Topps Continues Duel with Upper Deck on ’09 Cards

Topps and its rival were back in court with 2009 Upper Deck designs at the forefront of a continuing battle.

Upper Deck will be able to sell its existing inventory of 2009 Series One and Two Baseball, 2009 OPC and 2008-09 OPC hockey, but the west coast card maker will have to stop within four weeks and won’t be able to promote the cards at the heart of the dispute.

Court papers filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan Thursday and obtained by Sports Collectors Daily reveal an agreement between the two rivals, but also the promise of a future trial. Topps had sought a restraining order back in April, claiming copyright infringement over the release of the new Upper Deck products.

At issue are the designs of cards distributed by Upper Deck that Topps says were stolen from sets it produced in 1971, 1975, 1977 and 1979. The modern cards distributed by Upper Deck do bear a strong resemblance to those sets, but Upper Deck believes it has the right to create and distribute them.

Upper Deck said in the spring that it "strongly denies the allegations and did, in fact, do its due diligence when researching, clearing and securing approvals to use the card designs".

Upper Deck’s current products include cards resembling 1971, 1975 and 1977 Topps baseball and 1979-80 Topps hockey.

Under the agreement signed by attorneys for both sides, Upper Deck will stop "manufacturing, reproducing, distributing, adapting, displaying, advertising, promoting, offering for sale, or selling trading cards" bearing the designs in question while the case remains pending. Upper Deck, however, will be able to continue selling its existing inventory until July 16.

Topps wants Upper Deck to destroy the cards and turn over any profits, along with other unspecified monetary damages.

Related: Topps and Upper Deck in court again (4/09)