Randy Orton Tattoo Trial Could Set Major Legal Precedent

Randy Orton

There are a lot of eyes on the legal trial involving Randy Orton and his tattoo artist as the result could huge impact on professional athletes around the world.

In April 2018 tattoo artist Catherine Alexander brought legal action against World Wrestling Entertainment, Take-Two Interactive Software, 2K Games, Inc., 2K Sports, Inc., Visual Concepts Entertainment, Yuke’s Co., Ltd. and Yuke’s LA.

Alexander alleges that she alone owns the copyrights to designs she tattooed onto Randy Orton across a number of years as they were her original designs. The suit claims that the defendants infringed upon these rights as she never gave permission for the designs to be recreated in WWE licenced video games.

As part of the legal proceedings, according to PWInsider, Randy Orton took the stand on September 28th for a little over three hours.

In a ruling back in 2020, Judge Staci M. Yandle ruled that WWE and Take-Two had copied five of Alexander’s designs which she holds valid trademarks for. At the time is was noted that there was “no question” that the works had been copied.

The report goes on to state that there are multiple issues that will need to be taken into account by the jury.

“Whether Orton was automatically granted an implied license to have his tattoos recreated via WWE’s licensed products, if they would be considered copyright infringement if Orton did not have that license, whether the tattoos would fall under “fair use” (brief excerpts of copyright material may, under certain circumstances, be quoted verbatim for purposes such as criticism, news reporting, teaching, and research, without the need for permission from or payment to the copyright holder), whether the tattoos are de minmis (too trivial or minor to merit consideration legally) and whether there would be damages due to Alexander.”

The report concludes that the situation could prove something of a landmark case as professional athletes routinely have their tattoos recreated in video games.

Randy Orton hasn’t wrestled since the May 20th as the result of a back injury. A recent report has now suggested that many within WWE are growing increasingly concerned about the severity of the injury.