Ka-Pow! Disney Sued for Billions in Battle for Marvel

Suit questions giant profits from superhero films

By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 11, 2012 12:57 PM CDT

(Newser) – Disney is facing a multibillion-dollar lawsuit over its enormous success with Marvel superhero flicks. Stan Lee Media says Stan Lee gave it the rights to the many characters he created in 1998—then gave identical rights to Marvel Enterprises, which Disney bought in 2009 for $4.3 billion. "The Walt Disney Company has represented to the public that it, in fact, owns the copyright to these characters as well as hundreds of other characters created by Stan Lee," says the suit. Those representations ... are false."

Stan Lee Media holds the rights "to the billions of dollars that Disney has generated, or allowed others to generate," the suit says, pointing to more than $3.5 billion from the movies. Disney says the suit is "without merit," prompted by "the same core facts and legal claims that have been rejected by three federal district court judges." Lee himself isn't currently associated with Stan Lee Media, Reuters notes. The company says it has had a "somewhat tortured history" of legal battles after being established in 1999 to "sue to recover damages to its assets."

In this film image released by Disney, Chris Hemsworth portrays Thor, left, and Chris Evans portrays Captain America in a scene from "The Avengers."   (AP Photo/Disney, Zade Rosenthal)
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