MLB Properties sues Upper Deck for unpaid trademark lawsuit settlement money


By Chris Olds | Beckett Baseball Editor

MLB Properties, the licensing arm of the Major League Baseball and its teams, filed a lawsuit against Upper Deck in U.S. District Court on Wednesday seeking more than a quarter-million dollars owed to it as part of a previous trademark infringement and breach of contract lawsuit settlement.

On March 3, 2010 (link here), MLB Properties settled its lawsuit with the Carlsbad, Calif.-based company confidentially. The terms of that agreement were part of the court filings this week, showing that Upper Deck had agreed to pay a little over $3 million in damages ($3,065,824.92) via installments throughout 2010. That came after it had used MLB’s logos in a pair of products after losing its license to make official MLB cards beginning in 2010. It had been a licensee since 1989.

According to the filing, $450,000 of Upper Deck’s payments were late as it made several smaller payments throughout 2011. In all,$2.25 million had been paid, however, no payments have been made since June 2011, and MLBP is now seeking at least the remaining $265,824.92 of the settlement plus accruing interest, citing breach of contract in the previous settlement.

MLBP is requesting a trial, the amount owed, covering of court costs and any other relief that the courts deem appropriate.

Chris Olds is the editor of Beckett Baseball magazine. Have a comment, question or idea? Send an email to him at Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.


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  1. Mark 1 March, 2012 at 21:53

    Greed, Stupidity,more Greed, and even more Stupidity. Case study nothing a moron could figure this one out, this is just one company thinking they were above everything else in this world. And I am not calling anyone a moron other than the jack***es at UD. This explains why they have not been answering ther phones or emails. I would venture to quess shortly we will be hearing they are out of buisness…. Just like Fleer a couple of years ago. And the only people that get beat are the collectors. Say good by to all your redemptions boys and girls.

  2. Robert 2 March, 2012 at 03:20

    yes, I would like to see an update of CARD SHARKS that discusses the downfall of the company. I have to think there is fraud or embezzlement going on because it’s hard to think how a company like UD with a lot of demand for their products such that they could charge what they need to cover expenses for each product would end up in cash flow problems that they couldn’t even pay for some of their licensees. I can understand how they’d default on their current legal obligation to MLBP because they hold a lot of “who cares!” licenses.

  3. LAZER_A 2 March, 2012 at 12:05

    Still no box busters on NBA HOOPS???????????? You don’t have it in hand yet? I thought you’d be right on that one. The first NBA basketball product of the year. cmon man

  4. cincyscott 2 March, 2012 at 15:13

    Will you take a post dated check from a third party? I will date it 01-01-2022 sign Richard Nixon

  5. wikipediablackout 2 March, 2012 at 22:07

    Dont worry Lazer, youre not missing anything with that garbage called 2011-12 Hoops.

  6. steve-o 3 March, 2012 at 03:46

    hold it……if they need extra cash-just print up more of that 1990/91 high series french version , hockey…..just trry and remember to change the date this time-so there wont be questions, like before

    geez……you screw lots of people out of their money in the initial start up of company, you fire hundreds of people over the years-most without just cause- ,and you, yes you…..Mr. McWilliams……treat people like scum and make them not feel like a customer at all
    ………………………..AND THIS IS HOW THEY TREAT YOU ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!?

  7. Charlie DiPietro 3 March, 2012 at 08:57

    Business is business. Lawyers are lawyers. Although 99% of US don’t understand the details of what is going on, it is just the way businesses position themselves for their best interests. None of us like hearing the ugly details of the NFL Lockout, the NBA Lockout or Peyton Manning’s employment status with the Colts; however, that’s business.

    All I know is my customers and I love Upper Deck Products. We want all we can get.

  8. LAZER-A 3 March, 2012 at 18:07

    I challenge you, Chris Olds. I challenge you to a match at Wrestlemania. No NBA HOOPS Box Busters????? Now you’ve done it

  9. Aardvark Ratnick 3 March, 2012 at 20:36

    They’ll be around making the best cards in the business for years to come. Nobody wants to collect the crap that ITG or Panini makes, let’s face facts. The children posting in here spend nickels on their product anyways.

  10. chris hoffner 4 March, 2012 at 03:40

    does anyone know when their exclusive with the clc expires? i have been wondering when this liscense expires for awhile now. i hate that only they (ud) can make football cards with the players in their college uniforms. this exclusive has ruined football cards in my opinion. i actually hope they will go out of business so maybe the clc will grant everyone the chance to make cards of the players in their college uniforms. upper deck has took this right and ran it into the ground. how in the heck do you make upper deck, spx, sweet spot etc without the “veterans” in the set? no wonder none of these rookies get tagged with the “rc”. they ruin sets this way. i collect peyton manning in his college uniform and these idiots are the only ones who can make these cards of peyton and they don’t include him in their sets. they don’t include ANY veterans in their sets, just “retired” players. i hate upper deck for this.

  11. steve-o 4 March, 2012 at 13:23

    yeah Aardvark, and if someone doesnt spend millions of dollars with a company (just “nickels”… you say)…….then they have to sit at the kids table come thanksgiving !!!!! LOL

    and by the way……Panini may not be as ‘stellar’ as Upper Deck……but I’d say they have a few people collecting their “CRAP”…..or they wouldnt keep getting all those liscrenses that UD lost & keep printing cards that people are buying !!!!!!!

    hey Chris H. I think upper deck hates themselves too (for getting themselves into this situation……we all know that they learned their lesson and will never do this again !!!! LOL-LOL )……but you are right, they messed up-some good things

  12. joe 4 March, 2012 at 13:48

    Ok…. so all of the autographs in 2012 UD WORLD OF SPORTS appear to be stickers autographs (I personally don’t have anything against sticker autographs, as long as it is done right) and yet there are no whimpering, crying collectors screaming about “I HATE STICKER AUTOGRAPHS” Oh…. wait, that’s right, that only applies to Topps and Panini. The great Upper Deck is exempt. Not even a comment from the Box Busters crew when they opened that garbage. Strange and bias. However when it’s Topps or Panini you and all you UPPER DECK lovers out there make it a point to tell everybody that most of the autographs in their product (Topps and/or Panini) are the dreaded “sticker autograph” and how much they’re disliked and the fact that collectors want “hard signed autograph cards” You nick pick Topps and Panin to death and make it seem as if all Upper Deck products are so much superior. Give me a break. WORLD OF SPORTS uses Microsoft Clip Art for some of their STICK AUTOGRAPHS. PATHETIC!!!! That is the saddest excuss for a sports card I’ve ever seen in my life. Upper Deck has screwed collectors and gamers/children (ie…Yu-Ge-Oh) over and because of that and 2012 World of Sports I have no sympathy for Upper Deck.

  13. Anthony 5 March, 2012 at 00:58

    Oh please Joe, at least most cards are decent looking cards in World of Sports. Some of the cards look weird with the clipart stuff, but those are a small number of autograph cards and in general, the SPORTS cards are nice.. Sticker autos are a pain, but it’s ok cause the product is cheap and you get 3-4 autos a box. So what’s wrong with that? I think it’s total BS for panin to put out a $400-500 product like National Treasures and use sticker autos. Let’s put it into perspective a little…….

    Upper Deck still makes the nicest looking trading cards when it comes to athletes pictures on card. Photos on cardboard. It’s simple, clean and easy. It’s not like panini’s junk with all the lines and fugly borders. Panini’s best cards are re-hashes from previous brands they’ve acquired like Hoops.

  14. Jonathani 5 March, 2012 at 09:45

    I often choose the sharp creativity of Upper Deck over the lack of useful ingenuity in Topps, personally.


  15. Brad 5 March, 2012 at 11:23

    MLB will have to wait in line for payment. I own a Hobby Store and a few weeks I received a certified letter from a law firm, as I once had a UD account they where requesting any payments to be made to them they are trying to collect on a lawsuit filed and won by Endurance American Specialty Insurance Comapny for a sum of $1,160,100.06 plus interest.

  16. Donald 5 March, 2012 at 13:24

    Given all of the lawsuits that Upper Deck has been hit with in the last few years and losing the licenses in three sports, how are they still in business?

  17. joe 5 March, 2012 at 20:57

    Anthony, Let’s put it into perspective a little…… My point is that no matter what Topps and Panini puts out the foirst thing people jump and say “oh my God, sticker autographs” That’s said on every product from the cheap to the high dollor. I love SP Authentic and SPX but there are sticker autographs in that and not a single comment about. My point is be fair. If you are going to complain about sticker autographs then it should be for all companies.
    Let’s put it into perspective a little…… All three companies make some awesome products and all three companies have made some crap.

  18. Shezdoni 5 March, 2012 at 23:10

    They also still owe money to players for Autograph sessions, as well as owing money to Konami, on the counterfeiting settlement for the counterfeit Yu-Gi-Oh cards, and ,

    they also still have a lawsuit, that still has to go to court, that was filed by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, because Upper Deck created cards with his likeness, and inserted them in to their ” Greats of the Game set, after Kareem had denied their request, and told them that they could not use anything related to him.

    I expect to see that settlement go into the million dollar range.

    And don’t forget “RazorGate”

  19. Anthony 7 March, 2012 at 20:12

    I think there have been plenty of sticker debates over the years. What hasn’t been said about them? Why beat a dead horse? It’s pointless.

    I’m not really sure why people want to see the demise of UD. I don’t think their problems are that unique to them. Sure, they’ve shot themselves in the foot a few times, but overall, I think they put out terrific, quality products. It would be a damn shame to see them close shop.

    I’ve more or less come to terms with sticker autos now. It’s here to stay for a while. You can see some companies making a better effort of getting hard-signed autos, and that’s all we can wish for, but takes time and money and I expect to see them in more expensive products. In my opinion though, WoS is pretty cheap and there’s variety and great photos. If there’s anything to complain about, it’s the list of signers. It’s relatively weak. But for the price, I think it’s reasonable. However, I don’t get how Panini can put out $300-500 products and smother it with 20 varients, manufactured patches and sticker autos and have people praise it. I’d rather see Panini RIP.

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