Visitors to the GDS last month could see children’s shoes inspired by Spider-Man in the booths of both Leomil and Groupe Royer, creating some confusion. On the eve of the show, Marvel International, an entertainment company which holds the rights to Spider-Man and some 5,000 other characters, announced a major European footwear license with Leomil, covering shoes, boots, slippers and snow shoes, but failed to specify some of the terms and some of the exceptions.

The contract doesn’t cover the UK, where William Lamb continues as Marvel’s footwear licensee for Spider-Man, but it covers the rest of Western and Eastern Europe. It also doesn’t include the rights to the Spider-Man 3 movie due to be released internationally next month, for which Royer already has a contract through May 2008 for certain European countries.

Royer, the large French footwear group that recently acquired Kickers, previously had a licensing deal for the «classic» Spider-Man character, but this one expired last Dec. 31, and since then Royer has had a 90-day sell off period under the deal. That contract is being taken over by Leomil, starting with the Fall/Winter 2007/08 collection under a new licensing deal that includes «The Amazing Spider-Man» and runs until the end of 2009, followed by a 90-day sell-off period.

Leomil says it is negotiating to extend its contract to Hulk and many other characters commonly referred to as «Marvel Heroes.» Royer says it has been discussing an expansion of its own contract to Eastern European countries.

Royer was threatening legal proceedings against Leomil at the GDS, but Leomil said today it had not been notified about any such action. Royer already had a problem with Cortina, the new partner of Leomil, over some shoe designs delivered last September to stores in Germany and France. The French company says it has already sold about two million pairs of shoes being delivered this year under its existing contracts with Marvel.