Edgar Davids, the ex-professional football star for the Dutch national team, has successfully won a lawsuit against League developers Riot Games over the ‘Striker Lucian’ skin.
The skin, which is a purchasable in-game cosmetic feature for the character Lucian, bears a close likeness to the former Barcelona, Inter Milan and Tottenham pro. Alongside similar dark skin and dreadlocks, the skin features Davids’ signature orange goggles – a unique accessory worn due to the footballer’s glaucoma condition.
It is likely the inclusion of these goggles which ultimately led to the complaint, as they infringe on the image of a player deemed ‘one of the most instantly recognisable in world football‘.
Riot Games had built their defence around an insistence that League of Legends players would be more likely to recognise the character as Lucian than Davids, a claim which was rejected by court. The defence was weakened after evidence arose of a since-deleted tweet from a Riot employee confirming that Davids was the inspiration for the skin.
Riot must now reveal how much money the skin has made in the Netherlands, with a percentage to go to Davids as compensation, according to court documents from the case. That’s probably no small amount, as the majority of Riot’s revenues – which totalled $1.6 billion (£1.2b) last year alone – are fuelled by microtransactions just like these.
Esports Insider says: Davids is well within his rights (regardless of prior comments) to protect his likeness, and although the skin was released three years ago its release shows a degree of naivety on Riot’s behalf. They will be careful now that other skins don’t rely too heavily on the source material in their inspiration.