Baseball card maker Upper Deck Co. is urging a judge to dismiss trademark claims by competitor Topps Co. over the names and images of Jackie Robinson, Lou Gehrig and other legendary players.
New York-based Topps, taken private last year by Michael Eisner's Los Angeles-based Tornante Co, decided to play hardball in June by alleging that Upper Deck's planned line of "Legendary Cuts'' baseball cards featuring eight late Hall of Fame members would infringe on its trademarks.
"The alleged use of the intellectual property is not a 'trademark use' and it is impossible for plaintiffs to establish consumer confusion,'' Carlsbad-based Upper Deck said in a motion to dismiss the case filed this week in federal court in Indianapolis, according to documents obtained by Bloomberg News.
Topps, which has been in business since 1938, is seeking unspecified money damages and a court order barring Upper Deck's use of the names and images, Bloomberg said. The players' names and image rights were licensed by New York-based Topps in March from celebrity-licensing agency CMG Worldwide Inc., according to the complaint. Indianapolis-based CMG has joined Topps in the lawsuit.
Topps was acquired for $385 million last October by the private equity firm formed by the former Walt Disney Co. chief executive and a partner, Madison Dearborn Partners LLC. Upper Deck had been an earlier suitor for the baseball card company.
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