The Philadelphia Phillies have recently notified a federal court that it has has reached an undisclosed settlement with the original creators of their mascot, the Phanatic. The lawsuit was filed after original creators Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison informed the baseball organization that they would be reclaiming the rights to their intellectual property through the Copyright Act, even though they sold all their rights to the Phillies. After Erickson and Harrison notified the Phillies of their rights, the Phillies filed the federal lawsuit and unveiled a modified version of the mascot.
The Athletic and Gerben Perrott founder, Josh Gerben discuss what the undisclosed terms of settlement could mean for the future of the original Phanatic.
“What’s strange about this is that what it does say is that the Phillies can continue to use the newly designed Phanatic, the one that they unveiled in February of 2020, which had the changes to it,” said Josh Gerben, a copyright and trademark attorney. “It doesn’t address what’s going on with the old version. It alludes to the fact hat maybe they’ll be able to go back to that.”
“It would be really strange, though to have a settlement agreement where they have to use the new Phanatic, and they can’t use the old one,” Gerben said. “If the Phillies actually have paid money to settle this case, did they acquire the rights to use the old version of Phanatic and go back to that? And we’ll only know by what we see next spring.”
“If they still use the new Phanatic (at least exclusively), then presumably there’s something n that settlement agreement that for whatever reason, prevents them from using the old Phanatic going forward.”
Source: Kaplan, Daniel. https://www.theathletic.com. “Phillies settle Phanatic lawsuit, team can use new version of famous mascot” 15 November 2021.