Leaf Suing Panini Over Prizm

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It’s been a little while since we’ve had a fresh card company vs. card company throw down.

Drought over.  On Friday, Leaf Trading Cards filed suit against Panini America for unfair competition and trademark infringement, claiming Panini’s new PRIZM brand is essentially a rip off of technology and marketing terminology that Leaf had been using.

2011 Leaf Prismatic

2011 Leaf Prismatic

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Dallas, where both companies are based, alleges that Leaf began using the PRISMATIC trademark in 2011 to refer to trading cards that have “a metal appearance and refract light”.  Leaf Metal Draft was the first product to utilize the manufacturing technique.  Leaf cited a multitude of eBay listings and Beckett references of its PRISMATIC name in staking its claim.

Panini Prizm

Panini Prizm

Leaf claims Panini released its PRIZM product line late last year with basketball and virtually duplicated the “look and feel” of PRISMATIC.  The company also says Panini at one point, even used the term “prismatic” when promoting the PRIZM brand.

PRIZM has become a hit for Panini, with its basketball and football issues both generating interest from case breakers, collectors and in the secondary market.

Leaf says its competitor “flaunted” the use of the PRISMATIC name in its own marketing materials and produced “PRISMATIC parallel” cards.

Court papers say Leaf’s law firm sent a letter to Panini in January asking the company to stop but Panini claimed Leaf had no legal rights to the term.

Leaf is asking for monetary damages in the suit, which you can see here.  Attorney Paul Lesko offers his take on the case and a prediction here.