Comics 2 Film 10/1/01
Reported By Bloomberg.com, 10/1/2001:
According to a report from online financial news outlet Bloomberg.com, Marvel Enterprises is still feeling the sting of the trademark dispute over the Mutant X TV show. As has been reported in the past, 20th Century Fox filed a suit against Marvel and Tribune Entertainment stating that the Mutant X TV show violated Marvel's agreement with the movie studio to refrain from making X-Men spin-offs.
Now Safeco Corp. is suing Marvel over the legal bills stemming from the lawsuit. Safeco is Marvel's property casualty insurer and is currently on the hook for $952,483.37 in fees as a result of the dispute.
The insurer claims that Marvel did not provide information about the suit. "Marvel's failure to provide timely notice without reasonable justification for such failure constitutes a failure to satisfy a condition precedent and vitiates the policy," Safeco's complaint reads.
Thanks to Comicon.com Splash! for the lead.
© Comics 2 Film
SAFECO SUES MARVEL OVER FOX MUTANT X DISPUTE
Dateline: Tuesday, October 2, 2001
A Safeco Corp. unit has sued Marvel Enterprises, saying the property casualty insurer should not be liable for legal bills stemming from Marvel's dispute with News Corp.'s 20th Century Fox over the X-Men trademark.
The complaint, filed in State Supreme Court in New York by General Insurance Company of America, contends that Marvel failed to inform the insurer of a lawsuit filed in April by Fox. That suit said Marvel planned to exploit the success of Fox's X-Men movie by creating a copycat television show, Mutant X.
The insurer says it has been sent legal bills totaling $952,483.37, but only learned about the litigation through media accounts of the dispute.
"Marvel's failure to provide timely notice without reasonable justification for such failure constitutes a failure to satisfy a condition precedent and vitiates the policy," the complaint says.
A Marvel spokesman, Jeff Klein, did not immediately return a phone call seeking comment.
New York-based Marvel and Fox filed competing lawsuits over the Mutant X TV series in April. Fox asked a federal judge in New York to halt production of Mutant X, a collaboration between Marvel and Tribune Entertainment Co.
Marvel launched X-Men comic books in 1963 and sold the film rights to Fox in 1993. In its lawsuit, Marvel contends that Mutant X is different from the X-Men movie and that Fox's licensing agreement only grants it rights to theatrical releases, not television.
The movie, released last year, earned $163 million in receipts. Marvel, which did not receive any of the film's earnings, said sales of its X-Men toys increased as a result of the movie's popularity.
In its complaint, General Insurance said it has not been kept up to date on the progress of the litigation, including the hourly rates of the lawyers hired by Marvel, follow-up documents filed with the court, and information about settlement discussions between Fox and Marvel.
"Upon information and belief, the parties to the underlying action have engaged in settlement discussions," the complaint says. "However, GICA has not been provided with notice of the settlement discussions, their substance or status."