MLB Properties issues statement on UD's latest baseball card sets

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4.90 star(s)
Staff member
Sep 23, 2006
MLB Properties issues statement on Upper Deck’s latest baseball card sets

Major League Baseball Properties issued a statement to Beckett Media on Friday regarding a pair of 2009 baseball card sets from Upper Deck that use MLB logos as part of the cards, despite Topps‘ role as the exclusive licensee of MLB.

“We are surprised and disappointed that Upper Deck, a former partner of ours, would violate our contract by clearly using our intellectual property without our permission,” said the statement issued by Matt Bourne MLB’s Vice President of Business Public Relations.

“We will vigorously use all legal means to protect the intellectual property of Major League Baseball and its member Clubs.”

Upper Deck is licensed solely by the MLB Players Association, not MLB Properties. The products that MLB is addressing are 2009 Ultimate Collection and 2009 Siganture Stars, which carry statements that the cards are not authorized by MLB but do not obscure team logos in the photographs.

We’ll have more on this story as it develops.
Just keeps rainin' on Upper Deck. I was wondering if they were going to continue to label all of their 2010 sets as 2009 to try to get around the licensing issue. :)
I seen these products yeasterday at my local shop and figured I would see a statement sooner or later.

This is the samething that happened with Donruss last right?
Ultimate Collection is a beautiful product this year, it's just too bad it was done to tick off MLB and not for the collectors. Signature Stars I wasn't that impressed with. No doubt just like with Legendary Cuts, both products will be pulled.

I can't believe UD could be this foolish, or perhaps they just didn't care about the repercussions.

I think that UD has legitimate legal grounds to stand on. MLB would naturally respond in this way because they aren't receiving royalties and feel entitled.
I do not know what is going to end up happening, but I have to say that the new Ultimate release is one of the nicest sets to release in a LONG time. Teh on-card autos look amazing.
I think that UD has legitimate legal grounds to stand on. MLB would naturally respond in this way because they aren't receiving royalties and feel entitled.

What legitimate legal ground do they stand on? This is different than 1981. MLB (and the other leagues) have been to court and back many times. The rulings have come down in favor of the leagues if the "exclusives" are worded correctly. Topps is the official Baseball card of MLB, just like Bank of America is for banks and Mastercard for credit cards. There are tons of examples and the courts have upheld the rights of the leagues.

Donruss had to settle the lawsuit last year after trying something similar.

Here is a Sports Illustrated article from 2 weeks ago that touches on this. MLB has an anti-trust exemption.

I think Upper Deck made a bad business move and it will cost them.