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Friday, 10 August, 2001, 15:53 GMT 16:53 UK
Wrestlers thrown by Panda logo ruling
World Wrestling Federation bout
WWF to be used for animals, not wrestlers
The World Wide Fund for Nature has won the first round in a legal bout with the World Wrestling Federation over the use of the initials, WWF.

A High Court judge in London has upheld a claim by the wildlife charity that the Wrestling Federation had broken an agreement it made seven years ago when it promised to limit its use of the initials.

The decision means the wrestling body - whose stars include The Rock, The Undertaker and Hardcore Holly, is not entitled to use the WWF initials for its 80 registered websites.

WWF logo
The animal charity registered its logo in 1961
The legal adviser for the animal charity, Niall Watson, said he was delighted by the ruling:

"Their ability to refer to themselves as WWF has been greatly circumscribed," he said.

"They are not allowed to use their 'scratch' logo as that was in contravention of the 1994 agreement."

International panda

The charity, known for its Great Panda logo, registered the initials as a trademark in 1961 when it was founded as the World Wildlife Fund.

It changed its name to the World Wide Fund for Nature in the UK and several other countries in 1989, but still uses the initials WWF along with the panda symbol in advertising campaigns all over the world.

Legal proceedings were launched to protect its global brand and reputation from any connection with professional wrestling.

The case returns to court on 1 October when Mr Justice Jacob will hear argument on damages for breach of contract, legal costs and the wording of an injunction to be made against the Federation, which may seek leave to appeal.

See also:

03 Oct 00 | Americas
Getting out the youth vote
12 Feb 01 | Entertainment
Channel 4 hit by wrestling rap
01 Jun 01 | Sci/Tech
Wild salmon face numbers crisis: WWF
14 May 01 | South Asia
WWF worried about blind river dolphins
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