WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court will decide whether a Spider-Man toy inventor can keep collecting royalties even after his patent expired.
The justices said Friday they will consider a lower court ruling that refused to enforce a licensing agreement between Stephen Kimble and comic book giant Marvel Entertainment.
Kimble sold Marvel his patent in 2001 for a device that lets children shoot foam string from a glove just like the masked super hero. Kimble argued that the agreement allowed him to collect royalties beyond the patent’s expiration in 2010.
But the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said it was bound by a 50-year-old Supreme Court case that forbids payment of royalties after a patent expires. Kimble wants the Supreme Court to overturn the precedent.