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Intellectual property dispute over comics icon leads to lawsuit

Business litigation in New York and across the United States often stems from an intellectual property dispute. Because certain ideas and creations can have immense value, there are frequently disagreements as to who owns certain properties and how they can be used. When a person who created a creative work is seemingly taken advantage of, the matter can be even more complex if the creator has since passed away To address this complicated aspect of business litigation, it is wise to have legal advice from the beginning, as may be evidenced by one recent case.

There, the daughter of the comic book icon Stan Lee is moving forward with an intellectual property dispute regarding her late father's estate. Mr. Lee died nearly a year ago at the age of 95. His daughter, J.C., is the trustee and filed a lawsuit against POW! Entertainment, the company her father created after an acrimonious parting with Marvel Comics. Prior to his death, Lee had filed a lawsuit seeking $1 billion damages, claiming that he was taken advantage of because of his medical issues. The lawsuit also alleges that Lee signed documents he would otherwise not have signed but for his medical condition. He also asserted his signature was forged. Lee also wanted to regain the rights to his name and likeness. Eventually, that lawsuit was dropped.

Now, J.C.'s lawsuit revives the claims and returns to issues that started more than two decades ago when Mr. Lee was dismissed by Marvel after it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Lee had hoped to begin a new company and use the rights he retained. He reconciled with Marvel after forming POW and has been a ubiquitous presence in its rise into a moviemaking powerhouse. The lawsuit seeks to regain various properties he acquired when he left the company. J.C. is seeking declaratory relief regarding the intellectual property.

Whether it is worth billions of dollars or is of more modest means, intellectual property disputes can be difficult to sort through. When it is combined with allegations of undue influence and fraud, it is even harder to navigate. For people who are considering a legal filing over intellectual property, it is a good idea to discuss the case with an experienced business law firm that is well adept at handling commercial disputes.

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