The estate of comic book artist Jack Kirby, who is recognized for superhero characters like Iron Man and Spider-man, served 45 notices of copyright termination to Marvel Entertainment to end the grant over his work. Marvel, however, filed a lawsuit in New York District Court against Kirby's estate, arguing that the comic book creations are not eligible for termination, according to ABC News.
Yes, even creative works like X-Men and The Incredible Hulk, which are also attributed to Jack Kirby, can be held as part of an estate. Intellectual or intangible properties such as trademarks and copyrights are extremely valuable assets for artists, like Kirby, and his heirs. A NY estate planning attorney can provide a detailed explanation on how intellectual property may be transferred with or without a will.
Marvel seeks a declaration stating that the comic book creations were "works-made-for-hire." Jack Kirby's estate countersued and is now asking for its own declaration to establish that the termination notices were properly served to the entertainment company. New York federal judge Colleen McMahon will decide on a ruling for this case, which is potentially worth billions of dollars.
Judge McMahon said the estate's counterclaim was valid, but she also ruled that its attempt to get Jack Kirby's original artwork from Marvel is "untimely" and prohibited by the statute of limitations. McMahon also ruled out the estate's claims of a breach of contract by Marvel. The main issue that remains, however, involves the working environment Kirby was in when he and Stan Lee conceived many of the most popular characters in Marvel.
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