Phillies reportedly settle Phanatic lawsuit

The Phillie Phanatic is the most iconic mascot in sports. (Cheryl Pursell)

The Philadelphia Phillies have reportedly struck an agreement that will allow them to settle the lawsuit surrounding the most famous mascot in sports.

Matt Breen of The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that while exact terms of a pact between the organization and it’s original creators are yet known, the Phillie Phanatic will remain, well, the Phillie Phanatic:

The terms of the settlement were not disclosed, as both parties have 30 days to finalize them. The Phillies and the lawyers for Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, who were commissioned by the Phillies in 1978 to create a mascot, declined to comment.

The creators sold the Phanatic’s copyrights to the team in 1984 for $250,000. According to federal copyright law, after 35 years, artists can renegotiate the rights to their creation.”

In August of 2019, the Phillies sued Erickson and Harrison, whose representatives wanted a chance to either reach a new deal — with significantly higher compensation — with the Phillies, or take the Phanatic’s services elsewhere:

The 39-page lawsuit says the firm ‘has threatened to obtain an injunction against the Phillies’ use of the Phanatic and to ‘make the Phanatic a free agent’ if the Club does not renegotiate the 1984 Assignment and pay H/E millions of dollars.”

As they attempted to move further away from the original design of the Phanatic created by Erickson and Harrison, the Phillies made a series of changes to the mascot in February of 2020:

The Phanatic also wore a mask over its shortened snout for all of the 2020 season and part of 2021, as the Phillies attempted to encourage fans to wear masks during the COVID-19 pandemic.


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