Stan Lee, the Creator Who Mismanaged His Intellectual Property

Stan Lee died yesterday, November 12th, 2018, and the super-heroes are mourning.

He was a pop culture revolutionary, a writer, an editor, and publisher of superheroes’ stories that where human, complete with self-doubts and fragility who, nonetheless, overcame their flaws to triumph against villains.

He was a prolific producer of wealth, but not for himself.

Films based on his characters have produced approximately 24 billions of dollars worldwide, according to an estimate by The Numbers, a box office data collection site, while his personal fortune is calculated at $50 million.

The paradise of success set in the California 1970’s decorated home where he lived showed signs of trouble. The New York Times published an article based on Hollywood Reporter reports that his valuables have been taken by persons close to Mr. Lee, and money was disappearing.

The specter of elder abuse was raised.

It seems that Mr. Lee underestimated the value of his intellectual property from the beginning of his career since he only collected one big payment from Marvel Comics and did not receive any royalties from the films based on his characters.

Many of Mr. Lee’s income came from public appearances and several attempts to create companies to administrate his characters failed.

Mr. Lee was a victim of bad legal advice for decades, including the lack of an intellectual property expert attorney which prevented him to successfully administer royalties from his characters and the proper management of his wealth.

Read here about the legal battles he fought in his last years.

This story underscores the importance of the creator’s involvement in the administration of the wealth created, and how critical is to involve a good intellectual property attorney before big and costly mistakes are made, no matter the size of your businesses.

The story of Stan Lee is a cautionary tale about how a beloved creator can be stifled of well-deserved wealth.

Questions about intellectual property law? Attorney Marcos E. Garciaacosta is an expert who can guide you offering full services, not only trademark filing. Call us for an appointment at (480) 324-6378, or send us an e-mail to

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