Phillies, Phanatic Creators Agree to Settlement; PHI Can Use Original Mascot Design

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVNovember 15, 2021

The Philadelphia Phillies' mascot, the Phillie Phanatic stands during an interleague baseball game against the Tampa Bay Rays, Tuesday, Aug. 24, 2021, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
AP Photo/Matt Slocum

The original Phillie Phanatic could make an appearance at Citizens Bank Park in the near future.

Todd Zolecki of MLB.com reported the Philadelphia Phillies and the co-creators of the original Phanatic design reached a settlement Monday that will allow the National League East team to use the initial mascot design.

Zolecki believes the original Phanatic will return for the Phillies after the ruling.

Matt Breen of the Philadelphia Inquirer noted co-creators Bonnie Erickson and Wayde Harrison sold the Phanatic's copyrights to the Phillies in 1984 for $250,000. However, federal copyright law permits renegotiation after 35 years.

Erickson and Harrison threatened to obtain an injunction against the Phillies' use of their creation. The team responded by suing them and revealing an altered version of the mascot that featured enough changes to differentiate it but not too many to make it unrecognizable for fans.

The creators called the new mascot offensive to "our intellectual property rights and Phillies fans everywhere."

The Phillies argued "without the Club's contributions, the Phanatic would not have been a character at all." They said Erickson and Harrison were seeking millions and even suggested they could sell the mascot's rights to a different team.

Philadelphia can use either version of the mascot as a result of the settlement, although it has to pay an undisclosed amount of money to Erickson and Harrison.

Perhaps the original mascot will return for the 2022 campaign when the Phillies look to bounce back after missing the playoffs in 2021 at 82-80.