WWE & AEW Cleared in $250 Million Plagiarism Case

Judges rule in major wrestling industry legal battle.

by Noman Rasool
WWE & AEW Cleared in $250 Million Plagiarism Case
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In a recent development, a lawsuit alleging intellectual property theft against prominent wrestling organizations WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) and AEW (All Elite Wrestling) was dismissed by a United States District Court.

The plaintiff, Anthony Duane Wilson, accused both companies of using his creative ideas without permission, seeking substantial financial compensation and significant control over AEW's operations. Filed in August of this year, Wilson's hand-written lawsuit was marked by numerous spelling errors and vague claims.

He accused WWE of infringing on his wrestling gimmicks, names, slogans, and likeness, though he failed to provide concrete examples of the purported infringement. Additionally, Wilson alleged that his discussions with members of the Bullet Club, a well-known wrestling group, about starting a new wrestling company, which eventually became AEW, were co-opted without acknowledgment or financial remuneration.

The suit demanded a staggering $250,000,000 in damages from both wrestling entities. From WWE, Wilson sought compensation in the form of company stock and a position on the WWE board, along with the peculiar request for the 'return' of "all ships and plunder." Against AEW, he sought operational control and a public apology.

However, the lawsuit met an abrupt end this week when Judge Benita Y. Pearson of the United States District Court, Northern District of Ohio, dismissed the case. The dismissal was primarily due to Wilson's failure to serve either defendant within the mandatory 90-day period following the lawsuit's filing.

As highlighted by PW Insider, the dismissal was without prejudice, leaving a narrow window open for Wilson to re-file the suit, should he choose to address the procedural deficiencies noted by the court.

IP Challenges in Wrestling

This legal development highlights the ongoing complexities and challenges within the entertainment and wrestling industries, particularly regarding intellectual property and creative rights.

As both WWE and AEW continue to dominate the wrestling world, such legal skirmishes underscore the fierce competition and high stakes involved in this multi-million dollar entertainment sector.