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Marvel Sues Over <I>Spider-Man</I> Rights

26 Feb, 2003 By: Holly J. Wagner

A Marvel Enterprises, Inc. subsidiary filed a lawsuit over intellectual property rights to the character Spider-Man, although the company isn't saying who it sued.

Although the comic book and character licensing powerhouse would disclose little about the Los Angeles Superior Court lawsuit, which was filed under seal, the company said it concerns "a licensing agreement with Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc. and SPE Spider-Man GP Inc." The suit was filed under seal because of confidentiality agreements between the parties.

Spider-Man did $800 million at the box office -- the highest-grossing film of last year -- and set records for early sales on home video, boosting the 2002 bottom line for both Sony and Marvel.

"The complaint is not an attempt to stop production of the Spider-Man sequel slated for May 2004 nor is it an attempt to change or upset any of the merchandising/licensing deals that are in place for the sequel. Additionally, while the litigation is not expected to have any material negative impact on Marvel's financial results or on its guidance for 2003 and beyond, a successful resolution of the matter would be anticipated to have a positive financial effect upon Marvel's future operations. Given confidentiality requirements related to the agreement, Marvel is unable to comment further on the matter."

Just weeks ago the character's creator, Stan Lee, filed a $10 million lawsuit against Marvel, contending the company owed him money for exploiting his creation.

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