Thursday, July 18, 2013

Court Rules That Tucson Man Can No Longer Receive Royalties For His Spider-Man Toy

Posted By on Thu, Jul 18, 2013 at 12:55 PM

A Tucson man is no longer receiving royalties on his "web-shooter" toy patent, according to the 9th U.S. Court of Appeals — for now, anyway.

Back in 1990, Tucsonan Stephen Kimble came up with an idea to replicate the webshooters used by Marvel Comic's Spider-Man — but on a silly-string-shooting, kid-friendly level. He patented it, pitched it to Marvel, was told he'd get compensated if they used it, learned they were passing, and thought nothing more of it...until '97:

Kimble said Tuesday that he only found out after a friend called and “congratulated” him on marketing the toy.

...

Kimble sued Marvel in 1997 for patent infringement and breach of contract. He lost the patent infringement claim, but a jury ruled that Marvel violated a verbal contract between Schwartz and Kimble and that the inventor was due royalties on the toy.

A series of appeals followed, but the two sides settled in 2001, with Marvel buying the rights to the patent for $515,000 and agreeing to pay Kimble 3 percent of “net product sales.” The appeals court ruling said that Marvel ultimately paid Kimble more than $6 million in royalties.

But disputes over royalty calculations flared anew in 2006 when Marvel gave Hasbro the right to “produce certain toys related to Marvel characters.” By that time, new iterations of Web Blaster were being produced and it was also being packaged with other toys.

Kimble sued and Marvel countersued. A magistrate judge found that under a 1964 Supreme Court ruling, Brulotte v. Thys Co., Kimble was not entitled to royalties after the patent’s 2010 expiration date.

The district court ruled that the 2001 settlement between Marvel and Kimble was a “hybrid agreement” made with leverage from patent rights and “transferred inseparable patent and non-patent rights.”

In a “very abbreviated nutshell,” Kimble said, the court said “the patent has expired, so you’re done.”

But apparently, all is not yet lost. According to Cronkite News, "the court reversed the district court’s rejection of Kimble’s separate claim for breach of an alleged verbal agreement and remanded the issue for consideration," and that Kimble might take the issue of his patent expiration to the Supreme Court.

Tags: , , , ,

Comments (4)

Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

 
Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-4 of 4

Add a comment

Staff Pick

With Respect to Plants

A Visual Conversation on Botanical Conservation, Art & Illustration featuring work by the Desert Museum’s Botany Department… More

@ Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum June 4-Aug. 28, 10 a.m.-4 p.m. 2021 N. Kinney Road.

» More Picks

Submit an Event Listing

Popular Content

  1. Obama Administration Asks Supreme Court to Rehear Lawsuit On Immigration Relief Programs for Undocumented Parents, Youth (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  2. Best of Tucson® Voting Ends Next Week: 1,603 of You Haven't Finished Your Ballots (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  3. The Republican Party's Education Platform (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  4. Another Look at TUSD Salary Hikes and Prop 123 (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)
  5. Stash Needs a Home (The Range: The Tucson Weekly's Daily Dispatch)

© 2016 Tucson Weekly | 7225 Mona Lisa Rd. Ste. 125, Tucson AZ 85741 | (520) 797-4384 | Powered by Foundation