Upper Deck hit by Yu-Gi-Oh body blow

Upper Deck has been dealt a blow in its ongoing case against Yu-Gi-Oh owner Konami, losing its trading card distribution deal.
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A Dutch court rejected Upper Deck International’s efforts to be reinstated as the distributor of Yu-Gi-Oh! in Europe and other international territories.

"This is a terrific victory for the legions of Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG Duelists worldwide," said Kunio Neo, president of Konami Digital Entertainment.

"Managing all aspects of the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG business directly - not just in Asia and North America, but globally - will allow Konami Digital Entertainment to strengthen and protect the integrity of the brand throughout the world."

On April 7th, Amsterdam’s Court of Appeal ruled that Upper Deck failed to show that the December 12th, 2008 termination of the distribution relationship between it and Konami for the Yu-Gi-Oh! Trading Card Game in Europe, Oceania and Latin America had been unlawful.

Konami is alleging that Upper Deck has been involved in the distribution of counterfeit Yu-Gi-oh cards in the US.

A California court in February issued a preliminary injunction against Upper Deck, halting its sales and marketing efforts for the Yu-Gi-Oh! trading card game in the US.

The reaction from European arm Upper Deck International, however, points to its autonomy from the US division and says the ruling "does not contain any reference to Upper Deck International BV (UDI) being involved in any counterfeit activities as Konami has never filed any complaints against UDI regarding this matter. UDI strongly condemns any form of counterfeit. Konami has terminated the relation with UDI because of alleged counterfeit activities by Upper Deck Company LLC in North America; even though lawsuits in the USA are still undecided. UDI is a separate legal entity and does not report to UDC LLC..

"UDI has always invested in and protected the Yu-Gi-Oh! brand and the interests of its international community of players and will always continue to do so. Konami recognizes UDI commitment by recently requesting UDI to continue organizing the YGO National Tournaments."

UDI is considering taking legal steps to fight the court ruling.

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