Major League Baseball Files Suit Against Upper Deck for Trademark Infringement
Major League Baseball has filed a lawsuit against The Upper Deck Company, accusing them of trademark infringement for using MLB logos in their new line of 2010 baseball card products. Upper Deck produced MLB licensed baseball cards from the time of their inception in 1989 up until the January 1st of this year, when MLB opted not to renew their contract with Upper Deck and instead granted the exclusive rights to The Topps Company.
In Major League Baseball's suit against Upper Deck they accuse them of releasing two new baseball card products, 2010 Upper Deck Signature Stars and 2010 Ultimate Collection Baseball, which illegally make use of MLB trademarks. They go on to say that Upper Deck "is on the verge" of distributing a number of additional unauthorized baseball card sets.
Some of the specific alleged violations cited by Major League Baseball against Upper Deck are that they have improperly featured a variety of sport and team logos in their products, and that some of their 2010 product packaging featuring superstar shortstop Derek Jeter, which they believe could possibly confuse consumers due to its similarity to packaging used in 2009 for licensed MLB baseball card products. The lawsuit also includes a claim by Major League Baseball that Upper Deck is in default of more than $2.4 million that it owes to them.
"Upper Deck's current conduct is reflective of a pattern of utter disrespect for the contractual and intellectual property rights of those from whom it licenses valuable trademarks," the complaint said.
Major League Baseball is asking that a judge grant their request to halt the sales of the alleged unauthorized products immediately and award them punitive damages as a result of the trademark violations.
The case is Major League Baseball Properties Inc v. Upper Deck Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-732.