September trial date set for federal suit over WWE tattoos in Southern Illinois


Randy Orton enters the ring during Wrestlemania XXX at the Mercedes-Benz Super Dome in New Orleans on Sunday, April 6, 2014. (Jonathan Bachman/AP Images for WWE)

ST. LOUIS- Three years after a tattoo artist filed a federal suit in the Southern District of Illinois over claims of copyright infringement by World Wrestling Entertainment and other entities, the case will go to trial next month in Southern Illinois.

Catherine Alexander, an Illinois resident and tattoo artist who created tattoos for WWE wrestler Randy Orton between 2003 and 2008, claims World Wrestling Entertainment and video game firms have appropriated her work through games and other merchandise.

Alexander claims that Orton did not have ownership to what later became copyrighted material, didn’t have the authority to and did not grant permission for WWE and the tech firms to use the tattoo designs.

As FOX Business has reported, the judge in the case has already ruled last fall that:

“There is disputed evidence regarding the value of the copyright tattoo works to the videogames. Defendants argue the evidence establishes that consumers do not purchase ‘WWE 2K’ because of the tattoos. But other evidence shows that consumers did purchase ‘WWE 2K’ for its authenticity to the wrestlers’ appearance. In particular, defendants admit that consumer response is a consideration to their development of ‘WWE 2K’ and the design choices made. They also acknowledge that consumers expect there to be authenticity in the videogames and that WWE would have rejected Orton’s videogame persona if it appeared without his tattoos or appeared with tattoos that were different than Orton’s actual tattoos.”

The suit seeks damages and recovery of court costs.

The trial will begin September 4 in Benton.

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