Law of Cards: The Panini and Topps Heavy Metal Battle May End Soon -- or Not

Law of Cards: The Panini and Topps Heavy Metal Battle May End Soon — or Not

The legal battle over Panini's Chromium trademark applications may be heading to a rapid conclusion. Yesterday, Panini asked for more time to respond to Topps' complaint. The reason Panini gave for why additional time is necessary:

"Parties are engaged in settlement discussions"

Legal translation: "We're too busy talking about ending this case to pay attention to the deadlines. How about you move them back?"

If the case does not settle quickly, Panini's filing provides a long, twisting road map detailing how this action will drag on, and on, and on. I mean, the final brief won't be filed until September 8, 2013. And that's before a hearing will be scheduled. That could add up to six more months. And that's before a decision is made after the hearing, which adds another six months. You also have the obligatory appeal that will add a couple more years. And all of this is before either side asks for additional extensions of time (and they will ask for additional extensions of time. It always happens).

So, to put in the obligatory lawyer hedge: Either this case will end quickly, or it'll drag on forever.

But in all likelihood, neither party wants to go down the long road. They are in settlement discussions after all.

It's my bet this case won't make it to September 8, 2012, let alone September, 2013. Heck, I doubt it'll make it to August, 2012. Even though it'll settle confidentially, we'll be able to glean who won because I imagine Panini will file a request with the Trademark Office to abandon its Chromium trademark filings.

Legal translation: In that case, Topps wins.

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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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