Topps Ring Pop Lawsuit Resolved

Topps Ring Pop Lawsuit Resolved

Most civil lawsuits end, as T.S. Elliot said, “not with a bang, but a whimper." Case in point -- in May, Topps was sued for allegedly marking its Ring Pops with expired patents.

On the surface, the action looked intriguing. Millions of Ring Pops—a childhood treat enjoyed by most—were possibly marked with patents that had been dead for years. These alleged false markings could have stopped competitors from making their own Ring Pops, thereby potentially keeping the Topps' Ring Pop prices artificially inflated.

Topps had some interesting defenses too, including challenges to the constitutionality of the false marking statute, and the fact that Congress was racing in to potentially change the false marking law to help out big businesses and hurt consumers. I even wrote an article about the suit, explaining the basis of the action, what could happen, and possible results.

Since lawsuits move slowly, I decided to not check back for a little over a month. And what do you know? There was action. In late June, the plaintiff's attorney filed a Notice of Voluntary Dismissal.

The relevant portion of the Notice stated:

Blow pop notice insert Image

What? We were looking forward to a long court battle. But, the suit was resolved almost immediately. And by a conversation? That's it? I mean, I was not expecting Casey Anthony-type testimony, but I was expecting more than:

“Hi, how are you? We're Topps, and this is why the case should go away."

“You've convinced me. Sorry for the inconvenience."

Welcome to the world of practicing law. Most times, lawsuits just fizzle out (or melt away like a Ring Pop). More than 90 percent of cases settle, often confidentially so the public never gets to know what really happened.

Here, we at least know that all it took to resolve the case was a phone call or two. That's probably why non-criminal law isn't normally a spectator sport.

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 industry. This information is not intended to create any legal relationship between Paul Lesko, the Simmons Browder Gianaris Angelides & Barnerd LLC 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 the Simmons Law Firm. 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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