Collectors love Chrome. So much so that Topps has filed a trademark application to protect its brand. While it was initially rejected last summer, the company believes it has a legal right to the ‘Chrome’ name in the trading card industry and is still working to convince the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. After seeing one of those court documents, it’s not hard to understand the depth of their interest.
As first reported by attorney Paul Lesko for Cardboard Connection, Topps revealed in its response to the trademark rejection that it sold a whopping 42 million packs of Chrome-branded products between 2007 and the end of 2011. At four cards per pack, that’s 168 million cards and 1,750,000 boxes.
The numbers work out to an average of 33,600,000 Chrome cards sold per year across the Topps’ sports lines.
In all, Topps says gross sales for baseball, football and basketball Chrome cards amounted to $69 million during the nearly five-year period from March 2007 through the end of last year.
It’s fairly clear collectors have latched onto what Topps’ Director of Product Development Clay Luraschi calls in court papers the “shiny, metallic, luxurious appearance” of Chrome. The cards are actually created with an aluminum particle laminate rather than any actual Chromium.
Topps also used the ‘Chrome’ brand on a Star Wars card set back in the 1990s and uses its long commitment to the concept as part of its argument that it shouldn’t have to worry about competitors using similar phrases. Topps has filed an opposition to Panini America’s request to trademark “Chromium” for its own line of cards on those grounds.
In its response to the Trademark Office, Luraschi also cites after-market sales figures to demonstrate the strength of the brand after its release into the marketplace as well as news stories about the various Chrome issues. There are currently nearly 217,000 listings on eBay for Topps Chrome cards, boxes, sets and cases.