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Marvel and Stan Lee Settle All Outstanding Litigation

Marvel Enterprises, Inc. announced today that it has settled all pending litigation with Stan Lee. The settlement agreement covers the lawsuit filed by Mr. Lee in November 2002 in which Mr. Lee claimed entitlement, under an agreement with Marvel, to a participation in Marvel's profits from various sources, including the Spider-Man movies and other film and television productions that utilize Marvel characters. The settlement covers Mr. Lee's participation claim for both past and any potential future payments. Specific terms of the settlement agreement were not disclosed.

John Turitzin, Marvel's General Counsel, said, "Stan is one of the founders of today's comic book industry. We are pleased with the settlement and are happy to have resolved all of our disputes with him."

Eric Green of Resolutions, LLC mediated the settlement.

Lee’s suit, of course, was filed in November of 2002, and in it Lee claimed that Marvel had embarked upon a “shameful scheme” to deprive him of monies from the film versions of characters he’d had a hand in developing – a stipulation which was written into his contract in 1998:

“f) In addition, you shall be paid participation equal to 10% of the profits derived during your life by Marvel (including subsidiaries and affiliates) from the profits of any live action or animation television or movie (including ancillary rights) productions utilizing Marvel characters. This participation is not to be derived from the fee charged by Marvel for the licensing of the product or of the characters for merchandise or otherwise. Marvel will compute, account and pay to you your participation due, if any, on account of said profits, for the annual period ending each March 31 during your life, on an annual basis within a reasonable time after the end of each such period.”

In January of this year, the Court sided with Lee, saying in a partial summary judgment that Lee was indeed owed money from the films. At the time, Marvel claimed they would appeal the Court’s decision.

The case became fairly high profile, both within and outside of the comics market, as 60 Minutes featured Lee on two occasions, one prior to the suit, which, some claim, Lee's expressions suggested he was troubled about his relationship with Marvel in light of the very successful string of movies; and one after the suit had been filed.

Both the announcement of Lee's settlement, and that Marvel has entered into a production deal with Paramount which will see Marvel producing its own movies came hours before Marvel released it's Q1 2005 numbers, which noted a $10 million charge related to the matter.

Trying to draw lines between the newsflurry, the deal between Marvel and Paramount, as well as the over $500 million in financing, allowing Marvel to produce its own movies means that movies just became much larger potential profit generators for Marvel than they were previously. With Lee's settlement for all past and future Marvel movies (as mentioned in the Q2 numbers), in place, one could easily assume that Lee will be effectively cut out of this larger profit pie from which Marvel's new role as movie producer could result.