Six months ago, did you expect that come October, the Phillies would be sitting at home while the Phanatic itself was locked into a dramatic head-to-head battle?
Harrison/Erickson, the design firm the Phillies are suing over a dispute regarding the copyright of the Phillie Phanatic, is now countersuing the Phillies.
The firm alleges that the Phillies "only filed a lawsuit to pressure the creators into accepting a lower offer to renew the agreement to use the mascot," according to Philadelphia Business Journal.
The Phillies say they purchased the rights to the Phanatic for $215,000 in 1984 and that agreement enabled them rights to the character "forever," and that now Harrison/Erickson want millions as part of a renegotiation.
Harrison/Erickson claims it did have the right to renegotiate the agreement based on language in the Copyright Act.
The Phillies, justifiably, feel that the evolution of the Phanatic's personality and design makes them a co-author in this case. If found to be true, this would not give Harrison/Erickson copyright privileges because the firm would not be seen as the sole author.
This story isn't going away. If Harrison/Erickson somehow wins the case and the Phillies don't reach another agreement with them, they'd risk not being able to use the best mascot in sports after June 15, 2020.