Stan Lee Media Once Again Claims Ownership Of Marvel Characters
Stan Lee Media (which, despite its name, no longer has any association with Stan Lee) will simply not go away.
In September, a federal judge threw out the organization’s lawsuit against Disney and Marvel in which it claimed ownership of many of Marvel’s characters, including Spider-Man, Thor, the Hulk and the X-Men, and even barred it from re-litigating its case. And yet, Stan Lee Media has filed papers once again, this time in a Philadelphia federal court, claiming ownership of the characters.
In one of those weird twists that can only happen in the crazy U.S. court system, SLM got the opportunity to once again make its claim after Disney sued a small theater in Lancanster, Pa., over the use of elements of Spider-Man stories, Mary Poppins and The Lion King in a stage revue. The American Music Theatre claims it had a license to use the characters via a license from, you guessed it, Stan Lee Media.
Here’s how SLM can say it has any claim to Marvel’s characters: Lee left Marvel and started up Stan Lee Media in August 1998. The organization says Lee signed over any rights he had to his creations in October 1998 in exchange for company stock. Stan Lee Media says an agreement Lee signed the following month upon returning to Marel, giving the publisher the rights to all those characters and his own likeness, is therefore worthless, because Lee had already signed it all over to them.