Lawsuit Filed Against AEW and Luchasaurus Over Mask Design

(Photo Credit: AEW)

A mask design has led to a lawsuit against AEW and Luchasaurus.

Wrestlenomics reports that on December 20, Composite Effects, LLC filed a legal complaint against AEW and Austin Matelson, aka Luchasaurus. According to the complaint, AEW and Luchasaurus are using a copyrighted mask design for merchandising without the designer’s permission.

According to the designer, who is based in Louisiana, it “owns licensing and design rights on all of our characters.”

“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 plaintiff wrote.

The lawsuit includes images of the mask from AEW merchandise advertisements, such as t-shirts and action figures. The design firm claims that these items violate its copyright.

According to the complaint, Luchasaurus collaborated with Composite Effects (aka CFX) in December 2016 to have a modified version of their “Viper Silicone Mask” made, and that the mask was modified for the wrestler in March 2019, shortly before AEW’s first live events, to add horns.

According to e-mail records included with the lawsuit, CFX learned of Luchasaurus’ signing with AEW in 2019 and attempted to reach a licensing agreement with the wrestler. Employees at CFX and AEW began talking about a new custom mask in February 2021, which AEW purchased the rights to and which CFX claims was shipped in August 2021. However, the custom mask was rarely, if ever, used.

“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,” Luchasaurus wrote in an e-mail to CFX, apparently referring to AEW President Tony Khan.

According to the plaintiff, it sent subsequent messages to AEW and Luchasaurus in 2022, requesting that they stop using the design or reach a licensing agreement, but no agreement was reached, 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 claims was approached by Luchasaurus in January 2022 to create a mask similar to the one to which CFX claims copyright. According to Frangadakis, Luchasaurus and an associate known as “Jett” desired a “near replica of CFX’s custom-designed mask.”

“It was clear that there were legal issues that needed to be handled prior to my designing a new mask for Matelson,” Frangadakis wrote.

Frangadakis also stated that he offered to design a new mask that was not similar to the CFX design, but he was never contacted again by Jett or Luchasaurus.

A certificate of registration for the “Viper Silicone Mask” design is included in the complaint.

CFX is seeking AEW’s profits from the alleged infringement, as well as other damages sustained as a result of the infringement and legal fees.

Wrestlenomics’ request for comment was not met with a response from AEW. CFX is represented by Kean Miller LLP in Louisiana, where the company is based. The complaint was filed in the Eastern District of Louisiana of the United States District Court.