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Court Rules in Favor of Stan Lee Over Marvel

The United States District Court for the Southern District of New York ruled that Stan Lee is entitled to 10% of the profits Marvel has received since Nov. 1998 from studios for the right to produce and distribute motion pictures and television productions based on Marvel's characters, and from movie-based toys manufactured and sold by Marvel itself.

Lee had filed litigation against Marvel that involves a claim by Lee that he is entitled to a 10% participation in Marvel's profits from the SPIDER-MAN movies and other film and television productions that utilize Marvel characters. Lee did not claim any right to participate in Marvel's publishing profits or in its profits from non-movie related merchandise licensing.

However, the court rejected Lee's claim to share in monies received by Marvel from third party licensees of movie-based merchandise.

The court did not rule on Lee's claim that he is entitled to participate in profits from Marvel's joint venture with Sony relating to SPIDER-MAN movie merchandise or profits from Marvel's international HULK movie merchandise licensing program with Universal Studios. The court stated a jury must resolve these matters.

John Turitzin, Marvel's general counsel, said, "We intend to appeal those matters on which we did not prevail and to continue to contest vigorously the claims on which the court did not rule. We do not expect this decision to have an effect on our financial guidance for 2004, 2005 or our future prospects."

Stan Lee was not available for comment at time of publication.

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Rick DeMott
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