The World Wildlife Fund filed a lawsuit against WWE early Friday. The following was released to US Newswire:
To: Assignment Desk and Daybook Editor
Contact: Phil Kavits, 202-778-9540, 301-580-5485/202-294-8006 (cell), 703-435-0975 (home), Michael Ross, 202-778-9565, 202-841-1749 (cell), both of the World Wildlife Fund
WHAT: WWF, the global conservation organization, serves papers seeking a damage judgment that will bring a fair and final conclusion to years of litigation with World Wrestling Entertainment.
WHEN: Documents were served Friday, Oct. 29, 2004.
WHERE: The case will be determined by the British High Courts.
WHY: The case stems from the widespread use and promotion of the initials WWF in connection with wrestling events and products in a repeated breach of a longstanding agreement with the conservation organization, which had used the moniker since its inception in 1961. In 2002, a British Court ordered the wrestlers to stop violating the agreement. The wrestlers subsequently renamed themselves WWE. Public confusion resulting from the misuse of the name persists, especially in the United States, where the organization is forced to couple the global WWF name with World Wildlife Fund, to clarify its meaning.
In this phase of the case, the court will assess damages against the wrestlers for repeatedly violating a legally binding agreement over the use of our initials and causing the resulting difficulties and damages to WWF. Guided by British law and previous cases, the claim to assist the court in determining fair damages by estimating the revenue WWF might have received had the wrestlers legally licensed the initials from WWF instead of simply taking them. The ultimate dispensation of the case may still be years away.
WHO: Edwin Coe LLC represents WWF.
Media Contacts: Phil Kavits, 202-778-9509 (office); 301-580- 5485/202-294-8006 (mobile); 703-435-0975 (home) -- Michael Ross, 202-778-9565 (office); 202-841-1749 (mobile).
NOTES: WWF officials express hope that, with the "name issue" decided and the question of damages now in the hands of the court, the inflammatory rhetoric that characterized earlier parts of the case can be avoided. "The time has come to put the battle behind us and let both organizations return their full focus to what they do best," says Philip B. Kavits, WWF's vice president of Communications. "We want the world to know that WWF stands for one thing and one thing only, action to save our living planet. When the costs, distractions and confusion of the case come to an end, we'll be free to again devote our full attention and resources to producing the conservation progress that WWF is known for."
Known in the United States as World Wildlife Fund and recognized worldwide by its panda logo, WWF leads international efforts to protect endangered species and their habitats and to conserve the diversity of life on Earth. Now in its fifth decade, WWF, the global conservation organization, works in more than 100 countries around the world.
This news release and associated material can be found on http://www.worldwildlife.org