Leaf Trading Cards has responded to the lawsuit filed by Panini America over a sheet of stickers signed by Kevin Durant. The Texas-based card marker and its president, Brian Gray, are seeking a declaratory judgment that it owns the stickers that once belonged to Upper Deck and can do with them as it sees fit. They’re also asking for attorneys fees for having to fight the Panini suit.
In a suit filed last week, Panini claimed tortious interference with its existing contract because it says Leaf and Gray are “willfully and intentionally interfering with the contract between Panini and Durant”. Leaf’s failed bid to sell the stickers to Panini left open the possibility they might try to include them as prizes inside its packs of self-produced products.
Leaf claims the stickers it was seeking to sell to Panini last summer can’t be contested because time factors surrounding Panini’s exclusive trading card autograph arrangement with Durant. Attorneys for Leaf wrote that Panini didn’t strike a deal with the Oklahoma City star until five months after Leaf acquired the sheets of 750 stickers it was trying to sell to them for $35 each. The company believes Panini can’t hold exclusive rights to autographs purchased by another card maker on the secondary market.
Leaf’s counterclaim was filed in Texas District Court.