As first reported by Wrestlenomics and then Fightful, a lawsuit was filed last month over the mask design used by Austin Matelson who wrestles as AEW star Luchasaurus.
The report notes Composite Effects, LLC (CFX) made a legal complaint, dated December 20, 2022 against All Elite Wrestling and Austin Matelson (Luchasaurus), claiming that AEW and Matelson are using a copyrighted mask design for AEW merchandising purposes without the designer’s permission. It is also said that the Louisiana-based designer states that it “owns licensing and design rights on all of our characters.”
The lawsuit shows various examples of the mask that are depicted in AEW’s merchandise advertisements, including T-shirts and action figures, which the design CFX claims infringe on the mask’s copyright.
Matelson worked with CFX initially around December 2016 to have a modified version made of the design CFX calls “Viper Silicone Mask.” CFX had made some modifications to mask a second time in March 2019 by adding horns to the mask.
According to email records with the lawsuit, After CFX had learned Matelson signed a deal with AEW in 2019, they [CFX] attempted to come to a licensing agreement with him. Back in February 2021, CFX and AEW personnel began communicating about a new custom mask for the Luchasaurus character, which AEW bought the rights to. The plaintiff states it was shipped to AEW in August 2021. Wrestlenomics said the plaintiff further stated the custom mask was not used much by AEW, if at all.
CFX says it wrote subsequent messages to AEW and Matelson in 2022 asking them to stop using the design or come to a licensing agreement. However, not such deal was made and the continued to be used by AEW for merchandising purposes. The plaintiff also includes a written declaration from another designer, George Frangadakis. It was also stated in the report that CFX had approached Matelson in January 2022 to create a mask similar to the design that they [CFX] holds the copyright on.
It is further noted by Wrestlenonics that in Frangadakis’s statement, he said he offered to create a new mask that did not resemble the CFX design. However, there was no contact made to him from Matelson.
Wrestlenomics concluded by indicating the following:
-A certificate of registration for the design referred to as “Viper Silicone Mask” was included as an exhibit with the complaint.
-Composite Effects is seeking profits AEW has made related to the alleged infringement, other damages sustained as a result, and attorneys’ fees.
-The case is filed in U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Louisiana, where CFX is based.
Wrestlenomics did note they contacted AEW officials for comment, but as of their report, no response has been received.