Entertainment Hollywood

Stan Lee’s estate fights to control character licensing

LOS ANGELES — The daughter of the late legendary comic creator Stan Lee is taking on a Chinese businesswoman in a legal fight for control of the licensing of the comic book superheroes her father created.

Lee, who founded Marvel Comics and created hundreds of well-known comic book characters including Avengers, Spider-Man, Hulk, Iron Man, X-Men and Thor to name a few, now has his daughter JC Lee who is the sole heir and trustee of his estate, taking on Camsing International, the parent company of POW! Entertainment, in appeals court. 

In June 25, U.S. District Court Court Judge Otis Wright dismissed claims by Lee’s estate to protect and recover the name and legacy of Stan Lee from POW! Entertainment. The court claimed the case had already been tried and sanctioned Lee with a $1 million fine and her lawyers with a $250,000 fine.

Lee’s daughter has appealed that decision, saying it was based on previous litigation where the court was never informed about what Lee’s attorneys called “the evidence of illegalities, fraud and manipulation.” 

Camsing International and POW! Entertainment are owned by Vivian Lo, a Chinese businesswoman who was accused of a three-year, $1.6 billion fraud scheme against China’s largest hedge fund company last year.

Lee and her attorneys are appealing Wright’s decision, relying on evidence that was not considered by the court. The media coverage of Camsing’s collapse and suspension of trading of its stock has emphasized the use of Stan Lee’s name in furthering the criminal activity, the attorneys said.

“In our appeal, we will prove to the court how Camsing, a known Chinese criminal enterprise, fraudulently acquired POW! Entertainment, the company founded by Stan Lee and Gill Champion,” JC Lee said. “Furthermore, we will prove that my dad’s former trusted business partner, Gill Champion, aided and abetted Camsing in an act of betrayal and an illegal acquisition.” 

This acquisition is also now the subject of a POW! Entertainment shareholder class-action lawsuit alleging various illegalities in connection with the acquisition by Camsing engineered by Champion.

The estate’s counsel will appeal the action by the court with the hope of focusing the court’s attention on all of the evidence supporting the allegations of fraud and illegalities perpetrated against Stan Lee by Camsing International and POW’s co-founder, Champion, which has been ignored and unreasonably sanctioned by the court, the estate’s attorneys said.

JC Lee said she is on a mission to seek justice to recover and protect her father’s legacy. 

“These stories and characters are not only loved by the world, but I am missing my family as these characters are my brothers and sisters,” she said. “I feel like I have been robbed in the most hurtful way from all of his fans and I want to reach out to all of his fans and tell them about the real Stan Lee. 

“I miss Spider-Man and the rest of my family and I am sure they miss me as I am missing my father.”

By Jerome Cleary

Contributing Writer