Stan Lee’s Daughter Sues to Protect His Intellectual Property
The daughter of the late Stan Lee has filed a lawsuit over the comic book icon’s intellectual property rights. Prior to his death in 2018, Lee had brought (and later dismissed) a $1 billion suit against POW! Entertainment. The lawsuit claimed that POW took advantage of Lee’s deteriorating condition and coerced him to sign documents or forged signatures.
J.C. Lee’s lawsuit resurrects her father’s claims. Lee wants to pull back name and likeness rights that she argues were wrongfully transferred to Hong Kong-based Camsing International.
The lawsuit has a long time arc, going back to the 1990s. In that decade, Lee was fired by Marvel and created his own company to protect his intellectual property rights with a Texas intellectual property lawyer. After Lee and Marvel put aside their differences, they formed POW to hold claim to those rights.
From about 2001 to 2017, the lawsuit claims, numerous trusted business associates wronged Lee. They misled him and convinced him to sign away his rights. In particular, Lee’s business partners used Pow to loot, muddy, and entangle Lee’s intellectual property rights, the lawsuit contends.
Among other things, the complaint seeks declaratory relief regarding Stan Lee’s intellectual property. Declaratory relief is a determination by a court regarding the respective legal rights of people involved in a lawsuit. Often, a request for declaratory relief is made to resolve the rights or duties of those parties. These types of judgments are common in intellectual property lawsuits and help clear the air with respect to legal uncertainties.
Declaratory relief is also being sought with respect to the use of Lee’s name and likeness. Certain website domains, like therealstanlee.com and stanleepresents.com, are at issue. Cybersquatting is a bad-faith attempt to register domains using popular names and force their owners to pay for them. It is an example of a modern intellectual property problem, one that Lee’s daughter wants to resolve.
POW has released a statement strongly objecting to the lawsuit and claiming that similar ones in the past have failed. The defendant argues that it owns the intellectual property rights in question and that the courts will dismiss the suit. The company contends that Stan Lee wanted his daughter to have no involvement in the late comic writer’s intellectual property. Now, a court must handle these disputes and make a determination who is right.
Cases of intellectual property violations typically involve living or still-existing people and businesses. But in the correct context, the heir of an estate – such as Lee’s daughter – can enforce intellectual rights. The Stan Lee case was filed in federal court in California. However, state laws also offer some protection to victims of intellectual property theft.
Having an experienced attorney is key to protecting your intellectual property. This means someone who is well-versed in all aspects of this area of law. At Eddington & Worley, we help intellectual property owners enforce and protect their rights. If you are an owner, you need someone who can cover all angles of trademark, copyright, and other specific issues.
The right attorney will file any necessary paperwork to register and protect your intellectual property rights. These and other initial registration steps are helpful in preventing most infringements. However, when someone steps on your rights, you also want aggressive legal representation. We go to work to protect owners from theft and take the necessary steps to restore their rights.
Contact us for your Intellectual Property Questions
One of the major aspects of the Stan Lee lawsuit is determining who owns the rights to his intellectual property. Those who create unique works have put time, talent, and effort into their endeavors. They deserve peace of mind in knowing their rights will be protected. That is what we do at Eddington & Worley. If you have intellectual property of any kind, give us a call to discuss how to safeguard it.