Marvel vs. Sony - Another Lawsuit

It's getting ugly! Variety reports that Marvel has begun another lawsuit against estranged partner Sony, this time against the consumer electronics arm--Sony Electronics.
Marvel Files Another Lawsuit Against Sony
Monday, June 30, 2003 7:51 CDT

The Marvel and Sony relationship is getting uglier and uglier. Variety reports that Marvel mounted a new attack on its estranged partner Sony by filing a lawsuit Friday against consumer electronics arm Sony Electronics.

The tortious interference suit, filed in L.A. Superior Court, alleges that Sony Electronics has refused to license Spider-Man for use on its consumer electronic products and that it instructed its sister company, Sony Pictures, not to license Spider-Man to any of Sony Electronics' competitors. As a result, it interfered with the limited partnership between Marvel and Sony Pictures. The suit seeks in excess of $10 million in damages.

The complaint outlines Spider-Man's merchandising success in everything from theme-park rides to children's apparel, with the glaring exception of novelty electronics items such as radios and portable CD players.

The suit also charges that Sony has rejected proposals from competing electronics manufacturers, including Emerson Radio. Given the enormous popularity of Spider-Man, the refusal to license the character for video and computer games clearly harms both Sony and Marvel. The refusal, Marvel charges, stems from Sony Electronics' desire to protect its own competitive position and its inflated retail pricing structure.
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