26 February 2020CopyrightRory O'Neill

Phillie Phanatic creators accuse MLB team of bad faith over new-look mascot

The creators of the “ Phillie Phanatic”, the mascot of the Philadelphia Phillies, have accused the Major League Baseball (MLB) team of bad faith after the team unveiled a new version.

The Phillies sued the designers of the mascot, Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison, last August, claiming that they were seeking “exorbitant sums” in licensing fees for continued use of the Phanatic, first introduced to fans in 1978.

The MLB team has also challenged Erickson and Harrison’s claims to own exclusive authorship rights for the mascot.

On Sunday, February 24, the MLB debuted an updated design for the Phanatic, which Erickson and Harrison have called an “affront to our IP rights and to Phillies fans everywhere”.

“For more than 40 years, we have worked closely with the Phillies, making all the Phanatic costumes, providing artwork and ideas until June of 2018,” Erickson said.

Erickson and Harrison claim that the Phillies’ rights for the Phanatic expire this June, and that efforts to extend the licence over the past two years have so far been unsuccessful.

“The Phillies’ lack of good faith in negotiating for an extension of the copyright assignment for the Phanatic is disappointing,” Harrison said.

“The ‘business decision’ by the Phillies to roll out this ‘new’ Phanatic is a transparent attempt to deny us our rights under of the Copyright Act. We would love to have the real Phanatic continue with the Phillies,” their statement added.

The Phillies have sought a declaration from the US District Court for the Southern District of New York that Harrison and Erickson don’t have the right to terminate a 1984 right assigning rights for the Phanatic to the MLB team.

The team claims that it has rights as a co-author of the original design, having contributed the “including the green, fat, and big-nosed look” of the Phanatic.

A discovery hearing in the case has been set for March 4 in New York.

WIPR has approached the Phillies for comment.

Did you enjoy reading this story?  Sign up to our free daily newsletters and get stories sent like this straight to your inbox.

Today's top stories:

China publishes TM oppositions online; promotes IP financing amid virus outbreak

Amazon, Costco, Best Buy facing micro-battery infringement claims

Saudi IP office launches 21 support centres

Already registered?

Login to your account

To request a FREE 2-week trial subscription, please signup.
NOTE - this can take up to 48hrs to be approved.

Two Weeks Free Trial

For multi-user price options, or to check if your company has an existing subscription that we can add you to for FREE, please email Adrian Tapping at

More on this story

5 August 2019   A US baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, have filed a lawsuit against the creators of their “Phanatic” mascot after the pair allegedly tried to make it a “free agent”.
12 August 2021   The Philadelphia Phillies should be able to continue using a modified version of their Phillie Phanatic mascot despite being embroiled in a copyright lawsuit with its creators, according to the recommendation of a New York judge.
18 November 2021   Major League Baseball team, the Philadelphia Phillies, has won its bid to regain its Phanatic mascot after it settled a copyright dispute with the creators of the furry, green, flightless bird.