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Unsealed WWE bootlegging lawsuit reveals WWE's schedule for the next 12 months

WWE's latest temporarily sealed lawsuit against unnamed defendants attempting to obtain an order allowing the company to seize counterfeit WWE merchandise in San Jose over the week of WrestleMania 31 reveals WWE's entire event schedule for the next 12 months.

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Kids, please only buy official WWE merchandise!
Kids, please only buy official WWE merchandise!
Rich Polk/Getty Images

In unsurprising "corporation bites bootleggers" news, WWE filed a temporarily sealed lawsuit on March 18th, 2015, in the state of California against unnamed defendants attempting to obtain an order allowing the company to seize counterfeit WWE merchandise in San Jose over the week of WrestleMania 31A copy of the lawsuit was uploaded to Scribd by Chris Harrington, the doctor of Wrestlenomics, a couple of days ago.

By now, the move should be expected, as WWE have filed similar lawsuits in Texas, Georgia, Florida, New Jersey and Louisiana before the WrestleManias in those states since 2008, and became public knowledge when U.S. District Judge Helen Berrigan denied their request for a seizure order days before last year's WrestleMania in New Orleans.

This year's lawsuit is almost identical to the one WWE filed in Florida three years ago before WrestleMania 28, apart from pushing that the inferior quality of the bootlegged merchandise "threatens public safety", citing an example where they had once seized counterfeit child-sized T-shirts with a "strong unknown chemical odor", and also more contextual information about WWE's problems with counterfeiters since 2012.

The 2015 lawsuit reveals that although they initially lost their case in 2014, the Court of Appeals ruled in WWE's favour, but that decision came too late to get a seizure order to use in time for WrestleMania 30, so instead they had to work with local law enforcement to catch four individuals in the act of selling counterfeit WWE merchandise, who provided them with false contact information so they couldn't be sued later.

From a wrestling fan perspective, the most interesting revelation was that WWE included their schedule for the next twelve months as an exhibit to their lawsuit, which Harrington has also helpfully uploaded to Scribd and posted on his blog. This was done because WWE argued that the bootleggers are "organized and acting in concert with one another", and would "continue, undaunted, to attempt to peddle Counterfeit Merchandise at WWE's 2015-2016 Live Events".

Essentially, WWE painted the picture that they were fighting a group of organised "bootlegging rings" that follows them from city to city in a bid to illegally sell counterfeit good bearing their trademarks to the fans in attendance. The evidence WWE provided to corroborate this assertion was a bit flimsy, namely that they've caught a few of the counterfeiters twice at different WrestleManias and the "poor and uniform" nature of the unauthorised merchandise seized.

David Bixenspan noted some interesting facts from the schedule in his daily news update at today. Of most importance was how WWE listed the capacity of Levi's Stadium as 66,000 in their legal documentation, whilst officially announcing an arena attendance record of 76,976 in a press release after WrestleMania 31 was over. The true number in attendance is believed to have been 67,000, still outdrawing their earlier estimate for a sellout, but falling far short of the announced number.

The schedule also confirms Geno Mrosko's report that the 2016 Royal Rumble will be at the Amway Arena in Orlando on Sun., Jan. 24, 2016. Meanwhile, next year's WWE Fast Lane event is scheduled to be held at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri, which would make it the third pay-per-view in the building in 15 months (as Survivor Series 2014 took place there and WWE Battleground 2015 will take place at the arena).

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