Riot Games has been unsuccessful in defending itself against a likeness lawsuit presented by the former professional footballer, Edgar Davids.
The Dutch international has successfully claimed the studio knowingly used his likeness without permission for a League of Legends character skin, Striker Lucian, ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Edgar Davids – who played for Juventus, Barcelona and Tottenham Hotspur during his career – reportedly contacted Riot in 2015, requesting that the publisher stopped using League of Legends character skin Striker Lucian, as he believed it was based on his likeness.
As Davids described, Striker Lucian’s “skin colour, hair, muscular posture, aggressive playstyle and well-known sports goggles/glasses” were all based on him.
— edgar davids (@esdavids) June 6, 2014
Though Davids initially thanked Riot Games for the skin – having been shown Striker Lucian by his son – the footballer ended up filing a lawsuit against Riot two years later. The Dutch judge agreed with Davids’ claims, adding that footballer had a right to protect his likeness.
Riot attempted to claim that the 2014 World Cup skin would not confuse League of Legends players, but having lost the case, the developer must reveal how much money was made from Striker Lucian skin sales and compensate Davids.
David’s prosecution lawyers were able to present a tweet from an ex-Riot Games QA which significantly damaged the game publishers case, reading: “for all you wondering, Striker Lucian was inspired by soccer pro Edgar Davids”. The tweet has since been deleted and the account’s privacy settings altered.
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. Whether the figure refers to sales within the Netherlands or on a global scale is yet to be specified.
Riot Games has declined to comment on the case.