Topps and Upper Deck are in court again, this time over alleged card design copying. Topps contends that Upper Deck is imitating Topps' designs from the 1970s in its 2009 baseball products, including Series Two Baseball and O-Pee-Chee. Topps filed a lawsuit against Upper Deck in U.S. District Court in Manhattan on April 14.
However, on Wednesday, April 15, the temporary retaining order sought by Topps against Upper Deck's Series Two and O-Pee-Chee Baseball products was denied by a New York judge.
"Based on the tactics utilized by Topps thus far, Upper Deck questions the validity of this claim,” said Bernd Becker, Upper Deck’s vice president of Trading Cards. “We strongly disagree with the allegations. In today’s challenging economic environment, it seems petty and counterproductive to file such a frivolous suit.”
Leading up to the lawsuit filed, Topps said some of the cards copied the 1975 design, while other cards on the way copied the 1971 and 1977 Topps designs.
Topps said its competitor's cards will confuse or deceive customers because each of the Upper Deck designs are nearly identical to the Topps cards. Topps asked that Upper Deck be ordered to destroy the cards and turn over any profits, along with other unspecified monetary damages.
Upper Deck said it received the necessary legal approvals and proper protocol was followed to ensure there were no infringements.
This is not the first time Upper Deck has utilized card designs that resemble those of older Topps Baseball products. The 2002 Upper Deck Vintage Baseball set featured card designs similar to those of the 1971 Topps set, while the 2003 UD Vintage set used a card design similar to the 1965 Topps set. In 2005, Fleer issued a Tradition Baseball product that had a design resembling the 1961 Topps Basball set. It was one of the last products released by Fleer prior to the company ceasing operations.