Judge Dismisses $1B Stan Lee Breach of Contract Lawsuit

A federal judge has dismissed a $1 billion copyright infringement lawsuit against Marvel Entertainment.

The lawsuit charged Marvel with copyright infringement, breach of fiduciary duty and breach of contract with Stan Lee when the artist left the company that bares his name, Stan Lee Media Inc., about a decade ago. The lawsuit was dismissed on jurisdictional grounds.

In 1998, Marvel used bankruptcy proceedings to void its $1 million per-year lifetime contract with Lee. The legendary comic book writer then formed SLMI as a web-based production company to control his intellectual property. Three years later, Lee sued Marvel, and a settlement was reached with Marvel regaining control over Lee’s creations, such as X-Men, Iron Man, and the Fantastic Four.

Executives and shareholders of SLMI alleged that Lee’s comics were stolen from them. The company first sued Lee and Marvel in 2007, but the case was dismissed. A few months later another lawsuit was filed against Lee in California, and then another in Colorado. An additional lawsuit was re-filed in New York in 2009.

In a ruling Friday, U.S. District Judge Robert Sweet ruled against SLMI saying heir “present motion must be regarded as an improper attempt to circumvent [a lower court’s] decision and should on that ground be denied.”

If you are involved in a similar lawsuit, and would like to speak with an Orange County Business Lawyer regarding your case, please contact the business law firm of Daily Aljian by calling 949-861-2524.