A lawsuit filed by the Topps Co. in U.S. District Court in Manhattan charging Upper Deck with pilfering card designs provided the normally staid Associated Press the opportunity to have some fun with its lead, what with references to competitors caught stealing and trying to get rival products thrown out.
Jocularity aside, it’s serious business for the two card makers, so naturally I’ve gotta look for a way to inject even more silliness into the subject. The AP reported that the suit revolves around Upper Deck’s recent 2009 O-Pee-Chee Baseball(at right) release, alleging that the design of it imitates 1975 Topps Baseball. The action is reportedly also aimed at a couple of issues “about to be sold” by Upper Deck that (allegedly) imitate 1971 and 1977 Topps.
Upper Deck officials are quoted as questioning the validity of the claim and disagreeing with the allegations, adding that they look forward to issuing a formal response.
Me, I would traditionally stay neutral in such thorny matters, unless, of course, the circumstances might present an opportunity for me to profit personally. I am pretty sure this maneuver isn’t technically unethical as long as I announce the underlying strategy in this kind of public forum.
Here’s the deal. I have a real itch to get to New York City to admire my Metsies’ new digs in Flushing and the new Yankee Stadium in the Bronx (Did I mention I wrote a book about the old one?). A subpoena from either the plaintiff or the defense would work nicely, along with round-trip airfare, stipends, etc.
Obviously, I can’t discuss my testimony, but as a self-anointed card expert, collector and even small-time mavericky card producer (O’Connell & Son Ink, 1983, shown here; Does this design remind you of anything?), I feel I have a lot to contribute.
P.S. Additional expenses incurred can be dramatically curtailed. When I went to New York City five years ago to cover the Mickey Mantle Auction at Madison Square Garden, I turned in an expense report of $9.48 for meals. That was for a couple of Nathan's weenies at Grand Central Station for lunch and the remainder for Chinese By The Pound on 34th Street for dinner. I am the ultimate cheap date.