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Konami Claims Upper Deck Counterfeited Yu-Gi-Oh! Cards

posted on by Egan Loo
Game maker amends suit against Vintage Sports Cards to add former partner

The Konami game maker filed an amended complaint to its lawsuit against the Vintage Sports Cards reseller over the trading card game (TCG) based on the Yu-Gi-Oh! manga on December 11. In the amended lawsuit, Konami alleges that its former partner Upper Deck "distributed and currently is distributing to Vintage and others counterfeit reproductions of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG's 'Rare Cards.'" The allegations include counterfeiting, trademark infringement, unfair competition, copyright infringement, and breach of contract.

Konami Digital Entertainment and its Japanese parent Konami Corporation had filed the original lawsuit on October 8. At the time, only Vintage had been identified by name as a defendant. The original lawsuit had listed "Does 1-10" for the additional unidentified defendants, and the December 11 amendment identifies Does 1 and 2 as The Upper Deck Company's operations in California and Nevada.

According to Konami in the lawsuit, Vintage distributes packs of rare cards at TOYS R US and other retail locations, but these cards are purportedly counterfeit. Konami alleges that these cards carry the Konami trademark, but can be distinguished from authentic cards by different hologram foils, font types, and paper stock. (Pictured above is one of the exhibits from the lawsuit.) Konami say that evidence obtained through the discovery phase of the lawsuit had identified "Upper Deck as the source of the 22 counterfeit 'Rare Cards' being re-packaged and sold by Vintage." Konami further alleges that the counterfeit cards diminishes demand for the authentic cards and "threatens to undermine the integrity of the game (including, e.g., tournament play by Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG game players) by flooding the market with purportedly Rare Cards."

Upper Deck had filed a separate lawsuit against Konami in Nevada on December 10. Konami announced on December 11 (the same day it amended its lawsuit to add Upper Deck as a defendant) it would reclaim "all operational and business aspects" of the card franchise. Upper Deck responded that its distribution agreements with Konami Digital Entertainment for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game are still in effect.

A Dutch court ruled on December 24 that Konami cannot terminate its contract with Upper Deck Panoceanic BV and Upper Deck International BV for exclusive distribution of the card game in Europe. An American court also ruled last month against Konami's request for a temporary ban on Upper Deck's operations on Yu-Gi-Oh! cards. After Upper Deck announced that it cannot fill orders for Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game Champion Packs this month, Konami announced that it will release new cards directly to retailers in February and March.

Thank you for Cetus-kun and Pojo.com Forums for the news tip.

Image © 1996 Kazuki Takahashi

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