MLBPA LogoSteiner Sports LogoSteiner Sports Marketing has been served with a lawsuit by the MLB Players Association that claims the New York-based company is selling unlicensed products of current MLB players and infringing on the MLBPA’s trademarks.

Among the allegations in the lawsuit are trademark infringement, trademark counterfeiting, unfair competition and breach of contract. At issue are some autographed photos produced and sold by Steiner Sports over the past year.

Steiner Sports had a license with the MLBPA that allowed it to produce and sell a line of signed and unsigned photos of active MLB players that featured the MLB Players Choice trademark. That license expired at the end of 2005.

The lawsuit claims the photos sold by Steiner over the past year utilized the association’s MLB Players Choice trademark even though Steiner is no longer an MLBPA licensee, and that Steiner has refused requests by the MLBPA to pull the products from the market. The MLBPA says it sent a Cease and Desist letter to Steiner last year notifying the company it was infringing on the trademark, and claims Steiner officials said they would again apply for a license. The suit says that application has not yet been filed.

Late last year, Steiner offered a number of products featuring signatures of more than a dozen members of the Red Sox. Earlier this year, Steiner announced plans to offer photos of players that also featured a memorabilia element, such as infield dirt from Yankee Stadium. The photos display the Players Choice logo, which the suit alleges are clear violations of its trademark and a breach of its earlier contract with Steiner Sports in regard to its recognition of the MLBPA’s rights.

The suit seeks statutory damages of up to $1 million, as well as punitive damages and compensatory damages that include profits earned by Steiner through the sale of the items in question. Officials at Steiner Sports did not offer an immediate comment regarding the suit.