is reporting that Stan Lee Media Incorporated, formerly affiliated with legendary comic book author Stan Lee, has filed a multi-billion dollar copyright infringement suit against Walt Disney Company.
In the lawsuit, which was filed Tuesday, Stan Lee Media alleges that it has been assigned the rights to comic book characters like The Avengers, Thor, X-Men, Incredible Hulk, Fantastic Four and Spiderman, that Lee didn’t properly assign the works to Marvel and that Disney has never recorded its agreement with Marvel with the US Copyright Office.
“The true facts are that Stan Lee Media Inc. owns the copyrights to Stan Lee’s creations,” reads the lawsuit. “Accordingly, Stan Lee Media Inc. is entitled to the billions of dollars of profits that have been kept by Defendant Disney.”
A large portion of said profits, according to The Hollywood Reporter, are from the 2012 blockbuster flick, The Avengers which has earned an estimated $1.5 billion since its release and is the third highest grossing film of all time, behind Avatar and Titanic.’
In response to the suit, a spokeswoman from Walt Disney described the claims as ‘without merit’ saying in an e-mail press statement, as quoted in the Times:
“It (lawsuit) arises out of the same core facts and legal claims that have been rejected by three federal district court judges.”
THR notes SLMI has attempted to sue Marvel over profits and rights multiple times in the past.
The company, without the aid or blessing of its namesake, Stan Lee, tried suing Marvel in 2007 and 2009, with both of those suits being dismissed.