6:10am PT by Kimberly Nordyke, Hilary Lewis
Stan Lee Drops $1B Lawsuit Against POW! Entertainment for "Stealing" His Name and Likeness
Stan Lee has dismissed his $1 billion lawsuit against POW! Entertainment for fraud and conversion, less than two months after the suit was filed in his name.
“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," Lee said in a statement. "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!”
POW! CEO Shane Duffy added, “We are ecstatic that this ill-founded lawsuit has been dismissed and we look forward to working with Stan again to develop and produce the great projects that were put on hold when the lawsuit was filed. We recently got together with Stan to discuss our path forward and we and [parent company] Camsing are pleased with his overwhelmingly enthusiastic reaction.”
Lee filed the complaint in May in Los Angeles County Superior Court, claiming the company and two of its officers conspired to steal his identity, name and likeness in a "nefarious scheme" involving a "sham" sale to a Chinese company.
POW! was acquired in 2017 by Hong Kong-based Camsing International, and Lee in his lawsuit said Duffy and POW! co-founder Gill Champion didn't disclose the terms of the deal to him before it closed. At the time, Lee claimed, he was devastated because his wife was on her deathbed and they took advantage of his despair — and his macular degeneration, which rendered him legally blind in 2015.
In his complaint, Lee alleged that last year Duffy and Champion, along with his ex-business manager Jerardo Olivarez, whom he's currently suing for fraud, asked him to sign a nonexclusive license with POW! for the use of his name and likeness in connection with creative works owned by the company. Instead, what he purportedly signed was a "fraudulent" intellectual property assignment agreement that granted POW! "the exclusive right to use Lee's name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity."
According to the original complaint, Lee has been selective about licensing his name and likeness and will only authorize the use on a nonexclusive basis.
Lee also claimed POW! took control of his social media accounts and had been impersonating him — something he also addressed on Twitter.
Lee had been seeking an injunction declaring the agreement invalid and unenforceable and damages in excess of $1 billion.
At the time, a rep for POW! called the allegations "completely without merit."
The company in April released an open letter to fans saying it was concerned about "the upheaval within [Lee's] personal management and life" following an investigative report by THR that included allegations of elder abuse. POW! additionally on Monday said it would deal appropriately, through all legal means, with others who attempt to interfere with Lee's well-being and relationship with POW! to prevent anything like this from happening again.