KONAMI DIGITAL ENTERTAINMENT, INC PREVAILS IN LAWSUIT AGAINST THE UPPER DECK COMPANY – TRIAL TO DETERMINE DAMAGES TO START IN LATE JANUARY
El Segundo, CA – (January 13, 2010) – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. (KDE) won a significant victory in its lawsuit against The Upper Deck Company, its one-time distributor of the immensely popular Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG). United States District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank ruled that The Upper Deck Company counterfeited hundreds of thousands of cards from the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, and is liable to KDE for those activities.
“We were confident the court would rule in our favor as our cause was just,” commented Kazumi Kitaue, Chairman of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. “This ruling shows Duelists, distributors and our hobby and retail partners the great lengths we will go to protect the integrity of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG and the products that are on store shelves.”
The Upper Deck Company admitted in depositions to printing and importing to the U.S., approximately 611,000 unauthentic Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards, which violated trademark, copyright and unfair competition laws. The bogus Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards were printed in China during 2007 and imported to the U.S. without KDE’s knowledge or authorization.
Discovery in the lawsuit revealed that employees of the Upper Deck Company, including its Chairman, Richard McWilliam, participated in a 2008 meeting in Mr. McWilliam’s office, where they discussed that the cards made without authorization by Upper Deck did not look authentic enough, and where Upper Deck’s chairman then shredded samples of the counterfeit cards.
Additionally, the court threw out Upper Deck’s countersuit accusing KDE of breaching the parties’ distribution agreement and slandering Upper Deck, ruling that there was no real evidence to support Upper Deck’s claims. Trial on Konami’s claims for damages is set to begin on January 26, 2010, where a jury will consider whether damages are to be awarded to Konami based on the counterfeiting activities, and if so, in what amount.
“Konami is a good company and it was victimized here,” noted Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.’s lawyer Benjamin J. Fox, a partner at Morrison & Foerster. “The court’s orders recognize that. We are very pleased with the decisions so far in this case.”
KDE announced in mid-December 2008 that it would assume responsibility for the distribution of its Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME in territories outside of Asia. As the Court’s recent ruling confirms, KDE’s decision was due to The Upper Deck Company’s involvement in printing unauthentic Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards.
From Konami Press Release
For previous news about this case please refer to this Legal Times: Old and New, Upper Deck Konami and YuGiOh