Law of Cards: Collectors Universe Sues MWP Software over Pro-Coin and Pro-Sports Products

Law of Cards: Collectors Universe Sues MWP Software over Pro-Coin and Pro-Sports Products

Today, Law of Cards welcomes its newest member to the ever-growing list of companies that have brought trading card lawsuits: Collectors Universe!

On Sept. 16, Collectors Universe (CU), the owner of Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA), sued a company called MWP Software and Matthew Perry for copyright, trademark and unfair competition infringement. The full complaint can be seen here.

Wait, wait, wait…Matthew Perry? Isn't that Chandler Bing from Friends?

Probably not, but wouldn't it be awesome if it was?

Anyway, CU's lawsuit focuses on two of its products: CoinFacts and Sports Market Report. CoinFacts is CU's online publication that provides historical information for coins as well as a population report (quick translation: the number of specimens of each coin it has graded) and price guide. It also provides images of some of those coins. Sports Market Report basically does the same thing for trading cards. Both these products are subscription-based.

CU alleges that MWP’s software products, called Pro-Coin and Pro-Sports, infringe its trademarks and copyrights for CoinFacts and Sports Market Report. Allegedly, Pro-Coin and Pro-Sports allow MWP customers to obtain and store content from behind the pay-wall for CoinFacts and Sports Market Report without a subscription.

In other words, CU alleges that MWP allows you to view and use CU's stuff, without having to pay CU.

So, why is Matthew Perry in this suit? Well, it appears that he subscribed to both CoinFacts and the Sports Market Report, and even though these two services have terms and conditions that prohibit republishing data and images contained therein, he's allegedly the one providing all of CU's information and images to MWP's Pro-coin and Pro-Sports products.

It's very early in this case, so it'll be interesting to see what MWP and Matthew Perry's response is…if it gets that far. Of note, Pro-Sports and Pro-Coin are no longer offered on MWP's site, so it just might be that this case is headed for a quick settlement.

The information provided in Paul Lesko's "Law of Cards" column is not intended to be legal advice, but merely conveys general information related to legal issues commonly encountered in the sports industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC or any attorney and the user. Neither the transmission nor receipt of these website materials will create an attorney-client relationship between the author and the readers.

The views expressed in the "Law of Cards" column are solely those of the author and are not affiliated with the Simmons Law Firm. You should not act or rely on any information in the "Law of Cards" column without seeking the advice of an attorney. The determination of whether you need legal services and your choice of a lawyer are very important matters that should not be based on websites or advertisements.

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Paul Lesko is a shareholder at Simmons Hanly Conroy and the chair of its Intellectual Property Department (http://www.simmonsfirm.com). Don’t hold the fact that Paul is a lawyer against him, he’s also a rabid baseball and college basketball fan, and an avid baseball card collector. Paul can be found on Twitter @Paul_Lesko and Google+.

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