Panini America, who has an exclusive licensing agreement with Kevin Durant, is suing Leaf and its founder Brian Gray over Durant-signed stickers.
Panini, which is alleging tortious interference with contract, claims Leaf and Gray are trying to sell 750 stickers with Durant’s autograph. Panini says it signed an exclusive licensing agreement with Durant in Dec. 2011, granting it the exclusive use of his name, likeness, nicknames and signatures.
“Success in the trading card industry is based, in large measure, on reputation as well as athletes that you have ‘exclusive’ agreements with,” the complaint states. “As a result of these factors, Panini takes its reputation very seriously. Additionally, it has expended significant time and money to have ‘exclusive agreements’ with a number of athletes in the NFL, NHL and NBA.”
According to court papers, Gray had approached employees of Panini to buy the stickers “to keep them off the market.” Gray has alledged to also have said that if the stickers weren’t bought, he would release them to the market for free.
Panini seeks an injunction, delivery of the stickers, an accounting, and exemplary damages.