Sunday, October 14, 2012

WWF Name Dispute

In 2000, the World Wide Fund for Nature (also trademarked WWF), an environmental organization, sued World Wrestling Federation Entertainment Inc. in the United Kingdom. The Law Lords agreed that the promotion company had violated a 1994 agreement as Titan Sports which had limited the permissible use of the WWF trademark in Europe, particularly in merchandising. The World Wide Fund and World Wrestling Federation used the initials since March 1979. The last televised event to market the WWF logo was UK based pay-per-view Insurrextion 2002. On May 5, 2002, the company launched its "Get The F Out" marketing campaign and changed all references on its website from "WWF" to "WWE", while switching the URL from to The next day, a press release announced the official name change from World Wrestling Federation Entertainment, Inc. to World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc., or WWE, and the change was publicized later that day during a telecast of Monday Night Raw, which was broadcast from the Hartford Civic Center in Hartford, Connecticut.

Following the case, the use of the "Attitude" logo became prohibited on all World Wrestling Federation properties. Additionally, past references to the WWF trademark and initials in 'specified circumstances' became censored. Despite litigation, WWE is still permitted use of the original WWF logo, which was used from 1979 through 1994, as well as the "New WWF Generation" logo, which was used from 1994 through 1998. Furthermore, the company may still make use of the full "World Wrestling Federation" and "World Wrestling Federation Entertainment" names without consequence. In 2003, WWE won a limited decision to continue marketing certain classic video games from THQ and Jakks Pacific that contained the WWF "Attitude" logo. However, the packaging was changed to replace all WWF references with WWE.

Most recently, on the 1000th episode of Raw in July 2012, the old WWF logo was not scratched out on archival footage due to a new company directive updating the old policy of "censoring" out the WWF logo. The company claims that the use of the old "WWF" logo is now permitted in flashback footage, so short clips featuring the logo, which was banned from WWE use dated back in 2002 upon the company lost a lawsuit against the World Wildlife Fund, are now allowed. This new directive might not apply to longer archival footage and matches, but WWE is working on a strategy to eliminate the need to blur the old logo before the WWE Network launches. Since that time, full-length matches and other segments featuring the logo have been added to the WWE website.

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