Upper Deck Must Stop Distribution of Certain Sets

In the latest court decision in the Topps vs. Upper Deck battle over the alleged use of copied card designs, a judge will allow Upper Deck to sell its existing inventory of 2009 Series One and Two Baseball, 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball and 2008-09 O-Pee-Chee Hockey sets – but not for long. Upper Deck will then have to stop production and distribution within four weeks and won’t be able to promote the cards that are named in the suit, according to court documents filed June 18.

In the original lawsuit, Topps filed a copy infringement charges against Upper Deck, alleging Upper Deck copied designs used by Topps from sets produced in 1971, 1975 and 1977 (Baseball) and 1979 (Hockey). Topps alleged the cards would “confuse or deceive customers because each of the Upper Deck designs are nearly identical” to the Topps cards. In an earlier statement regarding the lawsuit, Upper Deck said it “strongly denies the allegations and did, in fact, do its due diligence when researching, clearing and securing approvals to use the card designs.” Bernd Becker, Upper Deck vice president of trading cards, called the Topps move a “frivolous suit.”

Well, as a result of the court filing last week, Upper Deck will stop “manufacturing, reproducing, distributing, adapting, displaying, advertising, promoting, offering for sale or selling trading cards” that are substantially similar to the Topps designs in question. Upper Deck will be able to offer its existing inventory through July 16.

In earlier court document, Topps said it wants Upper Deck to destroy the cards and turn over any profits, along with other unspecified monetary damages. In April, a judge turned down a request from Topps to issue a temporary restraining order that would have prevented Upper Deck from even releasing 2009 Series Two and O-Pee-Chee Baseball products.

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