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The Intellectual Property Litigation team at Calfee, Halter & Griswold LLP won a favorable ruling from U.S. District Judge Christopher A. Boyko on September 20, 2022, denying a bid for summary judgment from the defense team for the makers of the popular NBA 2K video games. The lawsuit, filed on behalf of Calfee's client, artist James Hayden, against video game developer Take-Two and seller 2K Games Inc., claims that the video games replicating Mr. Hayden's original tattoo art on the digital avatars of LeBron James, Danny Green, and Tristan Thompson without Mr. Hayden's authorization, infringe the artist's copyrights. 

The ruling ensures that the case will move on to a trial by jury, which involves the alleged infringement of multiple registered copyrights and is scheduled for November 2022.

The Court also found in favor of Mr. Hayden on his motion for partial summary judgment that the tattoos in question are original and the corresponding copyrights are owned by Mr. Hayden – points that were disputed by the defendants.

The Calfee Intellectual Property Litigation team representing plaintiff James Hayden is led by Partner and IP Group Co-Chair John S. Cipolla and includes Partners Daniel J. McMullen, Kimberly A. Pinter, and Todd Tucker and Associate Attorneys Andrew Alexander, Brandon E. Brown, Joshua A. Friedman, and Dustin D. Likens.

Additional information on this case may be found in various articles, some of which may require subscriptions to access the full article:

  • "No Summary Judgment in NBA 2K Tattoo Case," Law Street, Guy DeMarco (September 26, 2022)
  • "Take-Two Must Face Tattoo Artist's Video Game IP Row," Law360, Adam Lidgett (September 21, 2022)

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