Comic book icon Stan Lee is breathing a sigh of relief after a New York judge dismissed a $750 million (£500 million) suit filed against him and Marvel Entertainment bosses challenging the copyright of his most famous superhero characters.
Lee was taken to court last year (09) by Jose Abadin and Christopher Belland, the shareholders of Stan Lee Media Inc. (SLMI), which was declared bankrupt in 2001.
They claimed Lee had harmed their interests when he signed away all his rights in the Marvel Entertainment brand and the copyright to characters like Spider-Man, The Incredible Hulk, the Fantastic Four and X-Men to the company in 1998 - a year before they acquired their shares in SLMI.
Representatives for Lee and Marvel executives denied the allegations in the lawsuit, stating it was filled with "ridiculous claims", and a Manhattan federal judge ruled in their favour last week (31Mar10).
U.S. District Judge Paul Crotty decided Abadin and Belland had no legal standing to sue because they were not shareholders at the time of Lee's Marvel deal.
They were also criticised for only filing their lawsuit 10 years after acquiring their company shares, insisting they "cannot wait a decade to enforce their rights".
Marvel Entertainment was taken over by Disney in December (09).