Officials with Panini America and WWE CEO Nick Kahn have reached a settlement in their dispute over Panini’s trading card license. What that settlement means, however, isn’t known just yet.
U.S. District Court Judge Lorna Schofield ordered the case to be dismissed Wednesday, following a filing by attorneys for the two sides on Tuesday, indicating that there was a settlement in principle.
On August 25, WWE notified Panini America that it was terminating the four-year licensing deal it had agreed to in January of 2022, stating Panini wasn’t delivering everything it should be under terms of the deal. WWE claimed Panini wasn’t producing trading card games or the right quantity of digital trading cards and indicated it planned to move its card license to Fanatics two years ahead of schedule.
Panini disagreed with WWE’s reasons for trying to end their deal and sued WWE in a Tampa, FL federal court in an attempt to stop it. WWE then filed an injunction to put a hold on Panini’s production and distribution of additional WWE card products.
Court documents filed Tuesday indicate Panini CEO Mark Warsop and Elisabetta Mussini, Group Licensing Director for Panini S.p.A. conferred multiple times between October 3 and November 13, eventually exchanging settlement proposals and counterproposals. Attorneys for both sides also spoke regularly by phone in an attempt to settle their differences. Those discussions have led to a settlement, but the details haven’t yet been announced so it’s not known which company will be producing WWE trading cards in 2024. We’ve reached out to try and ascertain that information.
Panini’s Donruss Elite, scheduled for arrive next week, is the only WWE trading card product currently on the release calendar.
Panini’s WWE license had been scheduled to run through December of 2025. WWE announced in March of 2022 that the Fanatics had been awarded the next license.
Similarly, Fanatics and Panini have also been at war over the NFLPA’s attempts to terminate its deal well ahead of the Fanatics takeover.