Panini and Leaf Settle Crusade Copyright Infringement Suit - Update

Panini and Leaf Settle Crusade Copyright Infringement Suit – Update

On August 28, I made the following prediction:

Panini and Leaf will settle all of their matters by September 21. In doing so, I believe the LEAF LIMITED action will disappear (likely with Leaf abandoning this application), Leaf will dismiss its oppositions against LIMITED and PRIZM, and Panini will dismiss its VALIANT/CRUSADE copyright complaint against Leaf.

Well, just over a week later, we're about a quarter of the way there. On September 5, well ahead of schedule, Panini dismissed its VALIANT/CRUSADE copyright infringement lawsuit against Leaf with prejudice.

Legal translation: The VALIANT/CRUSADE suit is dead!

Now, who won?

The dismissal documents mention a September 4 settlement agreement that looks to be confidential, so, we’ll likely never know for sure. But, a pretty good way to guess at who won is to look at product on the market.

Currently, there are new Panini Crusade cards on the market. On the other hand, there are no new Valiant cards.

If I had to guess, I wouldn't be shocked if we've seen the last of Leaf's Valiant line.

Too bad.

I wonder if in the settlement documents Panini thanked Leaf for reinvigorating the Crusade brand? Would Crusade have been brought back without Valiant?

Now, for my full prediction to be correct, the three trademark oppositions need to be dismissed by September 21. As of today, they are still pending, but I think that is OK. There is still over two weeks left.

UPDATE (September 10): Today, Leaf withdrew its oppositions at the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board against Panini's PRIZM and LIMITED trademark applications.

Legal translation: Leaf is no longer opposing Panini’s PRIZM and LIMITED trademark applications.

This means three of the four battles between Leaf and Panini are over.

Just one more to go: Panini's chance to oppose Leaf's LEAF LIMITED mark is technically still pending. I imagine this will wrap up soon too with Leaf abandoning the LEAF LIMITED mark. And once that happens, there will be peace across the trading card world -- almost.

There is still one more opposition hanging out there against Panini’s LIMITED application, this one filed by Topps. That is still pending. So let’s just say, there’s a lot more peace out there.

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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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