DALLAS (CN) – A trading card company sued expected first-round draft quarterback Andrew Luck in state court, claiming it has the right to sell trading cards “with a game-action photograph of Luck taken during the 2008 U.S. Army All-American (high school) Bowl,” despite Luck’s cease and desist letter to it.
Luck, of Stanford, is expected to be chosen first or second in this year’s NFL draft – probably by last year’s dogs, the Indianapolis Colts, who cut loose their star quarterback Peyton Manning.
Leaf Trading Cards, which says it began selling trading cards in 2010, claims the U.S. and Texas Constitutions, “as well as common law and an express license from the party who produces the U.S. Army All-American Bowl,” give it the right to use Luck’s photo on its cards, and sell them.
Luck disagrees, and on April 13, via attorney, sent Leaf a cease and desist letter, according to Leaf’s complaint in Dallas County Court.
Leaf, in high dudgeon, claims: “The Luck Letter fails to mention, much less recognize, Leaf’s constitutional and common law rights to produce, market, distribute, and sell the Luck cards.
“By accusing Leaf of violating Luck’s alleged ‘publicity rights’ and sending the April 13 letter, Luck has created a present and actual controversy between the parties.”
The U.S. Army All-American Bowl began as a high school competition in 2002, according to the complaint. Leaf claims trading cards featuring the Bowl have been produced since 2009. And it claims that “SportsLink, the producer and manager of the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, has granted to Leaf an exclusive license to use the name, likeness, image, and intellectual property of players in the Bowl, including alumni players from previous Bowls. … SportsLink represented and warranted to Leaf in the license agreement that SportsLink has all right, power, and authority necessary to grant the license to Leaf. SportsLink further represented and warranted that it has obtained, or will obtain, written permission from the players to use the intellectual property licensed to Leaf.”
Luck was 18 when he played in the Bowl in 2008, in San Antonio, according to the complaint.
Professional athletes and college athletes, and former college athletes have filed a welter of class actions in the past year, accusing video game makers, the NCAA and others of using their names and images without consent.
Leaf seeks declaratory judgment and costs. It is represented by O. Luke Davis III with Glast, Phillips & Murray.
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