Law of Cards: Beckett Files Lawsuit Against...Another Beckett?

Law of Cards: Beckett Files Lawsuit Against…Another Beckett?

It's not as exciting as Upper Deck suing itself in Upper Deck v. Upper Deck, but Beckett Media, LLC has filed a lawsuit against MJ Holding Company, LLC, which is allegedly doing business as Beckett Associates. As Beckett Media's complaint states, "This lawsuit is brought to once and for all put an end to Defendant's clear, willful, unlawful and unauthorized attempts to use Plaintiff's name ("Beckett") and to capitalize on the Beckett name to make a profit within the memorabilia and collectibles industry."

Beckett Media's case is for all intents and purposes a trademark infringement action with a little breach of a contract thrown in there. Basically, Beckett Media states it tried settling the case earlier, but MJ Holding Company/Beckett Associates is exceeding the scope of the settlement agreement. Beckett Media claims that the use of Beckett Associates by another is likely to cause consumer confusion as to whether Beckett Associates is a stand alone entity, or is somehow associated with Beckett Media.

Legal sidebar: To minimize confusion, I was going to refer to Beckett Media as BM and Beckett Associates as BA, but giving the bodily function and A-Team connotations, I'll just stick with referring to both sides by their full name.

Beckett's complaint states that the Defendant purchased Midland Hobby Supplies in 2005, and, in "an effort to gain instant industry recognition, [it] purposefully and illegally associated itself with the good name of Beckett by taking on the name 'Beckett Associates.'" It's Beckett Media's claim that Beckett Associates is doing this to get a free ride on the Beckett name, which is protected with a slew of trademark registrations.

Legal translation: Face it, when someone in the trading card industry says, "Beckett," you know they're more than likely referring to Beckett Media. Hence the lawsuit.

MJ Holding Company/Beckett Associates filed its answer recently, denying everything. With all answers, it's bare bones, so we'll have to wait until later in the case to get more information there. Heck, maybe there's someone there named "Beckett."

Until then, the Battle of the Becketts might be a fun case to watch in the future.

Court Documents for the Case:

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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+.

User Comments

  1. Beckett Media should pay Beckett & Associates to use their name. I really don’t know the last time anyone quoted me a Beckett (Media) price for a card. Beckett Mag was last relevant when VHS tapes were in vogue.

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