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Trial date set for September regarding Randy Orton tattoo/WWE video game lawsuit

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Following a hearing on February 3, a new trial date has been set for the lawsuit brought by tattoo artist Catherine Alexander against WWE, Take-Two Interactive Software, Inc., 2K Games, Inc., 2K Sports, Inc., Visual Concepts Entertainment, Yuke’s Co., Ltd. and Yuke’s LA Inc.  

The trial is scheduled to take place on September 20 before the U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois (East St. Louis).

The lawsuit, initially filed in April 2018, alleges that all of Alexander’s tattoo work on WWE Superstar Randy Orton is her original designs that she owns and that she has never given any permission to recreate them in WWE videogames.

In the suit, Anderson stated that she performed the tattoo work on Orton between 2003 and 2008 and that they “are easily recognized by his fans and members of the public.”  She also noted that, in advance of the lawsuit obviously, she “submitted applications to register copyrights on each of the tattoos on March 15, 2018.  She also alleged that she has previously contacted WWE regarding material featuring Orton’s tattoos being sold by the company in 2009 and at that time, they offered her a $450 fee for the rights to the designs.  Alexander claimed she turned that offer down and “told WWE that she did not grant any permission to WWE to copy, duplicate or otherwise use or reproduce any of her designs.”

Alexander alleges that by recreating the tattoos in the WWE video games, the rights to her designs are being infringed upon.  She also alleges that Randy Orton does not have any ownership and has no authority to grant permission for the defendants to commit any acts in the Complaint. Orton has not been named as a defendant in the lawsuit. 

In a ruling issued on back on September 26, 2020, Judge Staci M. Yandle ruled that WWE and Take-Two had indeed copied five tattoos that were Alexander’s original work that were tattooed on Orton which she holds valid trademarks on.  The judge did deny Alexander’s request for a summary judgment citing that some of the tribal tattoos Orton has inked would not allow for a judgment, sending it on for a jury trial.  It was also noted that while there is no question that WWE copied Alexander’s works, they have laid out three potential defenses that the jury can decide for itself whether to agree with or not.

Source: PWInsider