Upper Deck announced yesterday their lawsuit against competing board game publisher Ravensburger and a previous Upper Deck game designer, Ryan Miller, for allegedly stealing and copying Upper Deck’s original game which Ravensburger repackaged and marketed as Disney Lorcana, which is set to release at Gen Con as Ravensburger’s marquee release for 2023.
“We invested significant time and resources to develop a new and novel trading card game. Our current leadership values the importance of protecting intellectual property of both Upper Deck and its licensors,” said Upper Deck President Jason Masherah.
“We want gamers and fans to continue enjoying and having access to unique, innovative and immersive trading card games,” added Masherah. “We encourage competition in the industry, but also strongly believe in playing by the rules to ensure the gaming community benefits from the different creative choices by each manufacturer.”
The official complaint as filed in San Diego County is against designer Ryan Miller as well as Ravensburger. The legal document states that according to Upper Deck, Miller was under their employ as a freelancer working on a game called Rush of Ikorr that took a year of development. He left Upper Deck before the project’s completion and it continued without him with Upper Deck filing a patent for it this year.
The core of their lawsuit is that Miller allegedly took the mechanics of Rush of Ikorr and transplanted them into Lorcana, and did so in breach of his contract and in violation of Upper Deck’s ownership of his work done under their employ. They also claim that Miller didn’t disclose any discussions with Ravensburger or that he was leaving for a competitor of Upper Deck and that the lack of disclosure constitutes active deception by Miller.
Ravensburger itself is alleged by Upper Deck of not doing due diligence on his hiring or prototype, and that he was “aided and encouraged” in these acts. Upper Deck claims that the production of Lorcana will hurt their own release and provide unfair competition.
Should the lawsuit go Upper Deck’s way, Lorcana would not be able to release publicly as part of the terms laid out by Upper Deck. That initial release was set for Gen Con 2023, and it’s unclear if the suit will affect that timeline.
We reached out to Ravensburger for comment, and got this response from an official spokesman: “Ravensburger has not been served with a complaint and thus cannot speculate on potential legal matters. We at Ravensburger stand behind the integrity of our team and the originality of our products.”
UPDATE: Sr. Communications Director, Ravensburger North America Lisa Krueger has sent along an updated statement: “We at Ravensburger stand behind the integrity of our team and the originality of our products. The baseless claims filed this week are entirely without merit, and we look forward to proving this in due time. In the meantime, our focus continues to be on developing and launching a fantastic game in August.”
As this is a developing story we will update it as new details and development come to light.
Images via Ravensburger and Upper Deck
Have strong thoughts about this piece you need to share? Or maybe there’s something else on your mind you’re wanting to talk about with fellow Fandomentals? Head on over to our Community server to join in the conversation!