Here’s a quick snapshot of the situation with MLB suing Upper Deck Trading Card Company:
Major League Baseball has filed a lawsuit against The Upper Deck Company, accusing them of trademark infringement for using MLB logos in their new line of 2010 baseball card products. Upper Deck produced MLB licensed baseball cards from the time of their inception in 1989 up until the January 1st of this year, when MLB opted not to renew their contract with Upper Deck and instead granted the exclusive rights to The Topps Company.
In Major League Baseball’s suit against Upper Deck they accuse them of releasing two new baseball card products, 2010 Upper Deck Signature Stars and 2010 Ultimate Collection Baseball, which illegally make use of MLB trademarks. They go on to say that Upper Deck “is on the verge” of distributing a number of additional unauthorized baseball card sets.
Alright, I’m a long ways off the cusp of the trading card industry; but I couldn’t help but take notice as MLB calls out one of it’s mainstays dating back to the days when I was a kid.
Upper Deck got started in 1989. Doesn’t everyone remember that 1989 Ken Griffey Jr. Rookie Card? I sure the hell do. It was the card. It put the Upper Deck company on the map and made them the trend setter in all-things cardboard for card collecting.
The cool kids all had Upper Deck Will Clarks. Other kids all had shitty bent Bowman Kevin Mitchell’s.
Remember when those glossy, new Fleer Ultra’s came out in 1992-1993ish? As cool as they were (and seemed), they failed to put Upper Deck out of the market.
Fast forward to present day, where a lot of money has exchanged hands for these two giants. MLB and Upper Deck should find a way to make this work. There is a lot of money to be made (if kids are still like they were when I was a kid in the late 80’s and early 90’s) if these two sides don’t ruin it all with greed.
Simple solution: come to some type of agreement with a dollar figure involved and allow Upper Deck to do their thing. When I think of baseball cards, I don’t think of Topps. My father’s generation might very well, but I think of the newer, more hip Upper Deck logo pictured above.
If Upper Deck ever goes out of business, I’d have to question the hobby altogether. So would millions of others who grew up in my generation.