At the height of its' bloat, the sports card industry had over a dozen companies licensed to make various trading card sets. Topps, of course, is the longest surviving member of that community and has been producing Baseball and other sports cards since the early 50's. In the early 80's they were joined by Donruss and Fleer, and then in 1989 Score and Upper Deck. In the 90's cards were also being produced by Classic, Playoff, Pro-Set, Pro-Line, In-The-Game, Skybox, Action Packed and many others. Not every company produced every sport of course, Pro-Line was an NFL product only, Pro-Set did Football, Hockey and Motor-Sports. Where at the height of the collecting craze, somewhere in the mid-90's there were dozens of sports card companies, today there are three majors, and one of them doesn't do every sport.
Surviving today are Topps, Upper Deck and Donruss/Playoff. UD purchased Fleer, who had already purchased Skybox. Donruss purchased Score and Pro-Set as well as a couple of other companies. Today though, Donruss only has a license to produce NFL cards, while Topps and UD produce all four major sports and many other ancillary sets.
Last year Upper Deck tried to buy Topps, a move which was rejected and is now being contested in court. Last week a judge filed a temporary restraining order against UD because they have included signature cards in their latest product from players who are under exclusive contract to Topps.
So here's my question, what would happen if that restraining order became permament? If UD was enjoined to never distribute those specific cards? The product is all ready to ship, sitting in a warehouse somewhere wrapped up and ready to go. What would happen to that product? Would UD bust the entire shipment to pull out the handful of cards that they would be illegal for them to sell? Would they pulp the entire batch?
Things to ponder.