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Stan Lee Files $1 Billion Lawsuit, Says He Was Tricked Into Signing Away Likeness
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Stan Lee. Photo courtesy of The Onion.

Summary: Stan Lee says the company he founded conned him into giving up his name and likeness forever. 

Stan Lee is suing the company he co-founded for $1 billion. The prolific comic book creator said that he was tricked into signing over his name and likeness, and he is seeking an injunction and damages, according to The Hollywood Reporter. 

  
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Lee said that his business partners told him to sign a non-exclusive license with POW!, the company he founded decades ago that was sold to a Chinese company in 2017. In his lawsuit, Lee said that he was tricked instead to give away his rights in perpetuity.

“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,” the lawsuit said. “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 suing POW! for fraud, and he said that POW! CEO Shane Duffy and co-found Gill Champion were involved in a “nefarious scheme” to steal his valuable name and likeness.

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In his lawsuit which was filed in Los Angeles on Tuesday, Lee said that when he signed away his rights he was devastated because his wife was on her deathbed and he was legally blind. It was at this time of weakness, Lee said, that his business partners conned him.

“Lee says last year Duffy and Champion, along with his ex-business manager Jerardo Olivarez, whom he’s currently 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,”” THR reported.



Lee said that he is selective with licensing his brand and that he only enters non-exclusive agreements. He said that POW! has also been impersonating him on social media, and in his lawsuit, Lee wants the company to stop using his name and likeness and for the court to declare the agreement he signed invalid and unenforceable. He is seeking damages of $1 billion.

POW! was purchased by Camsing International in 2017.

What do you think of Lee’s lawsuit against POW! Entertainent? Let us know in the comments below.



 

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