Case Update: May 2012
After 2 years of legal dispute between Gary Friedrich and Marvel, Marvel filed a counterclaim against Friedrich in December 2010. Marvel claimed that Friedrich had violated its copyright and trademark ownership when he sold Ghost Rider merchandise.
Both Friedrich and Marvel filed for summary judgment during December of 2011. Judge Katherine Forrest granted the defendant's motion for summary judgement on the issue of ownership of the Ghost Rider character. It was determined that Friedrich had no legal ownership of the character since he was first paid to create the work with a check containing language assigning all rights to Marvel. Furthermore, Friedrich and Marvel had signed a contract in 1978 assigning copyright renewal rights to Marvel.
Regarding Marvel's counterclaim against Friedrich, the court determined that Friedrich had infringed Marvel's copyright and he was ordered to pay $17,000 for profits realized from the sale of Ghost Rider merchandise. Friedrich is also enjoined from future uses of the Ghost Rider character.
Case Update: June 2011
This case has been transferred from the Southern District of Illinois, to the Southern District of New York.
Ghost Rider creator Gary Friedrich has apparently sued a whole host of people, including Take2 Interactive, over his rights in the Ghost Rider character. He claims to have rights to the character since 2001, yet there is a movie, merchandising, video game (that's where Take2 got sucked in), etc.
Sounds like the details are still a little fuzzy, but we'll add this case to our list and keep you posted as we hear more.
In the meantime, read more here.