Stan Lee Media Loses Latest Legal Battle Against Stan Lee

Stan Lee Media has lost in the latest legal battle against its founder and namesake, Stan Lee.

Stan Lee Media, which Stan Lee founded in 1998 when he was estranged from Marvel Comics, tried claiming that it owned signature Stan Lee creations like Spider-Man and the X-Men. Lee only led Stan Lee Media for a few years before returning to Marvel however, and then Stan Lee Media declared bankruptcy. When Stan Lee Media reformed, years later, it tried claiming that the iconic comics creator was no longer entitled to any revenue generated by Lee’s characters after he returned to Marvel. The entitlements that he brought over to Stan Lee Media upon founding the company, they claimed, were still theirs. Stan Lee Media’s suit was denied in the courts.

And now, according to The Hollywood Reporter, attempts at reopening the case have been shot down. The reasoning, according to the courts, was that “between the date the [1998] agreement was signed and the filing of related litigation in 2007, SLMI never announced that it owned rights to these characters (even when publicly disclosing company information pursuant to a securities offering), licensed the characters, produced content related to the characters, or asserted or attempted to enforce its ownership rights."

So, since Stan Lee Media essentially never to own Marvel’s household characters during its first life and death, it can’t retroactively act like they did. Additionally, Lee, with Marvel, kept producing comics, films, video games, and more on its own during Stan Lee Media’s bankruptcy. Since Marvel continued the livliehood of the characters, they--and not Stan Lee Media--are the rightful owners to all generated revenue.  

Stan Lee Media could keep fighting through 10th Circuit appeals, but it seems like the case is closed for the troubled house that Stan built.