Marvel Owes Stan Lee

The Associated Press reports that comic-book publisher Marvel Enterprises Inc. was ordered to fork over 10% of profits earned since 1998 to Stan Lee, creator of Spider-Man and other famous Marvel superheroes. Marvel will reportedly appeal the decision handed down Wednesday by the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York.

Lee sued Marvel for a share of profits garnered from licensing Marvel characters for movies, television productions and toys based on those projects. Marvel, which says it’s paying Lee an annual salary of $1 million, dismissed his claim to profits based on an employment agreement signed in November of 1998.

While he will get a piece of the action on toys sold by Marvel, he was shot down in his bid to get paychecks from third-party toy makers. A jury verdict will be sought to settle Lee’s claim to some of the profits earned from Spider-Man and Incredible Hulk merchandise generated in partnerships between Marvel, Sony Pictures Ent. and Universal Studios.

It is speculated to Marvel’s revenues for 2004 will weigh in at a hefty $499 million. While Marvel holds that the decision will not affect its financial guidance, the company saw its shares fall 2.9% this morning on the New York Stock Exchange.