It’s on! Or it will be in November, when a POSSIBLE 8 person jury gets to decide if Gary Friedrich or Marvel own Ghost Rider:
Eight jurors will decide this fall if Marvel actually owns the copyright to Ghost Rider or not. That was the order (read it here) issued today by a federal judge who set trial for November 4. The decision by District Judge Katherine Forrest in NYC comes just over two weeks after the Second Court of Appeals overturned a 2011 ruling of hers in Marvel’s favor in the legal battle with former freelancer Gary Friedrich over the fiery motorcycle-riding superhero. Marvel’s lawyers indicated today in a courtroom conference meeting on the case that while they will not challenge the Appeals Court decision, they would seek to have the case handled without a jury in a motion to be filed at a later date.
Marvel doesn’t want a jury because this court almost always rules favorably for corporate interests. However before you start thinking about a heartwarming little guy, Spider-Man vs Galactus victory here, as our own Jeff Trexler pointed out, the appeals court ruling wasn’t so much a win for Friedrich as a loss for Marvel. Friedrich’s ownership claim faces a steep uphill battle.
UPDATE: The Beat’s legal advisor Jeff Trexler has passed along the actual order and points out that contrary to all the other reports a jury trial is NOT a done deal.
The court’s scheduling order does not state that the November trial will be a jury trial. It states that the parties have through July 3, 2013 to file motions as to whether there should be a jury trial or a bench trial. The judge may very well agree to a jury trial, but as of now certitude on the matter would appear to be premature.