Marvel Claims Kirby Family’s Copyright Claim Doesn’t ‘Remotely Merit’ Review By Supreme Court
Jack Kirby's family has some powerful friends on its side in its legal battle with Marvel to claim back copyright of characters Kirby created between 1958 and 1963 -- characters that include the Fantastic Four, The Hulk, and the X-Men -- but Marvel's attorneys are trying to shut the whole fight down before it advances any further.
In its filing Marvel says that the Kirby family's constitutional arguments are "bizarre," and were not part of arguments when the case was heard in lower courts. Marvel's also points out that there is "no circuit split, no judicial taking, no due process violation, and no grave matter of separation of powers" involved in the Kirby family's petition. The Supreme Court typically only considers cases in which one of those conditions applies.
There have been some signs that the Supreme Court may actually hear this case. Back in May, the nine justices asked Marvel to offer a response -- the company initially declined -- because they planned to take the case into conference. That's the first step towards a possible full Supreme Court hearing. The conference was postponed when Marvel promised to offer a reply. Now that Marvel has filed that reply, one suspects the Supreme Court may move ahead with its conference.
There's still a pretty strong chance that the Supreme Court won't take the case. The Court only takes on a handful of cases each year, and with numerous challenges to the Affordable Care Act in the works, along with other hot-button topics, the Kirby case may simply not make the cut. Marvel's lawyers certainly seem to want to encourage the notion that other cases have more merit and greater importance.
There's always a chance, though.