AEW and Luchasaurus are being sued over a mask design.
A new report from Wrestlenomics notes that Composite Effects, LLC filed a legal complaint on December 20, against AEW and Austin Matelson, known as Luchasaurus. The complaint alleges that AEW and Luchasaurus are using a copyrighted mask design for merchandising purposes without the designer’s permission.
The designer, based in Louisiana, states that it “owns licensing and design rights on all of our characters.”
The plaintiff wrote, “Matelson was entitled to use the mask in events as a wrestler, but neither he nor anyone acting on his behalf was entitled to create merchandise that incorporated the mask design.”
The lawsuit includes various examples of the mask depicted in AEW merchandise advertisements, including t-shirts and action figures. The design company alleges that these items infringe on its copyright.
The complaint states that Luchasaurus worked with Composite Effects (aka CFX) around December 2016 to have a modified version made of their “Viper Silicone Mask,” and that the mask was modified for the wrestler in March 2019, shortly before AEW’s first live events, to add horns.
CFX learned of Luchasaurus signing with AEW in 2019, and tried to come to a licensing agreement with the wrestler, according to e-mail records included with the lawsuit. CFX and AEW employees began communicating about a new custom mask in February 2021, which AEW bought the rights to, and which CFX says was shipped in August 2021. However, the custom mask was not used much, if at all.
Luchasaurus wrote in an e-mail to CFX, apparently referring to AEW President Tony Khan, “Hey man thanks for the work on the new mask but after getting a look of it on my face Tony and I agreed my current mask is just too iconic at this point and we can’t change the face.”
The plaintiff says it wrote subsequent messages to AEW and Luchasaurus in 2022, asking them to stop using the design, or come to a licensing agreement, but no deal was made, and AEW continued to use the design on TV and in merchandise.
The complaint also includes a written declaration from another designer, George Frangadakis, who CFX says was approached by Luchasaurus in January 2022 to create a mask similar to the design that CFX holds the copyright to. Frangadakis’ statement says Luchasaurus and an associate known as “Jett” wanted a “near replica of CFX’s custom-designed mask.”
Frangadakis wrote, “It was clear that there were legal issues that needed to be handled prior to my designing a new mask for Matelson.”
Frangadakis also wrote that he offered to create a new mask that did not resemble the CFX design, but he wasn’t contacted again by Jett or Luchasaurus.
The complaint includes a certificate of registration for the “Viper Silicone Mask” design.
CFX is seeking profits AEW has made related to the alleged infringement, other damages sustained as a result of the infringement, and legal fees.
AEW did not respond to Wrestlenomics’ request for comment. CFX is being represented by Kean Miller LLP of Louisiana, where CFX is based.. The complaint was filed in the U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana.
Stay tuned to WrestlingHeadlines.com for more.
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