Gaffed Cards are back from USPC!

Discuss the latest news and rumors in the magic world.

Postby Magic Newswire » 07/04/10 12:49 PM

I posted a comment about this ins SAM Convention thread, but realized that there would be enough interest in this that it was probably worthy of a thread of its own.

At SAM I spoke to Richard "The Cheat" Turner who was at the convention promoting the new 809 Mandolin Back playing cards from USPC. Unlike the 808 Bicycles, the USPC WILL manufacture all gaffs for this deck which were once available for Bicycles.

Here's a synopsis of what Richard told be about the cards which he worked on with Paul Harris:

From Richard (and he goes into more detail in the interview) these were just released on July 1. Murphy's is the exclusive wholesaler for the magic community. Paul Harris worked on the back design with several people that he brought into the project. Same finish as the 808's. They are cut Back to front as all the old cards were at one time. The old style box design is back. Because this is not the famous 808 design, all gaffs will be made available and allowed by USPC. They feel great and it was one of the deals of the convention. Richard was selling a brick for $25 and giving everyone one of his 35 years of cheating DVD's with the purchase

Here's the artwork for the cards and the box:

Image

Image
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 01:21 PM

Magic Newswire wrote:Murphy's is the exclusive wholesaler for the magic community.


Ok, so this is about fleecing the magic community. Now we are told to re-tool all our gaffs and decks to Mandoline. Thank you but no thank you. I wonder how much the decks and the gaffs will cost. I bet they are more expensive than Bicycle. You write that Murphy's will be the wholesaler for the _magic community_. Does this mean that the Mandoline decks will also be sold to the general public at Walmart and Target etc.?
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Postby Magic Newswire » 07/04/10 01:24 PM

According to Richard, yes, they will be "WIDELY" available to the public. In my opinion, this is not about fleecing anyone. It is about solving a problem. It was announced earlier this year that USPC would no longer allow the gaffing of the backs of the Bicycle card (808's) because of trademark and copyright concerns. The release of a deck which most would mistake for a traditional 808 design solves that problem. In addition, going back to the "traditional cut" of the cards fixes a problem that many have been complaining about in that they will faro and generally shuffle as they did before USPC reversed the cut. Johnny Thompson fell in love with them at the convention as well and many others. One other note, Johnny and I were talking about the uneven cut of so many 808's that virtually any deck could be used as a one way. In looking a dozens of these, they seem straight as an arrow.
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 01:58 PM

There is no copyright concern because Bicycles are not copyrighted only trademarked. But even that is a fake argument since they have been producing gaffs for Bicycles for decades. A switch to a new design would not change any damage already done to the trademark. And any further damage could not be inflicted because of past actions already made. Yes, I am quite sure that this is how they try to sell this as a 'trademark' concern but it is purely a marketing idea to increase sales.

Nothing would hinder USPCC to produce well printed and cut Bicycle decks for the magic market, perhaps at a small surcharge on the cost per deck. To use this as an argument to introduce a new 'magicians' brand is funny. Also the fact that one distributor is given an exclusive is very telling and was the point that tipped me off to their underlying motivation.

And who says that the quality of Manolines will be constant and good? Of course, when they introduce the decks they will try to introduce the best quality they can muster. Once we are all hooked they will increase their profit margins and lower their quality standards just as they have with every other brand they produce. Very few here seem to understand the tactics and strategies of big companies.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 07/04/10 02:22 PM

I am not a lawyer, nor do I play one on TV, but i do know that current trademark and copyright law here in the US is broken.

I also may have misspoken in that the issue may in fact be a patent issue. According to statements from USPC in the past, under current law, if they continue to print altered versions of the deck backs, they weaken their legal defense against another company printing knock-off versions that are only slightly different.

I also choose not to see a conspiracy around every corner, These days, you must do everything that you can to demonstrate that you fully intend to protect your trademark. We may just have to agree to disagree on this Larry, but I given my understanding of the situation, I applaud the effort to solve the problem.

I am sure that someone more knowledgeable than I on the legal issues may chime in. Oh.. and don't forget the changes to the box design which has been so hated by magicians that use the box in their work. This design brings it back.

As far as quality control, it is true that we cannot predict the future, but given the energy and resources that has gone into the development of this product, I can't imagine that they'll turn around and reverse the cut or not make an effort to maintain the quality give the motivation behind its development.

Why so anxious? Are you a Card Sharks stock holder? If you really think that the 808's are the best cards ever, I am sure that you can stock up on gaffs and such that are still in inventory and get a good nights sleep.
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 02:46 PM

No stockholder just a tainted product of corporate America. I have worked for too many years in companies like these and grown disgusted by their practices. If you believe just for one second that Jarden (the parent company of USPCC who bought it simply as an investment) who is behind all of the recent changes has any intention to help magicians or 'solve a problem' as you so nicely put it, then you are quite the naive type. There is no problem. The problem was artificially created by USPCC/Jarden to create a new profit opportunity. I have nothing against profit. I am quite the supporter of market economies. Just don't pretend the motivation is anything else.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 07/04/10 02:53 PM

As I said, we will have to agree to disagree. And, you are over simplifying what I have said. There are other parties involved who do indeed have the interests of magicians to think of.

Oh wait, maybe they are ripping us off too!? Maybe Richard should give away copies of Genii? God forbid that anyone should actually make a living that is involved in magic.

If you have a Bridge to sell in NYC or a Tower in Paris that you need to move, give me a call and we'll see how naive I am. Wow... it is hard to lighten up a conversation around here. Everyone is so serious. What a shame. It's MAGIC Guys!
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 03:06 PM

Yes, it is 'only' magic, but it is also big business for some. Just ask Ellusionist how much they and USPCC made on the designer decks they produced. We are talking tens of millions of dollars. And that is the real reason why the Mandolines have been created - to try to force the magic community to re-tool and buy millions of decks at higher prices than the 808s. Wait and see. I guarantee you that the 809s will cost more than the 808s. No doubt about that. Of course, they will give us all kinds of fake reasons why they have to sell them at higher prices. But even if they sell 809s at the same price as 808s, the fact that gaffs will now only be printed with 809s means that we will all have to repurchase our tools. Very clever strategy to clear out inventories and see a boost in sales volume.

What bothers me is that commentators like yourself so easily buy into corporate hype. You should be more critical, look behind the scene, and tell it like it is. No there is no conspiracy. It simply is how to make more money. Very simple and straight forward. Don't give us your hokey pokey goodwill spiel.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/04/10 03:33 PM

the Larry, unless you are a copyright/trademark attorney, I will disagree with your sour view of things. I happen to have consulted a trademark attorney on this issue, and you're wrong, and profit is not the reason this change.

In fact, the change is highly disruptive and could cost folks a lot of money, particularly if there is resistance to adopting the new back design (you never know how magicians are going to behave).
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Postby Smurf » 07/04/10 03:49 PM

Here is something related to this subject posted by Chedawan on learnmagictricks.org. I am very concerned about this change as others are. The specifics he mentions here assuaged some of my anxiety.

"The USPCC WILL still be making rider back Gaff cards. However, they will not make any gaffs that alter their trademarked designs. These are, the back of the card, the ace of spades, and the jokers. So, twilight angels is out, so is the famous ellusionist eight of hearts reveal, because it alters the trademark back design. Dutch loopers, not a problem as long as it doesn't involve the ace of spades or the joker. Falling pips, misprinted colours of pips, 14 of diamonds, all still okay. Marked backs, not okay.

The USPCC will NOT be stopping making rider backs, so no need to 'stock up' however they do seem to be phasing out the old boxes, although you can buy these, I have a stack about three inches high of them folded flat. Double backers will still be produced, as the design isn't altered. Equally double back red/blue will be fine, however red with blue patches won't be.


While it isn't all good news, it still seems that many gaffs that are used by magicians will still be made in the standard 808 rider back. I had been thinking that USPCC was going to discontinue all gaffs for the 808. According to this, that is not true.

Of course, I don't have firsthand knowedge that these things are true. Perhaps someone will be able to confirm or refute this information.

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/04/10 04:05 PM

Larry,

I work for Jardens US sales and marketing representative. My division works directly with their Home Products company as well as USPC. All I can say is that you really have no idea what you are talking about: None. Zip. Zero.

The concern about the classic bicycle backs is legitimate and they were already seeing problems, so thats why they took the steps they took; to prevent future issues. Period. Its not some conspiracy to make tens of millions of dollars on the backs of magicians.

I have their sales numbers, and while I cannot share them, I can unequivocally state that you really have no clue what you are talking about in that regard.

You are clearly not on the inside, so unless you can introduce yourself to me at a meeting with the client and tell me otherwise, please stop making unsupportable suppositions about their motivations.

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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 04:05 PM

I have no problem with Jarden/USPCC trying to squeeze as much money from their customers as possible. That is their responsibility to their shareholders. They have to make as much profit as possible. And thus their creation of an artificial trademark problem and their 'solution of their self-created problem' the Mandoline deck.

My problem is with people commenting on it with statements 'how great USPCC is to solve this problem for us', and commentators repeating corporate hype. It is like tearing down a school and then taking credit for building a new one next door, and silently charging higher tuitions and requiring everybody to buy a new set of textbooks.
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 04:42 PM

I am making observations and interpreting them based on my experience in corporate America. You may have the sales numbers but numbers can be interpreted many ways. And what do sales numbers say about their motivation? Unless you are at the strategy meetings you are simply interpreting things you see just as I am doing. And I am completely fine if you don't agree with my interpretation of what I see. In the end it doesn't really matter what you or I think goes on. Magicians will vote with their wallets. And if the sound of Mandolines becomes the new tune magicians want to dance to, then so be it.
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Postby Jonathan Townsend » 07/04/10 04:46 PM

Folks might want to sit back and wait till they get feedback from folks who play cards at work - till they see the new cards and if they buy them etc.
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 04:49 PM

Dustin Stinett wrote:Larry,
The concern about the classic bicycle backs is legitimate and they were already seeing problems, so thats why they took the steps they took; to prevent future issues.


Since Mr. Stinett is the inside man, perhaps you can enlighten us about what problems they were seeing. After decades of making gaffs of all kinds how exactly are they going to turn back time?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/04/10 04:53 PM

They don't have to "turn back time." By ceasing the production of backs that alter the trademark, their attorneys have decided that they will be in a better legal position to protect their trademark. An attorney in this area with whom I've spoken, and knows all about the specific issue under discussion, assures me that this is legitimate and proper (from a legal point of view).
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/04/10 05:02 PM

the Larry wrote:Unless you are at the strategy meetings...


That is just one of the many things I do for/with them.

Your "interpretation" is incorrect because it is based on facts that you are making up. My "interpretation" is based on actual facts.

(By the way, you are correct about one thing, but not for the conspiratorial reasons you imply: Yes, the new cards will retail more per deck. But it's because they will be made in far lower quantities than the classic back packs.)

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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/04/10 05:12 PM

There have been cheaply made cards that come from overseas that too closely resemble the classic back. But, as Richard points out, this decision is not about turning back the clock, its about protecting the future. But with your awesome business acumen Im sure you didnt need to be told that very simple, easy to understand, fact (that I already noted).
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 05:18 PM

And how exactly does not making gaffs protect one from similarly looking knock off cards? How does not producing a back that is half blue and half red protect the original trademark?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/04/10 05:29 PM

OK: Now you are just not reading everything that has already been stated. This is not about double-back cards (where the back design is NOT altered). This is about gaffs that alter the back design (Twilight Angels, etc.). What part of that don't you understand?

You know what; that's a rhetorical question so no need to actually answer. I'm done with you and this thread.
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 05:41 PM

I think I understand. I am talking about a back where half is red and half is blue. From what I read in this thread these will not be made. But it is beside my question. How do any of the gaffs that are not anymore being produced protect the original trademark? I guess this question goes beyond your understanding of the matter. It is beyond your sales numbers and strategy meetings. Perhaps somebody else can answer. Maybe Mr. Kaufman who consulted this trademark ace-lawyer.
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Postby the Larry » 07/04/10 07:09 PM

One other comment regarding the risk they are taking with this new Mandoline deck as was commented above. The risk and investment from USPCC's side is minimal. They are not producing a new product. They are only printing a different back and different case. The cost of the design and plates are tiny. Everything else is the standard process. It is so minor that it is hardly worth mentioning.
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Postby Magic Newswire » 07/04/10 07:39 PM

For anyone interested in the patent issue in ways that may or may not touch upon magic, you might be interested in these links (or maybe not) ;-) :

http://cultureofownership.org/ (This is an interesting blog that I follow which is edited by CNET's Molly Wood from the Buzz Out Loud Podcast)

http://www.amazon.com/Innovation-Its-Di ... 069111725X

http://erikjheels.com/?p=2167

http://money.cnn.com/2010/06/21/technol ... /index.htm
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Postby 000 » 07/05/10 02:01 AM

What if you want to produce one's own deck, will that also only be trough Murphy's? Ditto gaffs?
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Postby Magic Newswire » 07/05/10 11:50 AM

the Larry wrote:Yes, it is 'only' magic, but it is also big business for some. Just ask Ellusionist how much they and USPCC made on the designer decks they produced. We are talking tens of millions of dollars.


I'm dying to know if this is anywhere close to accurate. It is hard to imagine anyone profited from a product directed to magicians. A profit of Tens of Millions seems hard to imagine. I even have trouble believing that they Grossed 10's of Millions.
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Postby El Mystico » 07/05/10 12:28 PM

I'm with you, Dodd.
the Larry - why are you talking tens of milllions of dollars?
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/05/10 12:32 PM

the Larry is a man of grand, agitated pronouncements with no facts to back up his statements.
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Postby the Larry » 07/05/10 01:30 PM

A question doesn't need facts. It is a search for facts which nobody here seems to have. Everybody here is so sure that this is a goodwill action by USPCC/Jarden but nobody understands why they can't make simple gaffs in Bicycle. How does that jeopardize their Bicycle brand? If you can't answer this then you also can't know their motivation. From everything I have read, seen and learned not printing gaffs does not protect their trademark. And vice versa, printing gaffs would not make them loose their trademark. And therefore what they are doing must have other motivations. The only one I can see is to squeeze more money out of magicians. If you have a better explanation then explain. So far you guys have only blown hot air.
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Postby erdnasephile » 07/05/10 01:30 PM

To those who have actually used these: How well do the new Mandolin cards handle in comparison to the Richard Turner Gold Seal decks?
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Postby Joe Pecore » 07/05/10 01:49 PM

I thought I had read somewhere that USPCC is afraid of "Trademark dilution". Printing numerous variations of a trademarked design could lessen it's uniqueness, thus putting their trademark in jeopardy.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/05/10 02:15 PM

Magic Newswire wrote:I'm dying to know if this is anywhere close to accurate. It is hard to imagine anyone profited from a product directed to magicians. A profit of Tens of Millions seems hard to imagine. I even have trouble believing that they Grossed 10's of Millions.

Dodd,

I am only answering this because its you and you know I luv ya like the red-headed freckle-faced step child of my cousins uncles former roommate:

I cannot go into detail (because its my name signed at the bottom of the contract) but for Larrys financial fantasies (the facts that he espoused that he is now backpedaling from) to be true, Ellusionist would have to sell more decks of cards to magicians than USPC (including all their brands and sizes of cards, dice, poker chips, kids card gamesOld Maid, etc.sports team logo cards, super hero cards, etc. etc.) sells in Walmart and Target combined.

As far as his latest question, it has been answered multiple times in more than one thread. But I will try again: There are card manufacturers that make cards that closely resemble the iconic Bicycle back. USPC wishes to prevent stores from importing and selling these cards by using trademark infringement as their defense. However, their lawyers have advised them that a litigant could make the argument that USPC, as a matter of practice, changes that back design, therefore it is not protected. Following that advice, USPC has, as a matter of practice, stopped altering that back. They believe this strengthens their argument should a case need to be litigated. I am unaware of that happening; this is a preemptive move that has not been tested in court. However, I am aware of outlets simply saying okay when asked to stop selling questionable product; no one wants to go to court.

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Postby the Larry » 07/05/10 02:30 PM

USPCC cannot alter the fact that they already printed and sold for many years altered Bicycle backs. That means any wannabe infringer could use that as defense regardless of USPCC now stopping that practice. The precedence has been established and nothing is going to change that fact. Stopping now does not provide any more protection. But I am sure insideman Stinett has the facts just can't seem to interpret them.
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Postby Brad Jeffers » 07/05/10 02:32 PM

Joe Pecore wrote:I thought I had read somewhere that USPCC is afraid of "Trademark dilution". Printing numerous variations of a trademarked design could lessen it's uniqueness, thus putting their trademark in jeopardy.


So how does the printing of the Mandolin deck, which is itself a variation of the trademarked 808 deck, help to solve the trademark dilution problem?
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Postby Bob Farmer » 07/05/10 02:38 PM

To decide who's right, answer this question:

Who has more money to argue their position in court:

1. The Larry.

2. USPC.

3. A user of gaffed cards.
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Postby the Larry » 07/05/10 02:42 PM

Which further strengthens my original point. It has nothing to do with trademark protection. USPCC likely could force a win due to their resources. So why are they stopping printing back altering gaffs? The only reason left is to make a bigger profit.
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Postby Richard Kaufman » 07/05/10 02:52 PM

the Larry, I am tired of your posts on this topic. You refuse to read and understand, and simply keep repeating the same thing over and over. Stop, please.
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Postby AJM » 07/05/10 03:07 PM

Storm teacup

Teacup storm.
Last edited by AJM on 07/05/10 03:09 PM, edited 0 times in total.
Reason: Don't ya just love it when someone gets all worked up over nothin'?
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/05/10 03:59 PM

You know Larry (excuse me, THE Larry), youre right; I admit it: I am actually part of the conspiracy by Jarden to fleece the vast magicians card and gaffed card marketwhich we all know is worth tens of millions of dollarsas recommended by their legal department (whose only concern is further tapping that enormous marketforget the by-comparison miniscule retail and casino markets; thats peanuts and hardly worth their timefor all its worth) even though theyas the legal representation of the new ownership companyknow that they have no legal leg to stand on moving forward because of the practices of past ownership (as so deftly articulated by you; THE Larry) when it comes to protecting their investment. You win!!! You can go have a cigarette now.
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Postby Dustin Stinett » 07/05/10 04:28 PM

Brad Jeffers wrote:So how does the printing of the Mandolin deck, which is itself a variation of the trademarked 808 deck, help to solve the trademark dilution problem?

Brad,

Thats a good question. Apparently USPCs counsel feels comfortable with the differences between the two. Hold up a Bike back to this new back and youll see that they are quite different (particularly the angel/cherub, but the edges are very different as well). But dont forget that this is all just part of a widespread conspiracy to make tens of millions of dollars off the backs ofuntil now (thanks to THE Larry blowing the whistle)unsuspecting magicians.

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Postby Jeff Haas » 07/05/10 05:58 PM

Is the Mandolin back a new design, or a historical design that they pulled out of the archives?
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