Marine Corps PX Ends Sales of Patriotic Playing Cards By US Playing Card Company - Pending Outcome Of Copyright Case
CINCINNATI, Ohio (December 5, 2007) - Michael Faessler, the inventor of Military Playing Cards, gained a small victory this week in his copyright battle against industry giant US Playing Card Company. The case was filed in September 2005, and alleges that USPC copied Faessler’s Military Playing Card line by selling Patriotic Playing Cards in mass retail markets within the military PX system (Faessler v USPC). Faessler has four registered copyrights, and sold his line to the PXs between 1995 and 2001.
This week the legal counsel for the Marine Corps Exchanges sent a letter to Faessler’s attorney, stating,“ the Marine Corps Exchanges have curtailed purchases and sales of the cards at issue until litigation between your client and U.S. Playing Card Company is resolved”.
Faessler commented, “I’m pleased with the response by the MCX. As a military veteran, I have learned that you can always count on Marines to take the honorable path”.
The Navy Exchange Command (NEXCOM) may also be headed in the same direction. Assistant Counsel for NEXCOM, Ms. Melanie Fix, stated in a letter to USPC that, “we are poised to return all of the allegedly infringing playing cards to you from all of our stores for a complete and total refund”. However, to date, there has been no confirmation that NEXCOM has followed through on this statement.
Faessler stated, “I’m dissatisfied with the actions taken by both AAFES and NEXCOM to date. They have clearly participated in the copyright infringement. Testimony by USPC executives states that AAFES and NEXCOM buyers actually told them to produce the Patriotic Playing Cards. We have documents from USPC showing that my confidential pricing and product information ended up in the hands of USPC. The only explanation is that it came from the buyers at those organizations. Yet, AAFES and NEXCOM fail to take even the most basic steps to address or investigate the issues.”
The case is sizing up to be a classic “David v Goliath” battle, with Faessler a military veteran and West Point graduate going up against giants of industry. US Playing Card is a division of the Jarden Corporation (NYSE: JAH), with annual revenues of $5.6B. The military PX system is not yet named as an infringing party in this case, but could be named in a subsequent case for their obvious role in selling the cards. The PX’s have combined annual revenues of $9B.
Documents filed by Faessler indicate they now allege 9 counts of infringement by USPC. By law, statutory damages could be up to $150,000 per infringement, or a maximum of $1.35M for USPC.
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