Stan Lee Media claims that it owns the rights to the Iron Man, Spider-Man, and X-Men copyright and is suing Disney in court based upon an agreement that Stan Lee made back in 1998.
In a related report by the Inquisitr, Stan Lee is set to have another movie cameo in the third Avengers movie.
Ever since Disney bought Marvel in 2009, they became the primary target for any lawsuit involving ownership of any of the famous Stan Lee characters. Stan Lee Media is a company that claims it had purchased copyrights from Marvel comics creator Stan Lee in 1998. So when Disney became the new Marvel owner, Stan Lee Media hit the media giant with a $5.5 billion lawsuit on October 9, 2012, claiming that Disney had effectively stolen copyrights it owned. The Colorado-based company claims Disney owes Stan Lee Media the entirety of all the profits earned by the Spider-Man and X-Men movies in addition to all the merchandise.
Disney, on the other hand, weaves a completely different story about the incident. "This is their seventh bite of a rotten apple," Disney attorney Jim Quinn said after the recent court hearing in the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The reason Quinn says this is because a New York court already ruled the statute of limitations had expired in 2005, but Stan Lee Media is continuing the legal battle after U.S. District Judge William Martinez dismissed the lawsuit on September 5, 2013.
"Plaintiffs cannot wait a decade to enforce their rights," Disney argued. "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."
According to the Associated Press, Disney claims that Stan Lee terminated his previous agreement with Stan Lee Media by sending a letter that notified them of this decision. Stan Lee then sold his rights to the copyright for Spider-Man and X-Men to Marvel. When Disney purchased Marvel, the company effectively bought the rights to the characters, as well, including those under dispute by Stan Lee Media.
Meanwhile, the real Stan Lee continues to make cameos in many of the Marvel and Disney movies. But other than showing up at comic book conventions, it's said that Lee has very little input on the movies nor does he have any decision-making capabilities at the Disney-owned Marvel.