A $3.95 million federal court judgment against Upper Deck and in favor of anime company Aniplex was entered on November 30th in U.S. District Court in Nevada. The judgment resulted from Upper Deck’s failure to pay Aniplex the sum agreed to in a September settlement of the long-running litigation between the companies. The debt is personally guaranteed by Upper Deck CEO Richard McWilliam.
The settlement came after 14 days of jury trial in September. The litigation was over the anime (and associated card game) Kiba, for which Upper Deck was a sponsor and potential U.S. licensing agent. Upper Deck was also hoping to launch a U.S. card game based on the series. Although Upper Deck Japan was the main sponsor of the series and at one point the company appeared poised to announce that it was bringing it to the U.S. (see “Upper Deck to License ‘Kiba’?”), no announcement was ever made. One issue was the violence level in the series, which made it a tough sell for U.S. TV and for a portion of the CCG demographic.
The anime was licensed for the U.S. by ADV in 2008 (see “ADV Acquires ‘Kiba’ Anime”) and is now sold here by Section 23.
The famously litigious Upper Deck has had a rough couple of years in the courts. Early last year, it settled a lawsuit brought by Konami over counterfeit Yu-Gi-Oh! cards sold by Upper Deck (see “Conditional Settlement Notice Filed”). Also in 2010, it settled a suit brought by Major League Baseball over Upper Deck’s unauthorized use of MLB marks (see “Upper Deck Settles MLB Lawsuit”).
Anyone starting to see a pattern developing?
Time for them to make another high end hockey set (only sport they still have) to pay the bills coming due.
It's unfortunate they are such a mess because Topps not having any competition in baseball has made a joke out of their baseball products. I can't think of highly regarded Topps baseball release in the last 3 years outside of their Bowman Draft Picks and Prospects set.
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