Disney Wins Dismissal of Stan Lee Media’s Claim for Marvel’s Superheroes

Stan Lee
Walt Disney Studios Publicity

The Walt Disney Co. granted dismissal of copyright lawsuit by Stan Lee Media

Stan Lee Media can’t claim ownership to any of the iconic comicbook characters Stan Lee created for Marvel, a federal court judge ruled Thursday, giving full control of superheroes like Spider-Man, The Avengers,  Iron Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men to the Walt Disney Co.

U.S. District Judge William J. Martinez granted the Walt Disney Co.’s motion to dismiss a multibillion-dollar lawsuit by Stan Lee Media, initially filed in 2012, to claim copyright of the characters.

Stan Lee Media has sued Marvel Entertainment multiple times without success in an effort to lay claim to the characters. In October 2012, Stan Lee Media sued Disney, which purchased Marvel in 2009, in a Colorado federal court, seeking profits from $5.5 billion it claimed Disney has made from Marvel movies and merchandise featuring the superheroes.

In late November, Disney asked the court to dismiss the suit declaring that Stan Lee Media’s effort to claim the rights to Marvel characters Lee had a hand in creating is “flawed beyond cure.”

Disney has said that Stan Lee Media failed to specify to which works it claims to own the copyright, instead referring “vaguely” to “comicbook characters…that (Lee) had previously created or would create.” It also added that Disney “is a holding company and as such does not conduct business in Colorado or anywhere else,” the company said in a motion to dismiss the suit. “There is no conceivable basis on which the plaintiff can state a viable copyright claim against (the Walt Disney Co.) in this court or, for that matter, any other.”

SEE ALSO: Disney seeks dismissal of Stan Lee Media suit

Judge Martinez agreed with Disney on Thursday writing “plaintiff has tried time and again to claim ownership of those copyrights; the litigation history arising out of the 1998 Agreement stretches over more than a decade and at least six courts,” in an 11-page order.

Lee is no longer associated with Stan Lee Media, but in its suit, the company claims the comicbook vet assigned the copyrights to the characters to a predecessor company in 1998.

Yet Lee has long claimed that the copyrights he assigned to Marvel were not the same as those he assigned to Stan Lee Media, and U.S. District Judge Paul A. Crotty ruled in 2010 that a “lifetime” agreement that Lee signed in 1998 was in violation of California labor laws.

Stan Lee Media appears to have run out of appeals in the case.

“Taking its cue from the Southern District of New York and the Central District of California, this Court holds that Plaintiff is precluded from re-litigating the issue of its ownership of copyrights based on the 1998 Agreement, which issue was decided against it,” Judge Martinez wrote.

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  1. MichaelF says:

    Now i do not care about this, i am earning around $5500 a month. There is useful way i found on the web. If you want to learn it too, just type in google: Willis Mounts Strategy

  2. Lubega Kenneth says:

    they were so unfair to stan lee

    • storyman11 says:

      Not really, if you read the article, Stan Lee himself is actually no longer part of Stan Lee media and hasn’t been for a long time. Nor are the characters under the license any of his classic characters. They are probably his 90’s character he made like Stripperella.

  3. Jason says:

    Ryan, it’s not Stan Lee trying to get money from Marvel. The article says that Stan Lee is not associated with Stan Lee Media anymore.

  4. Jason C says:

    Ryan, that’s ridiculous. While I am just as happy as any geek in comicdom, Stan agreed to the terms way back then. He had every right to start his own company, or even purchase Marvel. Thomas Edison wouldn’t be able to ask for recompense just because he invented the light bulb. If he’s bitter that his creations ended up bigger than he thought imaginable, that’s really sad. He’s not exactly hurting for cash, like other creators were and are.

  5. Ryan Crowe says:

    Ok I get that Disney owns Marvel now. But let’s be honest here if it wasn’t for Stan Lee Marvel wouldn’t have characters like Abomination, Absorbing Man, Annihilus, Ant-Man, Ares, Awesome Android, Beast, Beetle, Black Bolt, Black Knight, Black Panther, Black Widow, Blob, Boomerang, Captain Marvel, Chameleon, Crimson Dynamo, Crystal, Cyclops, Daredevil, Death-Stalker, Destroyer, Doctor Doom, Dormammu, Dragon Man, Dum Dum Dugan, Ego the Living Planet, Electro, Enchantress, Executioner, Falcon, Fin Fang Foom, The Fixer, Nick Fury, Galactus, Gargoyle, Gladiator, Gorgon, Grey Gargoyle, Jean Grey, Groot, H.E.R.B.I.E., Hate-Monger, Hawkeye, Heimdall, Hela, Hera, Hercules, The High Evolutionary, Hulk, Human Torch, Iceman, Immortus, Invisible Woman, Iron Man, Jackal, John Jameson, J. Jonah Jameson, Jarvis, Juggernaut, Kang the Conqueror, Karnak, Kingpin, Klaw, Kraven the Hunter, The Kree, Laufey, Leader, Lizard, Loki, Mad Thinker, Madame Masque, Magneto, Mandarin, Mastermind, Alicia Masters, Maximus, Aunt May, Medusa, Mephisto, Mindless Ones, Mister Fantastic, MODOK, Mole Man, Baron Mordo, Mysterio, Norman Osborn, Doctor Octopus, Odin, Harry Osborn, Richard and Mary Parker, Pepper Potts, Puppet Master, Quicksilver, Rhino, Franklin Richards, Robbie Robertson, Betty Ross, Thunderbolt Ross, S.H.I.E.L.D., Sandman, Scarlet Witch, Scorpion, Sentinel, Sentry, Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, Shalla-Bal, She-Hulk, Shocker, Sif, Silver Surfer, Silvermane, The Sinister Six, The Skrulls, Spider-Man, Spider-Slayer, George Stacy, Gwen Stacy, Doctor Strange, Stripperella, Mendel Stromm, Baron Strucker, Super-Skrull, Swordsman, Thing, Flash Thompson, Thor, Tigra, Tinkerer, Titanium Man, Toad, Trapster, Bolivar Trask, Uncle Ben, Vulture, Adam Warlock, Wasp, Watcher, Mary Jane Watson(Parker), Whiplash, Whirlwind, Wizard, Wonder Man, Warren Worthington III (Angel/Archangel), Wrecker, Professor Xavier and Baron Zemo among others I’m most likely missing, to make money off of. It is ridiculous that Stan would not be entitled to his fair share.

    • Doesn’t matter about “fair share” – he had a price, he named it, he was paid.
      Now he wants to dip back into the profit stream that Disney has been building these past years. He would have done better asking for it as a remuneration for continued cameos in the movies – I don’t think we’ll see any more of those…

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