The Panini vs Fanatics (and former Panini employees) lawsuit is ongoing
Most of the paperwork filed through the court so far is standard
A background of how we got here and some thoughts are below.
I’ll have continued coverage on this as things unfold
Right now all eyes are on next Wednesday, May 24th when the battle will truly begin. Later that evening, I’ll share my thoughts on what happens as well. It’s hard to say how this lawsuit is going to play out currently with most of the documents filed just one side saying “we didn’t do anything wrong” and most motions being filed are purely standard legal practice.
Why is Panini suing Fanatics? Well Fanatics won the rights to the NFL and NBA starting for the 2025 season. Last year, Fanatics also purchased Topps. Allegedly, Fanatics has been poaching Panini’s most valued employees. Hiring your competitors employees is not illegal, but hiring them to take advantage of insider info / trade secrets is maaaybe not as legal. This is why Panini is mad. Panini is also going after a specific 7 employees in the lawsuit.
What specific laws or rules has Fanatics broken? Panini insists they’ve violated Texas Trade Secrets Act. Also, that the employees have broken their NDA’s. Allegedly, one employee said he had no intention some of Panini’s trade secret information.
I am not a legal expert, but this case seems problematic. I’ve browsed the legal documents, read analysis on everything and from what I can tell, there is zero mention of the Panini NDAs in the actual lawsuit. Lastly, unless there is proof that Fanatics targeted specific employees AND wanted their specific trade secrets, that allegation could also be on shaky ground.