Marvel Comics

News & Analysis as of

Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC (2015)

In the 1977 Yale Law School Holiday Pageant there was a skit about the Supreme Court, with a song sung to the tune of Cole Porter's "Another Opening, Another Show" from the musical Kiss Me Kate... ...That parody...more

Check Your Technology License: Payments May Be Unenforceable

Expiration of a patent also terminates the rights to collect royalties on that patent – even if a license contract says otherwise. All businesses are reminded to check the termination date of any patent licensed to the...more

The Supreme Court Again Rejects Post-Expiration Patent Royalties

In Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, No. 13-720 (U.S. June 22, 2015), the Supreme Court, in a 6-3 decision with Justice Kagan writing for the majority, upheld its 1964 decision in Brulotte v. Thys, 379 U.S. 29, reaffirming...more

Rebuffing Critics, Supreme Court Re-Affirms Ban on Post-Expiration Patent Royalties

Fifty years ago, in Brulotte v. Thys Co., the U.S. Supreme Court held that the collection of royalties after a patent’s expiration constitutes per se patent misuse. Brulotte has been widely criticized as economically...more

Supreme Court Upholds Brulotte Rule Prohibiting Post-Expiration Patent Royalties

On June 22, 2015, the Supreme Court issued its decision in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, upholding the rule, first announced in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U. S. 29 (1964), that an agreement allowing a patent owner to...more

The 'Super Powered' Rule of Stare Decisis Defeats Spider Man

The Supreme Court of the United States, in a 6-3 decision, left undisturbed the rule from its 51-year-old decision in Brulotte v. Thys Co. (1964), invoking stare decisis and rejecting arguments seeking to overturn the rule...more

Supreme Court Upholds Ban on Patent Royalties After Patent Term Expiration in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, No. 13-720...

On Monday, June 22, 2015, the Supreme Court reaffirmed its earlier precedent barring royalties on a patent after the patent term expires. Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC, No. 13-720 (U.S. June 22, 2015). Justice Kagan...more

Getting Tangled in the Web of a Hybrid Royalty Clause Part II: Supreme Court Re-affirms Brulotte Decision

In July of 2013, I wrote a blog post about the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal’s decision in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment LLC and its effect upon royalty provisions in hybrid IP license agreements. (...) By “hybrid” I am...more

Supreme Court Leaves Post-Patent Expiration Royalty Rule in Place

The U.S. Supreme Court today in Kimble v. Marvel Entertainment, LLC upheld the longstanding Brulotte rule that a patent owner cannot continue to receive royalties for sales made after its patent expires. In a 6-3 decision,...more

Copycat Characters and the Selective Enforcement of IP Rights

Spring is here with summer just around the corner. While many are preparing for barbeques and boating, others are finalizing plans and perhaps costumes in preparation for Comic-Con (Comic Book Convention) season....more

Supreme Court Shows Reluctance to Overturn Brulotte’s Prohibition on Post-Expiration Royalties

Yesterday the Supreme Court heard oral argument in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises, one of the most important cases on the Court’s docket this term for antitrust and patent law practitioners. As we previously discussed, in...more

Supreme Court to Hear Argument on March 31 Whether to Overrule Brulotte v. Thys, Co.

Fifty years ago, the Supreme Court held in Brulotte v. Thys Co., 379 U.S. 29 (1964) that a license agreement requiring royalty payments for use of a patented invention after expiration of the patent term is unlawful per se. ...more

Solicitor General Argues that Antitrust Principles Do Not Warrant Overturning Brulotte

On Friday the Solicitor General filed an amicus brief in Kimble v. Marvel Enterprises. As we previously noted, in Kimble, the Supreme Court will consider whether to overturn Brulotte v. Thys Co., a 50-year-old precedent...more

Is the Comic Book Character Copyright Infringement Saga Finally Over? - Stan Lee Media, Inc. v. The Walt Disney Co.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit affirmed the district court’s dismissal of a copyright infringement complaint by an entity that has brought similar copyright ownership claims against famed comic book author...more

Supreme Court 2014 Patent Preview

On average, the U.S. Supreme Court historically hears fewer than one patent case each term. For example, in the 14 years between 1982 and 1995, the Court decided only five patent cases. In the seven years between 1995 and...more

Superman Dodges a Bullet: Supreme Court Denies Certiorari in Heirs’ Bid to Reclaim Character Copyright

Close on the heels of the settlement between Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby’s heirs, which ended their dispute over copyright in a number of iconic comic book characters, the heirs to one of Superman’s co-creators, artist...more

Superheroes for Hire? Marvel Comics and Jack Kirby Heirs Settle Character Copyright Dispute

As regular readers of this blog will know, comic book superheroes frequently find themselves at the center of legal disputes over copyright in fictional characters. In many cases, both sides agree that the characters in...more

Supreme Court Corner - Q3 2014

RECENT DECISIONS - NAUTILUS, INC. V. BIOSIG INSTRUMENTS, INC. Patent: Decided: June 3, 2014: Holding: In a unanimous (9-0) opinion authored by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the Court held that the Federal...more

COPPA: New Year, New Requests to FTC For Investigation of Violations

As we predicted in our prior blog post reviewing the key children’s privacy developments of the past year, 2014 is turning out to be the year of enforcement of children’s privacy regulations! The first two requests for...more

Getting Tangled in the Web of a Hybrid Royalty Clause

Frequently, parties enter into IP license agreements in which the licensor grants a license or other rights to a bundle of its intellectual property (patents, copyrights, trademarks, trade secrets, know-how, etc.) pertaining...more

Marvel Prevails in Copyright Termination Case: Famous artist Jack Kirby found to have created his comic drawings as a “work made...

In what can fairly be interpreted as a favorable decision for any business whose success depends upon copyrighted intellectual property, on August 8, 2013, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals issued its decision in Marvel...more

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