Law of Cards: Topps And Gertridge Try Knocking Out Their KNOCKOUT Dispute

Law of Cards: Topps And Gertridge Try Knocking Out Their KNOCKOUT Dispute

The battle between Topps' KNOCKOUT trademark application and Heath Mark Gertridge's KNOCKOUTS AND TAPOUTS trademark registration appears to be at an end.

This is the case where Topps wants a trademark registration for KNOCKOUT. The Trademark Office, however, basically told Topps "no" because Gertridge had a prior trademark registration that overlapped with Topps' application.

Legal translation: Since Topps' KNOCKOUT application covered "trading cards" and Gertridge's prior trademark registration also covered "trading cards," they both couldn’t exist at the same time.

In my last article about this case, Gertrdige answered Topps' petition for cancellation and conceded that he would be OK with Topps getting a trademark registration because he has "no issue with them using for any category of goods."

Which got me to note:

Given Gertridge's "tapout," Topps' cancellation should end quickly, likely with a co-existence agreement between Gertridge and Topps.

Well, it looks like reason (for once) prevails in the trading card world. According to a July 3 filing, Gertridge agreed to amend his trademark registration to only cover "board games, card games, dice games." By doing so, he deleted "trading card games" and "promotional card games" from the registration.

Legal translation: This should eliminate the "overlap" between both trademarks, while still preserving the protection Gertridge needs on his product (since he sells a "card game").

Topps and Gertridge believe this amendment will allow the Trademark Office to grant Topps' KNOCKOUT registration…and all will be well with the world.

The unknown here is whether the Trademark Office will actually go along with Topps and Gertridge. It likely will, but you never know.

It's nice to see two fighting parties in the trading card world come to a reasonable and peaceful resolution. Let's just hope the Trademark Office sees it this way too. If it doesn’t, Topps and Gertridge could be forced to keep fighting…even though they both have tapped out.

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 trading card industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, Simmons Hanly Conroy 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 Simmons Hanly Conroy. 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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