- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 14, 2009

NEW YORK (AP) - Baseball card maker Topps says it caught a competitor stealing and wants the rival product thrown out.

The Topps Co. Inc. made the accusation Tuesday against The Upper Deck Co. Inc. in a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan.

Topps said baseball cards published this year by Upper Deck and some cards about to be published should be tossed because they imitate the layout and design of cards it printed in the 1970s.

Topps, based in Manhattan, said the 2009 cards already distributed by the Carlsbad, Calif.-based Upper Deck copy the 1975 Topps cards in their layout and design. Other cards about to be sold by Upper Deck imitate the 1971 and 1977 Topps cards, the lawsuit said.

Upper Deck said it “questions the validity of this claim” but didn’t detail its objections.

“We strongly disagree with the allegations and look forward to issuing a formal response,” the company said in a statement.

In its lawsuit, Topps described how it believes Upper Deck mimicked its design with just a few variations.

It said similarities between each company’s cards included the use of a colorful, divided two-tone border, the player’s photograph superimposed on a thin white border, the player’s autograph toward the bottom of the picture and the use of an image of a baseball on a bottom corner of the card.

Topps said its competitor’s cards will confuse or deceive customers because each of the Upper Deck designs are nearly identical to the Topps cards.

Topps asked that Upper Deck be ordered to destroy the cards and turn over any profits, along with other unspecified monetary damages.

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