The GeeksverseNEWS | Decision overturned in Ghost Rider ownership case

NEWS | Decision overturned in Ghost Rider ownership case
Published on Tuesday, June 11, 2013 by
[UPDATED] Second Court of Appeals vacates previous ruling on Gary Friedrich Enterprises v. Marvel Characters, Inc., new trial to determine ownership of Ghost Rider character in the offing barring settlement.

Spotlight_5_coverSecond Circuit Appellate Judge Denny Chin has vacated the ruling rendered early last year in a countersuit filed by Marvel Characters, Inc. (MCI) against writer Gary Friedrich, wherein U.S. District Judge Katherine Forrest ruled in favor of the defendant/counter-plaintiff (“Marvel Characters, Inc.”), stating that Friedrich could not claim ownership of the Ghost Rider character nor is he entitled to any compensation from Marvel’s use and exploitation of the character subsequent to its creation apart from monies he had already received for his work writing stories featuring said character. Judge Forrest based her ruling on evidence that Friedrich rendered ownership of Ghost Rider to Marvel by signing separate contracts on two different occasions (one in 1971, the second in 1978), either of which would have been sufficient proof of Marvel’s ownership of the property. However, in today’s ruling, Judge Chin contends that the contracts were “ungrammatical and awkwardly phrased” and did not make it clear that they also conveyed to Marvel the renewal rights to the character. Chin’s decision also brings to light other details that put the validity of the 2011 decision in legal doubt.

Barring a settlement between the two parties, a new trial to determine ownership is expected to begin in short order.

For the full text of Judge Chin’s 48-page decision, click here [PDF]. To read our detailed breakdown and analysis of the original 2011 case, click on the following link: Leaving Proof 72 | Ghost Writer: The Ins and Outs of Gary Friedrich Enterprises v. Marvel Enterprises

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