Sports News

Major League Baseball, Upper Deck settle lawsuit

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Upper Deck Co will pay Major League Baseball Properties a “substantial” sum, plus more than $2.4 million to settle earlier debts, to resolve a lawsuit accusing the baseball card maker of using the sport’s logos without permission, the league said.

The league accused Upper Deck in a February 1 complaint filed in Manhattan federal court of trademark infringement. It sought to stop Upper Deck selling cards that featured various sport and team logos, and to halt unauthorized packaging that looked similar to previous, authorized packaging.

In a statement, Upper Deck said it will continue to sell the three 2010 card sets whose sale the sport had sought to stop. The Carlsbad, California-based company said it agreed not to use Major League Baseball trademarks, including team names and logos, on trading cards “going forward.”

The lawsuit was filed six months after the sport awarded Upper Deck rival Topps Co a multi-year agreement to become its exclusive trading card maker. Topps has sold baseball cards since 1952.

Major League Baseball in a statement called the settlement “a clear and decisive victory.” It said Upper Deck had issued 15 baseball card sets in 2009, and that the $2.4 million was the entire amount owed from 2009.

Topps was bought in 2007 by former Walt Disney Co chief Michael Eisner’s Tornante Co and private equity firm Madison Dearborn Partners LLC.

The case is Major League Baseball Properties Inc v. Upper Deck Co, U.S. District Court, Southern District of New York, No. 10-732.

Reporting by Jonathan Stempel; Editing by Derek Caney