As if Conan the Barbarian didn’t have a rough enough weekend finishing in fourth place with a $10.5 million gross for Lionsgate and Millennium (see Autopsy Report: LG’s Conan the Barbarian), the rights holders at Paradox Entertainment awoke to read a report that Stan Lee Media Inc is suing to recapture the rights to the Robert E. Howard-created character, reportedly based on the notion that a transfer of rights from the bankrupt company to Conan Properties constituted fraud and a breach of fiduciary duties. Paradox bought the rights from Conan Properties and owns all 800 stories and poems that Howard created. While Paradox has not been served with the suit, Paradox general counsel Fred Fierst gave the company’s position to Deadline. In a nutshell, they feel the beef has nothing to with them.
“We have not yet been served with a copy of the Stan Lee Media lawsuit so it is certainly premature to comment in detail,” Fierst wrote me. “We did however manage to review a copy of the complaint online. Frankly it was the first anyone connected with Paradox Entertainment, Inc., or its parent company Paradox Entertainment AB (collectively “Paradox”), had ever heard of the dispute between Stan Lee Media and the other defendants which it seems has been going on for ten or more years. Suffice to say that Paradox had nothing to do with Stan Lee Media and when Paradox acquired the stock of Conan Sales Co, LLC. and thereby the ownership of the Conan intellectual property over a series of transactions in 2002 and 2003 it did so for fair market value, paid in cash, and in reliance on the 2002 Federal Bankruptcy Court Order approving the return of that stock, and therefore the Conan intellectual property, from SLM to CSC. Since acquiring the Conan intellectual property Paradox has spent many hundreds of thousands of dollars perfecting its worldwide trademark and copyright registration program, and we stand firmly behind our chain of title.
“Our litigation counsel will respond to the complaint, once we are served. At this time we believe that the allegations against Paradox and its CEO are frivolous, and will most likely be dismissed on statute of limitations, and other, grounds. In the interim we don’t think it would serve any purpose for us to comment further at this time.”