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POW! Entertainment, the company co-founded by the late Stan Lee in 2001, is asking a California federal judge to knock out a suit from Lee’s daughter that it describes as “a grossly selfish and inconsiderate waste” of the court’s time.
J.C. Lee in September sued POW! in an effort to reclaim control of her father’s intellectual property and likeness rights. Prior to his death in 2017, the prolific comic book creator sued the company himself but later dropped that $1 billion claim.
Now, POW! is arguing that the issues underlying her claims have been “vociferously litigated and relitigated ad nauseam” and this latest round of litigation should end, too.
POW!’s attorney Chaz Rainey argues J.C. Lee’s complaint is “so fatally flawed that it is difficult to decide where to begin.” First, he argues Lee’s daughter doesn’t have standing because she’s seeking to enforce the purported rights of the now-defunct Stan Lee Media (then known as Stan Lee Entertainment) under its 1998 employment agreement with her father. Second, he argues J.C. Lee’s claims are well beyond the statute of limitations. Third, he argues the 1998 contract “was the subject of no fewer than five federal lawsuits, all of which ultimately held the agreement to be unenforceable.”
While the agreement said it gave the company the rights to Lee’s intellectual property for his lifetime, Rainey explains, a federal judge ruled that it is a personal services agreement and therefore was limited to seven years under California law. Rainey also maintains that Lee terminated the agreement in 2001 before Stan Lee Media filed for bankruptcy.
Lee formed POW! in November 2001, and Rainey says Lee assigned his name and likeness rights to the company on no fewer than six occasions between its formation and his death and also gave the company his copyrights. Writes Rainey, “Attempting to bring such claims again, after being struck down numerous times by prior courts, including this very Court, is a gross waste of judicial time and resources.”
Read the full filing here.
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