Saturday, June 14, 2008

A deeper look into the Topps/CMG/Upper Deck lawsuit

An Upper Deck jersey relic card of Thurman Munson which violates terms CMG and Topps had agreed to in April.

A big thanks goes out to Hand Collated who provided a link to the text of Topps' lawsuit against Upper Deck.

I am unlike most and decided to read through most of the 18 pages provided, however you get the gist of things after the first five or so.

Basically, Topps claims that Upper Deck's producing cards of their exclusive legends (Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Thurman Munson, George Sisler, and Johnny Mize), it will damage the reputation of the Topps company because they will have lied to the public by saying they are the exclusive producer of the said legends' cards.

Another is claim is waged on behalf of CMG saying that the company will appear to have "double exclusively licensed" the rights of the eight players in question and also that they don't "actively monitor and protect its clients' rights" which has the possibility to "seriously diminish" the reputation that CMG has gained over the past 30 years.

Topps announced that it has signed exclusive rights to several deceased baseball legends in April of 2008, and according to the report, outbid Upper Deck for the rights of some of those players.

On page four of the document, there is a section of Topps' exclusive license with CMG from April that states among other things that Topps has exclusive rights to the player's "name, likeness, and/or statistical data on or in connection with the manufacture, production, marketing, distribution and sale of all trading cards including, but not limited to base cards, relic cards featuring authentic cut signatures and/or pieces of pieces of game-used equipment such as bats, jerseys, caps, etc."

An Upper Deck Cut Signature card of Jimmie Foxx that violates an agreement Topps has with CMG.

Yesterday, I proved that Upper Deck is in direct violation of this contract by the production a Rogers Hornsby/Chase Utley dual jersey which violates name, likeness, and game-used sections of Topps' agreement. I also featured a Johnny Mize cut signature card earlier this week when I first heard word of this lawsuit. That card features an authentic cut signature which violates a section of Topps' agreement.

Upper Deck used to have licenses with 14 players that are now Topps exclusives, but those licenses have since expired according to the report.

In the end, Topps is asking the courts to provide them with an "Ex-Parte" order which is basically a temporary restraining order from what I can gather.

Topps makes a valid claim that a temporary restraining order and delay in the product distribution would not hurt Upper Deck at all because the product was already pushed back from a May 22 release date. Topps also agreed to not release any legends product for the next 20 to not gain an unfair advantage.

As I have reported on this blog, there is some question as to Topps' right to produce relic cards of Daisuke Matsuzaka, but I have not been able to find information that proves any wrongdoing.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

is it true that the distribution of all 09 UD baseball products, with the exception of series 1,2 and O-PEE-CHEE have been halted by a judges recent ruling ?