The Walt Disney Company has called Stan Lee Media’s multibillion-dollar lawsuit “flawed beyond cure.” In a motion to dismiss (read it here) filed last week, the company mocks SLMI’s legal claims that it actually owns rights to all the Marvel characters created by Stan Lee. “There is no conceivable basis on which Plaintiff can state a viable copyright claim against TWDC in this Court, or for that matter, any other,” the Disney motion says. “In sum, against the backdrop of Plaintiff’s six prior unsuccessful litigations on this topic, express judicial displeasure with Plaintiff clogging the courts with a repeated invocation of rights it does not possess, and the fact that TWDC conducts no business activities other than those of a holding company, this lawsuit is completely frivolous and should be dismissed,” Disney added. SLMI wants the profits from the $5.5 billion it says that Disney made from Marvel superhero movies and merchandise based on characters created by Lee, who no longer has anything to do with the company. The November 30 motion to dismiss, like the initial suit by SLMI in October, was filed in Colorado.
SLMI claimed that Lee signed over rights to characters like Iron Man, the Hulk, the Fantastic Four, the X-Men, Spider-Man and many more that he created or would create to its corporate predecessor in October 1998. Because Marvel never bought rights to those characters, Disney never got to own them when it bought Marvel for $4 billion in 2009. Disney is represented by James Quinn, R. Bruce Rich and Randi W. Singer of New York’s Weil Gotshal & Manges and Frederick J. Baumann and Holly Ludwig of Denver firm Rothgerber Johnson & Lyons.