The litigious Stan Lee Media is no match for Conan the Barbarian or the U.S. court system.
Deadline reports that more than two years after the failed dot-com sued Paradox Entertainment in a bid to reclaim the rights to Robert E. Howard’s most famous character, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has effectively delivered the deathblow to SLM’s case, upholding a lower court’s 2012 dismissal. Of course, we’ve learned by now that the company isn’t one to give up a legal fight.
Stan Lee Media, which hasn’t had a connection to its co-founder and namesake in more than a decade — in fact, it has sued Stan Lee on a few occasions — purchased the rights to the Conan characters in 2000, shortly before it entered federal bankruptcy protection. The company claimed its interests weren’t properly represented, nor were shareholders notified, when in 2002 Conan Sales Co. bought back the rights. The complaint also alleged that the late Arthur Lieberman, Stan Lee’s longtime attorney, committed fraud during the proceedings, and failed to report conflicts of interest. Therefore, SLM argued, the subsequent sale of the characters to Paradox Entertainment should be annulled.
However, in 2012, U.S. District Judge Stephen Wilson dismissed the lawsuit, finding that shareholder notice wasn’t required during the bankruptcy process — and even it was, SLM couldn’t demonstrate standing or harm. Wilson also noted that the company did, in fact, have representation during the proceedings, and that it had failed to show that Lieberman had acted improperly.
Stan Lee Media was handed another major loss just last month, when a federal judge dismissed its multibillion-dollar copyright-infringement lawsuit against Disney, part of its lengthy legal battle to claim ownership of the Marvel characters co-created by Lee.
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