Many of you (meaning those of you that attend Comic-Con) may have seen an article about regarding a copyright case brought against Marvel today regarding its design of the Ironman costume. See links to articles in the New York Post here and Deadline Hollywood here.
Ed’s office served as New York counsel to the plaintiffs who claim that Marvel infringed upon the rights of the Horizon owners and former Marvel employees Ben and Ray Lai. Ben and Ray are famed comic book artists, famous for their work on Radix, which pre-dates and is independent of any work done regarding the lawsuit. (All our Comic-Con readers are now saying “Coool” while throwing devil horn hand signs). Litigation was commenced in 2015 against Marvel in another jurisdiction, which through a series of legal technicalities wound up in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York (Manhattan).
The decision allows the plaintiffs, who launched Radix in 2001 to continue litigation against Marvel. Many experts opined that Marvel would easily have the entire case dismissed. Those experts were proven wrong when Judge Oetken in effect ruled, “not so fast”. It appeared to the Court that many issues regarding “copyrightable elements” required the analysis of a jury to decide whether Marvel infringed upon the registered copyrights of the plaintiffs.
As we have written, lectured and re-iterated till we are “Blue in the Face” no one size fits all rule applies to cases of alleged copyright infringement. Each case must be taken on its own merits and often left for a judge or jury to decide. “Obvious” cases are often not.
Horizon is represented by Jeffrey Wiesner of Stern, Shapiro, Weissberg & Garin of Boston and Ed with his associate Tamara Fitzgerald, were retained and serve as co-counsel in New York. We will keep all of you, both Comic-Con attendees and non-attendees, updated with this case as best we can.