Stan Lee Media, Inc. (which isn’t really related to Stan Lee himself, since the company filed for bankruptcy back in 2001), is swinging for the fences. The company filed a $5.5 BILLION lawsuit against Disney, claiming that Disney does not actually own the rights to Stan Lee’s creations, and therefore want all the profits from the massive movie hits that Marvel, and now Disney since they acquired Marvel in 2009, plus a declaration of full control over the characters. This directly affects the Spider-Man, Iron Man and X-Men franchises, and several characters in The Avengers.
This appears to be a continuation of lawsuits that started back in 2007. SLMI claims that when the company was formed, Stan Lee assigned all rights to his characters to the company. But later on, Lee assigned the rights to Marvel, the company he originally created and published all those characters. It all hinges on what Lee actually gave to SLMI – was SLMI created to work on new properties, or to administer the old ones?