US: Court finds Upper Deck guilty in Yu-Gi-Oh case

Konami has won a victory in lawsuit as Upper Deck is found guilty of distributing counterfeit product.
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United States District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank ruled that The Upper Deck Company counterfeited cards from the Yu-Gi-Oh TCG, and is liable to Konami Digital Entertainment (KDE) for those activities.

Kazumi Kitaue, chairman of Konami Digital Entertainment commented: "We were confident the court would rule in our favour as our cause was just.

"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 US, 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 US without KDE's knowledge or authorisation.

The lawsuit also revealed that employees of Upper Deck, including its chairman, Richard McWilliam, participated in a meeting in 2008 in McWilliam's office, where they discussed that the cards made without authorisation did not look authentic enough, and McWilliam then shredded samples of the 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 the claims.

Trial on Konami's claims for damages is set to begin on January 26th, 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's lawyer Benjamin Fox, a partner at Morrison & Foerster added: "Konami is a good company and it was victimised here. The court's orders recognise that. We are very pleased with the decisions so far in this case."


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