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Disney Lorcana studio calls Upper Deck lawsuit “more of a PR stunt than a genuine legal dispute”

Studio feels “very confident.”

Image credit: Ravensburger/Disney

Ravensburger, the company behind the upcoming trading card game Disney Lorcana, has filed a motion to dismiss the lawsuit brought against it by Upper Deck Entertainment.

The dismissal is in response to a lawsuit filed by Upper Deck last month in which the company alleged that Ryan Miller – co-designer of Disney Lorcana – had “pilfered” an original TCG design and was “aided and encouraged” by Ravensburger to do so.

Within the lawsuit document provided by Upper Deck, the studio claimed that Ravensburger and Miller “seeks to profit from […] stolen property,” connected to a TCG, called Rush of Ikorr, that Miller was reportedly working on for the company before they began co-designing Disney Lorcana. Upper Deck “believes that Ravensburger induced and intended for Miller to breach his obligations so it could capitalise on Miller’s knowledge of the elements of Rush of Ikorr so he could make a near-identical game for it.”

An image of a deck from Disney Lorcana.
Image credit: Prototype shown, subject to change.

The lawsuit outlined the apparent similarities between Rush of Ikorr and Disney Lorcana, with Upper Deck claiming that Miller’s reported involvement in Rush of Ikorr “allowed Ravensburger to gain a competitive advantage.” With its lawsuit, Upper Deck is seeking “general and special damages,” from Ravensburger including preventing the studio from “publicly releasing Lorcana.”

Ravensburger initially responded to Upper Deck’s lawsuit with a statement from Lisa Krueger, senior communications director for Ravensburger North America, labelling the complaint as “baseless claims” that were “entirely without merit.”

Krueger has since provided Dicebreaker with a document outlining the company’s motion to dismiss Upper Deck’s lawsuit, alongside the following statement:

“We’re glad to be moving forward with the legal process and feel very confident in our position. In the meantime, our team is keeping its focus on the upcoming launch. We’re excited to see everyone at Gen Con and can’t wait to see fans begin to purchase this game in our booth.”

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A statement from Brian Lewis, legal advisor for Ravensburger who was reportedly “integral to the introduction of Magic: The Gathering […] secured the initial patents protecting trading card games [and] negotiated the contracts to bring Pokémon to the world,” was provided alongside Krueger’s.

“Ravensburger has an extremely strong case here, and we hope it will be dismissed outright based on today's motion. While we respect the valid intellectual property rights of others, this appears to be more of a PR stunt than a genuine legal dispute. I also want to add that I’ve had the great fortune to know Ryan Miller personally for over 20 years and consider him to be a person of the highest ethical standards,” said Lewis.

The motion itself features three main arguments to dismiss Upper Deck’s lawsuit: that “the court lacks personal jurisdiction,” “Upper Deck’s claims fail as a matter of law,” and “the court should strike Upper Deck’s request for attorney’s fees under California Civil Code § 3426.4.”

An image of a Disney Lorcana deck.
Image credit: Prototype shown, subject to change.

The dismissal motion document includes the statement that “discovery will show Upper Deck’s Complaint to be a strained and clumsy effort to slow down a competitor,” and that “Upper Deck’s laundry-list of claims fails as a matter of law, even under the most basic level of scrutiny.”

In response to Upper Deck’s suggestion that Ravensburger and Miller is making a “near-identical game” to Rush of Ikorr, the motion states that: “even a cursory review of the two games would show that Ravensburger’s game—which is based on Disney characters, and was in the works long before Mr. Miller joined the company—is nothing like Upper Deck’s card game.”

Whilst Upper Deck’s lawsuit outlined how Miller had worked on an upcoming game called Rush of Ikorr before becoming a co-designer for Disney Lorcana, Ravensburger and Miller’s motion to dismiss claims that “Mr Miller never worked on a game named Rush of Ikorr,” with the document stating that the designer was “retained by Upper Deck to collaborate and develop a TCG known to Mr Miller as ‘Shell Beach.’”

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The motion also highlighted, possibly in response to Upper Deck’s claims surrounding apparent similarities between Rush of Ikorr and Disney Lorcana, that “strategies may vary significantly in TCG play, but the mechanics of play include many basic commonalities across games.”

Dicebreaker has reached out to Upper Deck for comment on the motion for dismissal filed by Ravensburger. Update 19/7/23: Upper Deck has now responded to Ravensburger's motion to dismiss the lawsuit, insisting: “We will continue to prosecute this case to enforce our rights and to ensure fair play within the gaming community."

Disney Lorcana is set to be released in a limited capacity at this year’s Gen Con event – which takes place between 3rd and 6th of August – before receiving a wider release on August 18th.

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