Trademark Attorney Checks in With Update on Phillie Phanatic Legal Case

The Phillie Phanatic revealed his offseason makeover yesterday afternoon in Clearwater and the consensus reaction to the updates was… not great.

The changes were spurred, at least in part, by ongoing litigation between the Phillies and mascot creators Wade Harrison and Bonnie Erickson.

In short, Harrison and Erickson want more money from the team.

In a post written yesterday, I dropped a link to an August 2019 video from Josh Gerben, a Washington D.C. trademark lawyer. In the video, he outlines the points of contention between the two sides.

Gerben, who is a Phillies fan, reached out this morning to share his thoughts on the changes (he wasn’t a fan) and alert me to his latest video on the case. Seems like things are getting pretty contentious:

To recap, the Phillies paid Harrison/Erickson $3,900 in the 70s for the costume, but screwed up the initial deal, so they had to cough up another $215,000 in 1984.

According to Gerben, an obscure (but relevant) provision to copyright law has possibly opened the door for the co-creators to void the previous agreement and renegotiate with the team.

Some other takeaways from Gerben on this “extraordinarily active” case:

  • The Phillies have provided 24,204 pages of discovery to Harrison/Erickson.
  • Harrison/Erickson have provided 2,606 pages of discovery to the Phillies
  • There could be a “slew” of depositions forthcoming, with attorneys of Harrison/Erickson looking to depose 19 former and current Phillies employees.
  • If the two sides can’t reach an agreement, there could be a trial later this year.

A trial. Over The Phillie Phanatic.

Imagine the furry green guy walking into the courtroom, air-thrusting and pantsing a bunch of trademark lawyers. Just endless possibilities for entertaining theater.

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3 Responses

  1. And introducing a new mascot. I find it hard to believe changing the color of feathers and size of the Phanatic would satisfy the plaintiffs.

  2. Ding-dong, the ‘green big bird ‘ is almost dead…& what great timing, with the Phils on a possible upswing, this 40 yr old muppet of distraction needs to find a new home with a crappy team, so entertain those fans, while we’re enjoying the real reason we come to the ballpark, to see a competitive team.

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