Former WWE Champion Randy Orton will be heading to the courtroom soon to act as a witness in a lawsuit between his tattoo artist and WWE.
Tattoo artist Catherine Alexander – who is responsible for much of the ink on Orton’s body – launched a suit against WWE, Take-Two Interactive Software Inc, 2K Games Inc, 2K Sports Inc, Visual Concepts Entertainment, Yukes Co Ltd, and Yukes LA Inc back in 2018. The case had been delayed for several years but Alexander alleges that her copyright was infringed when the companies involved applied Randy Orton’s tattoos in WWE video games without her permission.
The tattoos completed between 2003 and 2008 are all said to be Alexander’s own, original work and in her suit says they “are easily recognized by his fans and members of the public.”
PWInsider has also reported that Catherine Alexander “submitted applications to register copyrights on each of the aforementioned works on March 15, 2018.”
Alexander also claims that she approached WWE regarding merchandise being sold by the company featuring the tattoos in question and was offered a $450 fee for the license to the designs but that was rejected. Alexander is said to have “told WWE that Plaintiff did not grant any permission to WWE to copy, duplicate or otherwise use or reproduce any of Plaintiff’s designs.”
In a ruling from September 2020, a judge ruled that five tattoos were copied that Alexander holds valid trademarks for by WWE and Take-Two. The judge stopped short of offering a summary judgement – that would have led to definite damages being paid to Alexander – and instead, a jury will now decide on the case.
Randy Orton has not been named as a defendant in the case and has never commented publicly on the litigation against his employer. The trial will begin on the 26th of September and is expected to last five days.