Ravensburger’s legal advisor Brian Lewis, a veteran TCG law expert who was previously general counsel at Wizards of the Coast, said Upper Deck’s suit “appears to be more of a PR stunt than a genuine legal dispute”.
He said, “Ravensburger has an extremely strong case here, and we hope it will be dismissed outright based on today’s motion.”
Upper Deck’s complaint alleges that Lorcana lead designer Ryan Miller took his work on the company’s previously unannounced game Rush of Ikorr with him when he left in 2020, transporting it to his new employer Ravensburger to create Lorcana.
The 32-page motion from Ravensburger North America and Miller filed yesterday calls Upper Deck’s suit a “strained and clumsy effort to slow down a competitor”, with Lorcana scheduled to be available for purchase at Gen Con at the start of August.
It claims Lorcana was in development at Ravensburger from early 2020, while Miller was only hired by the company in November of that year.
The motion looks to dismiss Upper Deck’s suit on a number of grounds, including the lawsuit being filed in the wrong part of the US, that Miller did not breach fiduciary duty because he was an independent contractor at Upper Deck, and that Miller did not have a non-compete clause in his Upper Deck contract.
Intellectual property lawyer Paul Lesko, who has posted his examination of Ravensburger’s dismissal motion on Twitter, described it as “mostly a dumb motion”.
He said (emphasis is Lesko’s), “The personal jurisdiction arguments are weak… and IF the defendants should win, all it gets them is a new lawsuit in Washington.
“Also, most of the other arguments are easily rectified by [Upper Deck] in an amended complaint… so SOMETHING will survive and go forward.”
He added, “We didn’t learn much of anything other than that development of Lorcana allegedly started seven months before Miller got there.
“That could be VERY BAD for [Upper Deck] and is probably the best (and really only) take home. Because really, if game mechanics were worked out before Miller got there… then there’s no case.
“BUT if game mechanics were different (or nonexistant [sic]) and then after Miller got there they changed to be just like Rush of Ikorr… well… that seems bad for the defendants.”
Lisa Krueger, senior communications director for Ravensburger North America, told BoardGameWire, “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.”
Upper Deck’s 19-page complaint, which can be read here, was submitted on June 7, and includes a side-by-side comparison of a host of elements from Lorcana and Rush of Ikorr it says proves the Disney TCG is a copy of the latter.