The Phillies paid $215,000 to creators Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison — and their design firm Harrison/Erickson — in 1984 for the rights to use the Phillie Phanatic as the team’s mascot “forever.” The firm claims it can renegotiate those terms, as the Phanatic is worth much more now. A section of the Copyright Act allows creators of copyrighted works to renegotiate or terminate a licensing agreement 35 years after the initial agreement date.
According to court filings, the Phillies’ legal representation now says the team will seek a percentage of the money paid to Harrison and Erickson over the last several decades because the team did not get what the agreement stipulated: “forever” rights.
The Phillies have been embroiled in a legal battle with Erickson and Harrison over ownership of the Phanatic since August. The team and the design firm have sued each other over the rights to the beloved mascot.