Stan Lee Media—the creeping zombie of a company that no longer has anything to do with Stan Lee, but loves to say they have the rights to everything Stan ever came near—has just lost an appeal in another of it lawsuits, this one, a claim that they had the rights to Conan, saying that current rights holder Paradox Entertainment had obtained them fraudulently in a bankruptcy sale. An appeals court upheld a 2012 ruling that SLM had no claim to the Cimmerian.
“The ruling confirms what we have said all along: This was a meritless and frivolous lawsuit to cash in on others’ hard work. I’m glad that two courts agree,” Malmberg told me today. Long story short, there is now no legal sword at all hanging over Universal Pictures reboot The Legend Of Conan, with a script by Andrea Berloff and the return of Arnold Schwarzenegger to the role he first played way back in 1982.
Frankly, we’re a little surprised that anyone is bringing back Conan so soon after the Jason Momoa version bombed big time, but any IP in a storm. Plus, flabby King Conan-anator!
Frankly, the appeals court ruling, which you can read below, is rather unsatisfying, since it contains nothing but legalese, rather than a definitive statement telling Stan Lee Media that they are total shysters and can go to Niffleheim.
In case you missed previous chapters in the Stan Lee Media story, it’s too long to go into here, but the venture began back in the go go “interactive” late 90s. Founded in 1998, the company went out of business in 2000, but has lived on as a rapacious shell company, trying to get the rights to other things. A long running suit claiming they owned Marvel’s superheroes because of an agreement Stan made when he founded the company was denied, but not before they sued Stan himself. That’s just a very brief rundown of their crazy antics over the years, but surely they’ll be back at some point with some new odd claim.
Heidi MacDonald is the founder and editor in chief of The Beat. In the past, she worked for Disney, DC Comics, Fox and Publishers Weekly. She can be heard regularly on the More To Come Podcast. She likes coffee, cats and noble struggle.