Thursday, June 12, 2008

Topps/CMG Sue UD Over 2008 SP Legendary Cuts

By Kevin Haake

On Monday, Topps and CMG Worldwide Inc., filed a trademark infringement lawsuit in Indianapolis court against chief rival Upper Deck. The five-page suit cites that the California-based company wrongfully used images and player names of 16 baseball legends – including Ty Cobb, Lou Gehrig, Jackie Robinson, Mel Ott, Jimmie Foxx, Rogers Hornsby, Thurman Munson, George Sisler and Johnny Mize – who were exclusively licensed by Topps in an April 2008 agreement.

Under the guidelines of Topps' deal with CMG Worldwide, the company was granted "The exclusive right and license . . . to use the property in connection with the cards [trading cards] as outlined below: Property's name, likeness and/or statistical data on and in connection with the manufacture, production, marketing, distribution and sale of all trading card products including but not limited to base cards, relic cards featuring authentic cut signatures and/or pieces of game-used equipment such as bats, caps, etc., event/milestone cards, advertising and/or promotional cards, game cards, digital/electronic cards and stickers."

The suit states Upper Deck lost the right to use the respective players' information after its original 2005 contract with CMG expired and Topps and CMG came to a new exclusive deal. In the complaint, Topps stated it "would not have entered into these agreements without having the rights to the legends' intellectual property on an exclusive basis."

Upper Deck's Chris Carlin released the following statement earlier today: "Upper Deck has not been served by either CMG or Topps with a summons or complaint, nor has it had an opportunity to fully review the allegations contained therein. Nonetheless, based upon the information available to it, Upper Deck believes that the lawsuit is factually and legally inaccurate. Upper Deck will vigorously defend itself, and pursue all remedies available to it pursuant to the law, in this matter."

The Topps/CMG suit seeks unspecified monetary damages while requesting a court ordered temporary restraining order barring Upper Deck and its distributors from releasing 2008 SP Legendary Cuts a product that was scheduled to go live today.

"When the news broke this spring that CMG had reached an agreement with Topps, we wondered aloud what it would mean for Upper Deck's legends-themed products," says Beckett Media Senior Market Analyst Brian Fleischer. "Specifically, we were curious as to what it would mean for SP Legendary Cuts, arguably Upper Deck's most popular brand. If the product is indeed pulled from store shelves it would leave a serious vacancy in the hobby. Traditionally, SP Legendary Cuts is one of the most anticipated releases of the year."

Historically, the vast majority of cut signature cards released into the marketplace each year hail from Upper Deck's SP Legendary Cuts.

"Obviously, if the product is recalled, cut signature collectors are going to have a much harder time adding to their collections," Fleischer adds. "As of right now, we know that there are 2008 SP Legendary Cuts singles currently available on the market. If the product is recalled by court order, it will, without a doubt, affect the value of those cards that have already made their way to market."

Kirkman’s Invincible Teen Turns 50 in Landmark Issue from Image

Robert Kirkman’s Eisner Award-nominated tale about the son of the Earth’s greatest hero hits a milestone with Image Comics’ Invincible #50 , arriving in stores today!

Kirkman’s Invincible Teen Turns 50 in Landmark Issue from Image

In this double-sized issue, writer-creator Kirkman is throwing a knockdown, drag-out party for his young hero. Inside, Mark Grayson finally takes on his Global Defense Agency boss, Cecil Stedman. Illustrated by series veterans Ryan Ottley, Cory Walker & Bill Crabtree, their long-awaited confrontation will have Invincible fans on their feet. Plus, Stedman’s origin tale, a brand-new Science Dog back-up story and a cover by Ottley & Val Staples make this one of the biggest Invincible events since the series premiered five years ago!

Fans of the Invincible series and anyone who enjoys Kirkman’s work on such titles as The Walking Dead and Battle Pope.

Wedding-Crashing Criminal Team Debuts in DC’s Justice League of America HC Vol. 3: Injustice League

The JLA attempts to recover from a sucker-punch delivered by a new threat consisting of the DC Universe’s greatest villains in the Justice League of America HC Volume 3: The Injustice League.

A wedding is supposed to be a happy day, especially if it’s one for a couple like Green Arrow and Black Canary. Unfortunately, Lex Luthor, The Joker, Gorilla Grodd, Cheetah, Poison Ivy, Doctor Light and a slew of other villains have decided to crash the party. Following an unprecedented attack on the JLA, this newly formed Injustice League manage to take Wonder Woman and other heroes captive. But what’s the Justice League prepared to do about it? The two Leagues collide, and in the end the JLA may ultimately lose one of its own before the fight is done. Collecting the JLA Wedding Special #1 and Justice League of America #13-#16, this HC presents the work of writers Dwayne McDuffie & Alan Burnett and artists Ed Benes, Sandra Hope, Mike McKone, Andy Lanning, Joe Benitez & Victor Llamas and boasts a cover from Ian Churchill.

With so many fan-favorite heroes taking on some of the DCU’s greatest villains in one hardcover, the 144-page, full-color Justice League of America HC Volume 3: The Injustice League should top the wish lists of current fans that enjoy DC’s team-up series or the individual heroes.

Classic Strips Collected in IDW Publishing’s Complete Little Orphan Annie HC Vol. 1!

IDW Publishing revisits the earliest stories featuring one of the most memorable comic strip characters in American history with the Complete Little Orphan Annie HC Volume 1.

Classic Strips Collected in IDW Publishing’s Complete Little Orphan Annie HC Vol. 1!

Edited by Dean Mullaney with a biographical essay by Jeet Heer and over 1,000 of Harold Gray’s daily comic strips – ranging from the first strip published in August 1924 through October 1927 – this HC presents nine stories of the spunky red-headed orphan always able to get out of a jam.

Fans of classic American comic strips won’t want to pass up the opportunity to reread the stories that cemented Annie as a fan-favorite character and eventually a cultural icon, so place your reorders for the 368-page, full-color The Complete Little Orphan Annie HC Volume 1 today!

Super-Heroes Team-Up Against Supernatural Threat in Image/Top Cow’s The Magdalena/Daredevil

Top Cow Productions brings its holy warrior and Marvel Comics’ Man Without Fear together for Image Comics/Top Cow’s The Magdalena/Daredevil, a can’t-miss one-shot shipping this week.

Super-Heroes Team-Up Against Supernatural Threat in Image/Top Cow’s The Magdalena/Daredevil

Writer/artist Phil Hester and artist Ande Parks unite a defender of the Catholic Church and the defender of Hell’s Kitchen for the first time, a meeting capped off by a cover by Hester & Stjepan Sejic. Patience has fought alongside a variety of allies to save the world from evil in the past, but she’s never encountered a tenacious boxer’s son named Matt Murdock. Each hero has fought their share of supernatural villains, but will their combined powers be enough to stop a vengeful demon from settling an ancient score with the Church?

Bringing together two heroes from two very different universes, the 32-page, full-color The Magdalena/Daredevil should appeal to fans of either hero, super-hero crossovers or the contributing creators.