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On Tuesday, Upper Deck Panoceanic C.V. and Upper Deck International B.V. card companies have issued an open letter in English and French that asserts that their distribution agreements with Konami Digital Entertainment for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game are still in effect. This letter comes in response to a Thursday press release and a Sunday letter that Konami released to announce its reclaiming of "all operational and business aspects" of the trading card franchise.
Upper Deck acquired the right to produce the Yu-Gi-Oh! collectible card game in March of 2002, just six months after the anime version premiered on the KIDS' WB programming block. That same year, Yu-Gi-Oh! became the top-rated Saturday morning program for boys in several age categories. It also reached US$17 million in card sales in the second quarter of 2002 and became Upper Deck's top-selling product line — even over its long-running baseball card line. That fall, Viz expanded the franchise by making the manga version one of the five titles in the premiere issue of the American Shonen Jump magazine.
Konami said last Thursday that it would immediately take over "distribution and customer support" for the game franchise from Upper Deck and organize new tournament events after a short transition period. Upper Deck responded that it is "still the sole and exclusive distributor for the European territory" and will continue providing the related products.