Riot Games has been unsuccessful in defending itself against claims the studio knowingly used the likeness of an ex-professional soccer player without permission for a League of Legends character.
As reported by Het Parool (via PC Gamer), footballer Edgar Davids – who played for Juventus, Barcelona and UK premier-league side, Tottenham Hotspur during his career – contacted Riot in 2015 to request it stopped using League of Legends character skin Striker Lucian, as he believed it was based upon him.
Davids claimed Striker Lucian’s “skin colour, hair, muscular posture, aggressive playstyle and well-known sports goggles/glasses” (as translated by Google) were all based upon him. Davids ended up taking Riot to court and the Dutch judge agreed with Davids’ claims, adding that footballer had a right to protect his likeness.
Unfortunately for Riot, the prosecution was able to present a tweet from an ex-QA who’d tweeted in 2014: “for all you wondering, Striker Lucian was inspired by soccer pro Edgar Davids” (the tweet’s now since been deleted, and the account’s been entirely locked down).
Despite its defense that it was unlikely fans would mistake the fictional character for the real-life Davids, Riot was unsuccessful. Auditors will now assess how much compensation Davids is owed once Riot discloses to the court how much it earned from the Striker Lucian skin.
Riot Games estimates League of Legends has more than 100 million monthly users.