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Wildlife Fund Pins Wrestling Federation

In a smackdown with the World Wildlife Fund over the WWF acronym, Vince McMahon has asked the referee to stop the fight.

McMahon's World Wrestling Federation announced late Monday it would change its name to World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).

The name change comes a little more than two months after a U.K. Court of Appeal upheld a lower court's ruling that the World Wrestling Federation breached a 1994 accord with the World Wildlife Fund to limit the use of the acronym. The Switzerland-based conservation group registered WWF as a trademark when it was founded in 1961, although it goes by Worldwide Fund for Nature outside of the U.S.

The wildlife fund sued the wrestling federation two years ago, saying it feared wrestling's exploding popularity and presence on cable TV and the Internet were sowing confusion.

The UK court barred the World Wrestling Federation from using the WWF acronym, but the wrestling group continued to operate the wwf.com domain and trade under the "WWF" ticker on the New York Stock Exchange. (The World Wildlife Fund, which is a non-profit, operates the wwf.org domain.) The wrestling group appealed the ruling to the House of Lords, and a spokesman said that appeal would continue.

"We believe we are acting responsibly to allay any concerns the fund had with the existence with two WWFs," WWE spokesman Gary Davis said. There will be a transition over the period of months. WWE.com is for all intents and purposes our new domain name."

For now, the WWE's website is still wwf.com, with wwe.com redirecting there. Davis said the company would begin migrating fans to wwe.com, as it undertakes a rebranding campaign. According to Jupiter Media Metrix, wwf.com drew 2.3 million unique visitors in March. WWE said it would continue to list on the NYSE under WWF "until a suitable replacement symbol is found."