The relationship between WWE and Panini has turned into a big legal fiasco as WWE terminated their deal with the trading cards company for breach of contract.
Reporter Darren Rovell wrote that Panini still had over two years in their current deal and WWE is now seeking an injunction to prevent Panini from continuing to sell their products.
WWE had already signed a deal with Fanatics to take over the business in 2026 and Fanatics are expected to get the rights immediately.
Meanwhile, Panini filed a lawsuit against WWE in the Southern District of New York saying that the two companies signed a deal in March 2022 for Panini to produce and sell trading cards and stickers using WWE intellectual property.
In the lawsuit, Panini says that “with no warning whatsoever, on August 28, 2023, Panini received a letter dated August 25, 2023, from WWE, purporting to terminate the Agreement for a purported breach of the terms of the Agreement.”
The company is now seeking a declamatory judgment that WWE’s termination was invalid and improper.
Panini says in the lawsuit that at no point did WWE identify any deficiencies in Panini’s performance, complain about a failure to launch certain products or engage in any particular activities, or protest about any alleged failures by Panini and WWE consistently accepted royalty payments from Panini well in excess of the minimum guaranteed royalty payments under the agreement, and praised Panini for tripling the business.
According to the Italian company, WWE claimed that they had not engaged in good faith efforts under the agreement to exploit the licensed rights and demanded that Panini make immediate payment to WWE of the remaining years of contractual minimum royalty payments under the Agreement, alleging that $5,625,000 was “now immediately due and payable to WWE.”
Panini is being represented by Boies Schiller Flexner LLP.