters. Disney already has a first-look deal with POW! for the various projects the company is creating (which includes Disney’s Time Jumper and a couple of live action features, as listed here), but now Disney will have “enhanced rights to the creative output of POW!” and “exclusive consulting services.” I’m not sure exactly what that means, but I imagine we’ll find out once everyone has the opportunity to dive into this a little deeper after the holiday weekend. Disney is also buying a 10 percent equity stake in POW! for $2.5 million.
The complete press release is available after the jump.
Addendum: Oh yeah, for your press release collection, here’s Disney’s PR on the close of the Marvel deal today.