Stan Lee Files $1B Lawsuit Against POW! Entertainment for “Stealing” His Name and Likeness

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Stan Lee is mounting an iron man defense, and Avengers battles may be nothing compared to the array of legal fights he’s waging — which now includes a billion-dollar lawsuit against the company he co-founded.Joan Lee, Wife of Marvel Comics Legend Stan Lee

 

Lee is suing POW! Entertainment for fraud and conversion, claiming the company and two of its officers conspired to steal his identity, name and likeness in a “nefarious scheme” involving a “sham” sale to a Chinese company.

 

POW! was acquired in 2017 by Hong Kong-based Camsing International, and Lee says POW! CEO Shane Duffy and co-founder Gill Champion didn’t disclose the terms of the deal to him before it closed. At the time, Lee claims, he was devastated because his late wife was on her deathbed and they took advantage of his despair — and his macular degeneration, which rendered him legally blind in 2015.

 

 

Lee says last year Duffy and Champion, along with his ex-business manager Jerardo Olivarez, who is also suing for fraud,  asked him to sign a non-exclusive license with POW! for the use of his name and likeness in connection with creative works owned by the company. Instead, what he purportedly signed was a “fraudulent” intellectual property assignment agreement that granted POW! “the exclusive right to use Lee’s name, identity, image and likeness on a worldwide basis in perpetuity.”

 

According to the complaint filed Tuesday in L.A. County Superior Court, Lee has been selective about licensing his name and likeness and will only authorize the use on a non-exclusive basis.

 

“Lee does not recall anyone reading the Illegitimate Document to him, and, due to his advanced macular degeneration, he could not have read it himself,” writes attorney Adam Grant in the complaint. “While the Illegitimate Document purports to contain Lee’s signature, Lee never knowingly signed it. Either Duffy, Champion, Oliveraz [sic] or POW! (1) forged Lee’s signatures; (2) lifted Lee’s signature from another document and imposed it on the Illegitimate Document;  or, (3) someone, likely one of the Defendants, induced Lee to sign the Illegitimate Document by using a bait and switch tactic: telling Lee it was something else.”

 

Lee is seeking an injunction declaring the agreement invalid and unenforceable and damages in excess of one billion dollars.

 

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Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett

Photographs are Courtesy:  AP

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