El Segundo, CA – (January 13, 2010) – Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. (KDE) won a significant victory in its lawsuit against The Upper Deck Company, its one-time distributor of the immensely popular Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME (TCG). United States District Judge Valerie Baker Fairbank ruled that The Upper Deck Company counterfeited hundreds of thousands of cards from the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG, and is liable to KDE for those activities.
“We were confident the court would rule in our favor as our cause was just,” commented Kazumi Kitaue, Chairman of Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. “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 U.S., 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 U.S. without KDE’s knowledge or authorization.
Discovery in the lawsuit revealed that employees of the Upper Deck Company, including its Chairman, Richard McWilliam, participated in a 2008 meeting in Mr. McWilliam’s office, where they discussed that the cards made without authorization by Upper Deck did not look authentic enough, and where Upper Deck’s chairman then shredded samples of the counterfeit 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 Upper Deck’s claims. Trial on Konami’s claims for damages is set to begin on January 26, 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 is a good company and it was victimized here,” noted Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc.’s lawyer Benjamin J. Fox, a partner at Morrison & Foerster. “The court’s orders recognize that. We are very pleased with the decisions so far in this case.”
KDE announced in mid-December 2008 that it would assume responsibility for the distribution of its Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME in territories outside of Asia. As the Court’s recent ruling confirms, KDE’s decision was due to The Upper Deck Company’s involvement in printing unauthentic Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG cards.
For more information on Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. or the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG please visit www.yugioh-card.com.
About The Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG
The Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME is the #1 trading card game in the world with over 22 billion cards sold. It is a game of strategy, where players create individual Decks of cards collected from Structure Decks and Booster Packs. Two players engage in a Duel while using cards that represent powerful monsters, magical Spells and surprising Traps. Duelists with well-constructed Decks, dominating monsters, solid strategy and good fortune are the victors in the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG. Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. is the exclusive licensee and rights holder to the Yu-Gi-Oh! TCG in North America and Latin America.
Konami is a leading developer, publisher and manufacturer of electronic entertainment properties and traditional trading card games. Konami’s software titles include the popular franchises Metal Gear Solid, Silent Hill, DanceDanceRevolution and Castlevania, among other top sellers. Konami is also the manufacturer of the wildly popular Yu-Gi-Oh! TRADING CARD GAME, which has sold more than 22 billion cards worldwide. The latest information about Konami can be found on the Web at www.konami.com. Konami Corporation is a publicly traded company based in Tokyo, Japan with subsidiary offices, Konami Digital Entertainment Co., Ltd. in Tokyo, Japan, Konami Digital Entertainment, Inc. in the United States and Konami Digital Entertainment GmbH in Frankfurt, Germany. Konami Corporation is traded in the United States on the New York Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol KNM. Details of the products published by Konami can be found at www.konami.com.
Williams Group Public Relations