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Hulk Hogan recalls paying Marvel Comics for 20 years to keep his name.
During a recent appearance on This Past Weekend with Theo Von, WWE Hall of Famer Hulk Hogan recalled how Vince McMahon Sr. gave him his name to represent Irish Americans. However, Marvel Comics eventually reached out and claimed Hogan and WWE were infringing on their trademark for the comic character known as The Incredible Hulk.
“Vince gave me the name, now Vince [Sr.] dies,” Hogan recalled. “Vince, his son, takes over. Right when Hulk Hogan takes off, we get a call from Marvel Comics. ‘You’re infringing on our mark. Reasonably similar. We’re going to sue you, put you in litigation.’ We went ahead and let them have the name, didn’t license the name. I only had to pay them one-tenth of 1%. So out of a dollar, if I had a penny, I only had to pay them one-tenth of a penny. That went from 1985 to 2005, 20 years.
Fair Market Value
Hogan said the deal ended in 2005 and he couldn’t use his name anymore. Hogan went to his attorney and told him to make whatever deal he could to keep using the name. Eventually, Hogan got a one-year extension but now had to pay 30% of everything he made. However, if Marvel sold the rights to the name, Hogan would get the first shot at buying it from them at a fair market value.
“All of a sudden, Marvel Comics gets in a bitch-fest with WWE about intellectual properties, they can’t re-air old Hulk Hogan matches,” Hogan explained. “Marvel Comics lost. They owed Vince $35 million. But they made a huge mistake. They said, ‘No, instead of paying $35 million, how about we give you the Hulk Hogan name.’ I heard about it and went, ‘You guys screwed up now.’
“Now, I don’t have to pay $35 million for the name. You have to sell it for me for fair money value,’ which is only $750,000. I bought the name back. Vince wanted to buy the name from me. [I told him] ‘Nah, I got this one.’ I bought the name back and I own everything. There’s not many guys that can say that.”
Hogan got the rights to his name but Marvel did have a bit of fun at his expense. Marvel Comics Presents issue #45 (published February 1990) featured a “Hulk vs. Hulk” storyline where The Incredible Hulk (Bruce Banner) took umbrage with Hogan using his name. The Hulk beat up Hogan in a wrestling match and threw him through the roof, telling him he picked the wrong name to use.
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