If you needed any more evidence that people will sue each other over just about anything, consider this: tattoo artists are now filing lawsuits over their designs.
A Lion tattoo has become the basis for litigation between a tattoo artist and a video game maker. The artist inked the design into the flesh of a mixed martial arts fighter, whose likeness — including the tattoo — was included in the THQ game, UFC Undisputed. The artist is suing the video game maker for reproducing the tattoo without paying him financial compensation, Bloomberg notes.
Nike (NKE) faced a similar suit in 2005 after it featured a prominent basketball player in an ad that showed his tattoo. That case was settled before a trial could start. In 2012, a Louisiana tattoo artist sued Electronic Arts (EA) and a professional football player over tattoos that appeared in covers for games featuring the players. While the case was dismissed, the NFL Players Association began urging athletes to get waivers from their tattoo artists in order to avoid potential lawsuits.
The issue attracted some Hollywood attention in 2011, when a Missouri tattoo artist sued Time Warner (TWX) over the appearance of former boxing great Mike Tyson’s new face tattoo in the movie The Hangover Part II.
One intellectual property experts says that because most of these suits get settled before trial, tattoos represent a new and uncharted region of copyright law.