Comic book giant MARVEL has settled its legal dispute with film studio Sony PICTURES over SPIDER-MAN merchandise, after accusing the firm of wrongfully using the character for promotional purposes.

Marvel sued Sony in February last year (03), claiming it had violated an agreement by using the super-hero - played by Tobey Maguire in the hit movie - to advertise other Sony products.

Sony countersued, saying Marvel had itself breached their licensing deal.

But Marvel announced on Tuesday (01JUN04) it had reached an agreement that would give it "additional responsibilities".

Marvel originally sued SONY PICTURES ENTERTAINMENT for $50 million (GBP27.7 million), saying the company had claimed exclusive merchandising rights to the popular comic book character.

It also claimed Sony violated the terms of their commercial pact by using the character to "cross-promote" other Sony releases.

Sony Pictures responded by accusing Marvel of trying to cheat the studio out of millions of dollars through shady accounting practices.

It also claimed the legal action was merely a ruse to enable Marvel to renegotiate the terms of the licensing deal.

The first Spider-Man movie was the highest-grossing film of 2002, making more than $800 million (GBP444 million) worldwide, and the sequel is released this summer (04).

03/06/2004 21:02