Geek Trivia

Marvel Successfully Argued In Court That The X-Men Were Mutants In Order To What?

Establish The Mutant Registration Act
Protect Trademarks
Ban Copycat Products
Dodge Import Taxes
The Voice Actor Behind Iconic Sesame Street Character Elmo Was Also The Voice Of?
Marvel action figures
Marvel

Answer: Dodge Import Taxes

In 1994, Marvel Comics subsidiary Toy Biz took to the courts in order to argue that the assortment of people that make up the X-Men and the members of the X-Men universe were not, in fact, fully human, but mutants. What motivated them to lodge such an argument? A bid to protect “mutant” as a trademark? A legal attempt at punishing copy-cat mutant-based toy makers and comic book publishers?

None of the above; their argument for the quintessential mutant-hood of the X-Men was none other than a bid to pay a lower tax rate on the importation of X-Men universe action figures manufactured in foreign factories. Under federal trade regulations (the Harmonized Tariff Schedule), imported human-like dolls were taxed at 12 percent, but non-doll toys (including non-human figurines) were taxed at 6.8 percent.

In January of 2003, Toy Biz finally succeeded in arguing that figures from the X-men, Spider-Man, and Fantastic Four comic series were mutated humans and, in doing so, locked in a lower tax rate and the characters’ status as non-humans for a short time. Since then, the Harmonized Tariff Schedule has been changed to eliminate the distinction between dolls and other toys, which are now in the same tax category.