According to Radar Online, Kobe Bryant, has asked a federal judge to issue a restraining order against the sports memorabilia company, Art of the Game. This request comes as a result of Art of the Game selling memorabilia with Bryant's signature. Bryant left Upper Deck in late 2009 and signed an exclusive deal with Panini America.
To determine if their exclusivity had been breached, Panini hired private detectives to buy signed pieces from Art of the Game retail locations. The items included photos and posters supposedly from Bryant. Both Byrant and Panini claimed the autographs in question were forgeries.
The main reason for Bryant to pursue the restraining order is because it prevents Art of the Game from using his name or likeness in connection with their business. The company would also have to hold onto any potential evidence that could be used in a case against them.
Bryant is one of the most widely sought-after autographs in basketball and the centerpiece of Panini's group of NBA spokesmen that also includes Kevin Durant, John Wall and Blake Griffin.
Art of the Game's attorney released a statement saying "Art of the Game's owners have impeccable reputations in the sports memorabilia world and have represented scores of athletes including Muhammad Ali, Sandy Koufax and Joe Namath. The allegations made by Panini are false and the signatures on the memorabilia are Kobe's."