Stan Lee’s daughter J.C. has resurrected an intellectual property battle against POW! Entertainment—one that her father had previously filed towards the end of his life.
Filed in California, J.C.’s lawsuit analyzes almost two decades of dealmaking for her father, according to the Hollywood Reporter. Before Stan Lee died, he had brought a $1 billion suit against POW, which “detailed Lee's deteriorating medical condition and alleged that POW executives took advantage by either inducing him to sign documents under fraudulent pretenses or forging his signature,” the outlet writes. The suit looked to reclaim name and likeness rights and argued against the transfer of assets to Hong Kong-based Camsing International.
The lawsuit was later dropped, and Lee allegedly said in a statement, “The whole thing has been confusing to everyone, including myself and the fans, but I am now happy to be surrounded by those who want the best for me. I am thrilled to put the lawsuit behind me, get back to business with my friends and colleagues at POW! and launch the next wave of amazing characters and stories!”
J.C.’s lawsuit goes back to the 1990s when Stan Lee was fired from Marvel after it filed for bankruptcy. Back then, Lee took his rights and set up a namesake company. Lee and Marvel made up, but not before co-establishing POW at the company that would acquire his intellectual property.
Read the full complaint here.
Disney and Marvel currently play a small role in this suit, though they potentially could be pulled in. For now, J.C.’s complaint against POW asks for declaratory relief in regards to intellectual property ownership and rights to Lee’s name and likeness. The defendants are also accused of cybersquatting domain names including therealstanlee.com and stanleepresents.com.
Stan Lee, the co-creator of Spider-Man and several Avengers characters, died last November when he was 95.
In late August, Spider-Man was set to leave the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as a deal between Sony and Marvel fell apart. J.C. was in favor of the superhero leaving the MCU, saying she thinks the battle of Spidey rights is ultimately good for the character.
“Marvel and Disney seeking total control of my father's creations must be checked and balanced by others who, while still seeking to profit, have genuine respect for Stan Lee and his legacy,” she told TMZ.
On Friday, news surfaced that Spider-Man will stay in the MCU for now. The next Spider-Man movie will be another co-production between Sony and Marvel.