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Court News: Card Manufacturers Continue Trend of Being Named in Lawsuits

In the past week or so, Panini, Leaf, Topps and Upper Deck have all been a part of legal proceedings. Just another winter in the current trading card market.

For the average person, a lawsuit is something you really don't want to go through. It's a lot of hassle, legal jargon and, depending on what side you are on, it can cost a lot of money.

However, in the trading card market, lawsuits are bantered about – often between each other – on a regular basis. Half the time it seems personal and you usually never hear the end result because they get settled out of court.

Last week, Topps was sued for a former employee and Panini filed a lawsuit against Leaf over Kevin Durant autographs.

Well, another week and two more lawsuits involving trading card manufacturers. The first is rather predictable, Leaf and its president Brian Gray has filed a counterclaim against Panini stating they had acquired the Durant autographs from another company before Panini's exclusive agreement with Durant came into play. Thus, they can do what they want with them. Leaf is seeking a declaratory statement from a judge and payment of its legal fees.

It seems to me, if you purchase an autograph of someone from a source, it's yours to sell as you like if if was obtained before an exclusive agreement was reached. Why companies like to punish each other in the public spotlight is beyond me when the hobby needs all the help it can get.

And since we're talking lawsuits, of course Upper Deck is involved. According toMLB Properties, the company is way overdue in re-paying past debts from a 2009 licensing agreement, and so MLB has filed suit to make Upper Deck settle the debt. MLB said Upper Deck still owes in the neighborhood of $265,000, plus interest. So that's why they are producing cards of players in their college uniforms.

If you wonder why the new card market has its share of struggles, this is just one example. They can't stay out of court and to pay for those fees, guess what prices go up for consumers?

We'll see what develops next week.

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