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.”

News Around the Web