Law of Cards: Inside the Collectors Universe v. SaintSoft App Lawsuit

Law of Cards: Inside the Collectors Universe v. SaintSoft App Lawsuit

The mystery of what the Collectors Universe v. SaintSoft, et al. lawsuit is finally revealed!

Legal translation: The court finally published the complaint so the world can review it.

It appears that SaintSoft offers a number of apps that "collect, organize and make available coin collecting information." Collectors Universe's problem with these apps: SaintSoft allegedly utilizes information and images that Collectors Universe says is proprietary, copyrighted, trademarked, etc.

The case is very similar to the MWP Software action that Collectors Universe filed earlier, although that action had a trading card aspect to it as well. This one is focused strictly on coins.

The meaty part of the SaintSoft action is that SaintSoft's owner made some public statements about his apps in a blog that might be used against him and his company:

When I want to check population reports, this is the App I use, it links you directly into PCGS Coin facts, the #1 authoritative source for coin specifications, population and pricing information. I'm a terrible coin grader, but with the help of PCGS Photo Grade, I can open and view comparable coins for every coin I own…Sure, I won the company that wrote this App but heck – don't believe me -> buy the App and then tell me I'm crazy.

That mention of "linking" directly to PCGS Coin facts and PCGS Photo Grade? Those are Collectors Universe's products. So, it appears that SaintSoft's owner publicly admitted to using PCGS (a registered trademark of Collectors Universe) products, to which Collectors Universe allegedly owns "the copyright for all content" contained thereon that should only be available to "paid subscribers."

That's what we call a "bad fact."

The case is very young so it'll be interesting to see what SaintSoft's response is. Although, given how the complaint reads, I imagine this case will wrap up quickly.

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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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