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Comic book writer Stan Lee attends day one of the Alamo City Comic Con at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center on September 26, 2014 in San Antonio, Texas.
Rick Kern—WireImage

The company co-founded by but long since unaffiliated with comic book tycoon Stan Lee does not own the rights to his most famous characters, an appeals court ruled Wednesday.

The 9th Circuit ruled that a federal judge in Los Angeles appropriately dismissed the case in 2012, saying that the Colorado-based company Stan Lee Media Inc. never demonstrated that Lee had given it the rights to his characters.

SLMI was founded in 1998 but declared bankruptcy in 2001. Its shareholders are asserting their claim over Lee’s characters.

“Give the significant value of these franchise, SLMI’s failure to publicize, protect, or exploit its right to profit from the characters establishes that these claims are simply implausible,” the court said.

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