You remember Iron Man, right? Rich guy, red and gold armor, shows up all the time in movies and TV shows and comic books and toy collections, all of them released by Marvel Entertainment? Well, if you believe one California toymaker's lawsuit, Marvel's in deep trouble, because they don't have the rights to Iron Man. Huh?
Well, the toymaker seems to really be claiming that they don't have all the rights to Iron Man, but it's still just as confusing. Here's what (allegedly) happened: Maxim Tselevich owns a toy company called Box-O-Mania that makes playhouses for kids. Tselevich claims that he went to Marvel in 2009 with a playhouse design and the idea to make different models based on Marvel characters.
In 2010, Tselevich claims he and Marvel made a deal to produce "Iron Man's Lair" playhouses featuring the character, which would then be released in November of that year to coincide with the DVD release of Iron Man 2. The playhouses never happened, and Tselevich claims that's because Marvel delayed the project for months while refusing to provide him with the intellectual property and artwork he needed to finish the design. Then, according to The Hollywood Reporter, Box-O-Mania discovered that the reason Marvel hadn't turned over the artwork was that Marvel "never had rights to license the required Iron Man IP." Box-O-Mania claims they lost more than $33,000 on the playhouse deal, and thus they're suing Marvel for fraud, breach of fiduciary duty and negligence.
Wait, what? There's supposedly a toy based on a Marvel character that Marvel can't make because it doesn't have the rights to the intellectual property? Why? Well, we haven't seen any court documents, and so far it hasn't been publicly explained by either Box-O-Mania or its attorney, so it's rather tough to tell. Marvel hasn't responded to the suit yet either, but of course they're a little busy today with the release of a little movie or something.
Speaking of movies, it does seem a little fishy that a case based on something that allegedly happened in 2010 wouldn't be filed until Avengers week, but maybe Box-O-Mania will hit us with a little clarity to make this sound a bit more legitimate.