Upper Deck is suing board game major Ravensburger over the upcoming Disney Lorcana trading card game, claiming the game’s design was stolen from them by lead designer Ryan Miller.
The complaint, filed today in California, alleges Miller took his work on Upper Deck’s previously unannounced game Rush of Ikorr with him when he left the company in 2020, transporting it to his new employer Ravensburger to create Lorcana.
It says Miller “brainstormed, conceived and invented” the concept that became Rush of Ikorr at the 2018 Gaming Summit in Upper Deck’s offices, alongside other contracted game designers, Upper Deck personnel and senior management.
Upper Deck says it offered Miller the role of lead game designer in 2019, and that he worked on Rush of Ikorr for them until October 2020, when it says he informed the company he was terminating their work for hire agreement.
The complaint says,
“Throughout Miller’s time as lead game designer of Rush of Ikorr, Miller had direct access to Upper Deck’s confidential, proprietary information, including, without limitation, Rush of Ikorr draft rules, concepts, components, designs, marketing strategies, and plans for implementation.
“On information and belief, Miller maintained access to these things even after terminating his relationship with Upper Deck and used, referenced, and/or otherwise relied on them to create Lorcana for Ravensburger.”
“Either before or just after Miller terminated the Work for Hire Agreement, he began to work with Ravensburger.
“After Miller began consulting with Upper Deck on Rush of Ikorr pursuant to his agreements with Upper Deck, upon information and belief, Miller began discussing potential work for and/or employment by Ravensburger, although he concealed this fact from Upper Deck.”
A separate press stamement from Upper Deck president Jason Masherah said,
“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.”
“We want gamers and fans to continue enjoying and having access to unique, innovative and immersive trading card games.
“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.”
Upper Deck’s previous tabletop games have included the Vs System, the World of Warcraft Trading Card Game, YuGi-Oh! and the Legendary Encounters range of deckbuilding games.
Lorcana has become one of the most hotly-anticipated card games of the year. Huge queues formed throughout the three-day UK Games Expo last weekend to try a demo copy of the game.
It is expected to hit retail in August, and is predicted to be a huge draw at Gen Con, North America’s largest tabletop game convention, the same month.
A spokesperson for Ravensburger told BoardGameWire, “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.”
The full complaint filed by Upper Deck is available to read here.