Panini America filed a federal lawsuit Monday against a Kansas City man over the use of its trademarks on home-made cards that are being sold on eBay.
Attorneys for the Dallas-based company are accusing Shad Wing of trademark infringement, unfair competition and deceptive trade practices. They say Wing, under eBay user names “claymation123” and “shwi_1160” has been selling quantities of custom-made cards of popular players such as Luka Doncic, Patrick Mahomes and Zion Williamson. Those cards include phrases trademarked by Panini for use on trading cards including “Rated Rookie”, “Rookie Ticket” and “Contenders.”
The suit, filed in U.S. District Court for the district of Western Missouri, asks for Wing’s profits, damages and court costs. It was originally reported on Twitter by attorney and collector Paul Lesko.
Panini’s lawyers say they sent cease and desist orders to Wing through eBay’s Vero intellectual property enforcement program in March of this year. After he didn’t respond, they tried again in August, but didn’t receive a response to the second request either.
In addition to protecting the company’s legal rights, Panini attorneys say the custom cards cause confusion in the marketplace. A partner in a Kansas City area hobby shop told us recently that customers have purchased some of the unlicensed cards, unaware they were not made by Panini.
It’s the second such suit Panini has filed in recent months. Attorneys also filed a complaint in a Northern California federal court against eBay seller Kollectorsvault over trademark violations.
Panini CEO Mark Warsop told Sports Collectors Daily via email last week that the company was aware of the increasing number of custom cards being sold online, many of which violated trademarks for card companies and leagues but couldn’t comment on “ongoing and pending litigations.”
The latest lawsuit is an indication the company has been tracking the most recent violators for months.
The complaint here is just bare bones, and very similar to the Kollectorsvault suit…so not much more to report.
Panini will now begin the process of serving the defendant and beginning the suit in earnest.
Though in all likelihood this case should settle quickly.
— Paul Lesko (@Paul_Lesko) October 1, 2019
Court exhibits from the Kansas City case show examples of the cards in question and an envelope addressed to a Panini employee who appears to have ordered some of the cards for the purpose of the company’s legal case.
Creating custom cards for one’s own use isn’t generally an issue but selling them– especially those that include the use of federally protected trademarks, names, images and logos– is illegal.