The family of comic book artist Jack Kirby and Marvel Entertainment said Friday they have settled a lawsuit over ownership rights to some of Hollywood’s most popular superheroes, including the Incredible Hulk and Spider-Man.
The family had a sought a hearing by the U.S. Supreme Court after losing at the lower court level, but on Friday the parties issued a joint statement saying the case had been resolved. They offered no financial details.
“Marvel and the family of Jack Kirby have amicably resolved their legal disputes, and are looking forward to advancing their shared goal of honoring Mr. Kirby’s significant role in Marvel’s history,” the statement said.
The litigation stemmed from 2009 when Kirby’s four children notified Marvel that they would terminate the right of the company to use the superhero characters, which also included “X-Men” and “The Fantastic Four.”
That notification followed shortly after Disney had acquired Marvel for $4 billion and threatened the basis for the Burbank studio's acquisition of the comic-book publisher.
In response, Marvel filed a lawsuit to establish its ownership rights, and in 2011, a U.S. District Court judge in New York ruled that Marvel owned the characters.
The family appealed the ruling but an appellate court found that while Kirby was not a Marvel employee, his illustrations were done for Marvel, which paid him for the work.
Shares in Disney closed up 67 cents, or a fraction of a percent, to $88.74 on the New York Stock Exchange.