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The W - Pro Wrestling - "WWE" makes Time.com's "10 Worst Corporate Name Changes" list
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DJ FrostyFreeze
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Since: 2.1.02
From: Hawthorne, CA

Since last post: 24 days
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#1 Posted on | Instant Rating: 8.42
Read it and weep, fella


Unlike the other companies on the list, there was no mention of WHY they didnt like the name change, but there was a slight jab at the fights being "rigged".

FULL LIST: http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/completelist/0,29569,1914815,00.html



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John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

Since last post: 95 days
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#2 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.18
TIME magazine still thinks the pre-determinated nature of sports entertainment that has been public knowledge and openly displayed in the Academy Award nominated film The Wrestler last year are "rumors" that the "fights" are "rigged."

That's pathetic.

A more credible reason why WWE deserves to be included in the list is that 8 years after the name change, WWE is still referred to more often than not as "the WWF" in idle conversation. Hell, if I'm not talking to a wrestling fan, even *I* say "the WWF" to avoid a furrowed brow, a look of confusion, and having to launch into an explanation.

In addition, WWE is referred to constantly, even by WWE employees on television as "the WWE", which is incorrect. It's not The World Wrestling Entertainment as it was The World Wrestling Federation. So that's another problem as the unconscious desire to call WWE "the WWF" still exists.

Regardless, TIME magazine blows.



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KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
From: #yqr

Since last post: 9 days
Last activity: 2 hours
#3 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.06
    Originally posted by John Orquiola
    WWE is referred to constantly, even by WWE employees on television as "the WWE", which is incorrect.
I forget where I heard/read that, but I believe that Vince McMahon wants people to call it "the WWE" instead of just "WWE," even though - as you mentioned - it's incorrect.

Won't be a problem for Bret, what with all his matches at the Summerslam and his experience in the WCW.

I really think that the name change had a lot to do with the general cooling-off of the WWF/WWE product as a whole. It was already on a downward slide, and this was far from the only factor, but the name "WWE" is really bad. And the idea of a bunch of big beefy rough tough rasslers being smacked down by a bunch of scrawny hippie animal-lovers... the people that I know who don't watch wrestling all seemed to find that pretty funny. I really think WWE's general "cool" factor took a hit with that one.

I also think that if WWE wants get people with big DVD collections to re-buy all that material on blu-ray, they should start by trying to regain with rights to the WWF name so they could sell blu-rays without "WWF" being blurred, blanked, bleeped, or otherwise awkwardly edited out.



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ekedolphin
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Since: 12.1.02
From: Indianapolis, IN; now residing in Suffolk, VA

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#4 Posted on | Instant Rating: 2.41
Watching pre-name-change matches on DVD, I'm at least happy that they can still say, "World Wrestling Federation", even if the initials and scratch logo are still a no-go.

To be honest, it's been eight years, and I'll take what I can get at this point.

(edited by ekedolphin on 8.2.10 1419)


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StingArmy
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Since: 3.5.03
From: Georgia bred, you can tell by my Hawk jersey

Since last post: 53 days
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#5 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
Maybe I need to take some time and go back and read the whole history between the wildlife group and the wrestling company, but I just can't quite fathom how things ended up this way.

I know there was some sort of agreement where Vince McMahon promised not to use the WWF name in international marketing (or something like that), but knowing what I know now about trademark laws, I don't understand why the hell he would agree to something like that. There's absolutely ZERO likelihood of confusion between a wildlife conservation organization and a professional wrestling company so there's no reason one company should have to worry about the other one using the same initials. It's not even the same name! Just three measly little letters. Hell, there are so many companies out there called "Delta" but you don't see the airline company throwing a fit. And the same could be said about countless other trademarks. In my opinion I think someone working for McMahon royally screwed up.

I think it would be really nice if they could start calling themselves the WWF again, although at this point I don't know if they would even bother. Might be a moot point though unless they can shell out the cash to buy themselves out of that stupid agreement with the wildlife people.

- StingArmy

EDIT: This is barely relevant to this thread but was too funny not to post.



(edited by StingArmy on 8.2.10 1443)
KJames199
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Since: 10.12.01
From: #yqr

Since last post: 9 days
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#6 Posted on | Instant Rating: 7.06
    Originally posted by StingArmy
    I know there was some sort of agreement where Vince McMahon promised not to use the WWF name in international marketing (or something like that)
That's the gist of it. Well, that and the part where Vince said "fuck the agreement" and did whatever he wanted with the WWF name and was shocked when he lost the ensuing court case.



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thecubsfan
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Since: 10.12.01
From: Aurora, IL

Since last post: 14 hours
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#7 Posted on | Instant Rating: 10.00

    knowing what I know now about trademark laws, I don't understand why the hell he would agree to something like that.


I think the story is not that Vince and co. though WWF had a case, but that they couldn't (literally) afford to fight the original lawsuit at the time it was filed, so they made a deal.



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Oliver
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Since: 20.6.02
From: #YEG

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#8 Posted on | Instant Rating: 3.21
After reading the entire article, I think it's all an opinion piece.

I mean, the message on Spike TV - OK, why was it a bad name change? There's absolutely NO commentary concerning that, other than that the channel went through two names beforehand (Nashville then National) before settling on Spike.

Riiiiiiiight.

(edited by Oliver on 8.2.10 1531)



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StingArmy
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Since: 3.5.03
From: Georgia bred, you can tell by my Hawk jersey

Since last post: 53 days
Last activity: 2 days
#9 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
    Originally posted by thecubsfan

      knowing what I know now about trademark laws, I don't understand why the hell he would agree to something like that.


    I think the story is not that Vince and co. though WWF had a case, but that they couldn't (literally) afford to fight the original lawsuit at the time it was filed, so they made a deal.

Boy, they must have been in some REALLY dire straits, because a second year law student (maybe even a first year!) could easily get that lawsuit thrown out. The panda huggers shouldn't have even been able to make it to trial.

If anyone is interested, a few minutes of googling turned up the full text of the 1994 WWF-WWF agreement. It implies that the wildlife people had filed a lawsuit and this was the only way for the wrestling people to avoid litigation.

Still seems like a dumb move by McMahon and company. The only possible thing I can think of is perhaps non-American trademark laws governed. I don't know very much about foreign trademark law, so I suppose it's not impossible that they could be far more restrictive than American trademark laws. I dunno, whatevs.

- StingArmy
Mr. Boffo
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Since: 24.3.02
From: Oshkosh, WI

Since last post: 430 days
Last activity: 391 days
#10 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.39
    Originally posted by StingArmy

    Still seems like a dumb move by McMahon and company. The only possible thing I can think of is perhaps non-American trademark laws governed. I don't know very much about foreign trademark law, so I suppose it's not impossible that they could be far more restrictive than American trademark laws. I dunno, whatevs.

    - StingArmy

Yeah, what I know of US law makes this seem like a non-issue. Trademarks only prevent someone who is involved in the same business from using the name. I agree that they probably entered into some sort of agreement that they didn't think would affect them (because they still had rights to the name in the United States), but the increasingly global nature of entertainment was what did them in. In hindsight, I'm sure they would have never agreed to it, and let the Patent Office sort it out instead.

The World Wildlife Fund trademark is in international class 42 (Scientific and technological services and research), specifically "PRESERVATION OF ENDANGERED SPECIES OF FLORA AND FAUNA BY SUCH MEANS AS MAINTAINING GAME PRESERVES, FURNISHING EQUIPMENT AND FACILITIES TO GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES AND EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTIONS TO AID IN THE SOUND MANAGEMENT OF NATURAL RESOURCES.", according to their trademark documents.

The World Wrestling Federation trademark was in international class 41 (Educational and Entertainment services), specifically "Entertainment services, namely, the production and exhibition of professional wrestling events rendered live and through the media of television; providing wrestling news and information via a global computer network."
Big Bad
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Since: 4.1.02
From: Dorchester, Ontario

Since last post: 1 day
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#11 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.69
This also probably could've been avoided had Vince just agreed to donate a million bucks a year to panda preservation, or some such cause. He could've written the cash off as a charitable donation, plus kept the brand name he'd spent the previous 20 years developing.

Still, WWE is a much better name than Total Nonstop Action.



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StingArmy
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Since: 3.5.03
From: Georgia bred, you can tell by my Hawk jersey

Since last post: 53 days
Last activity: 2 days
#12 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.54
    Originally posted by Mr. Boffo
      Originally posted by StingArmy

      Still seems like a dumb move by McMahon and company. The only possible thing I can think of is perhaps non-American trademark laws governed. I don't know very much about foreign trademark law, so I suppose it's not impossible that they could be far more restrictive than American trademark laws. I dunno, whatevs.

      - StingArmy

    Yeah, what I know of US law makes this seem like a non-issue. Trademarks only prevent someone who is involved in the same business from using the name. I agree that they probably entered into some sort of agreement that they didn't think would affect them (because they still had rights to the name in the United States), but the increasingly global nature of entertainment was what did them in. In hindsight, I'm sure they would have never agreed to it, and let the Patent Office sort it out instead.

I read some old news articles that suggested the impetus behind the disagreement was use of the WWF initials on the (then fledgling) World Wide Web. I'm guessing that McMahon never guessed how important the intarwebz would be to his product so he didn't worry too much about signing away some of his international rights. I think the biggest irony in all this is that when the dust settled from all the lawsuits several years later, the wildlife people DIDN'T EVEN ASK ASK (!!!) for the domain name to be transferred to them, and now it belongs to some random schmuck.

Anyway, I think I solved my own little mystery of how the hell this all came to be. This wasn't a case of trademark confusion (of which I think we all agree there could be none). Rather, it's a case of trademark dilution, where one trademark holder says another entity comes along later and causes their trademark ("WWF" in this case) to lose meaning by using it on other, non-competing products/services. Specifically, I think the wildlife people were claiming that the wrestling people were "tarnishing" their trademark by using it to advertise their dirty, unsavory pro wrestling product.

I found this summary of some of the original court proceedings that explains some very, very interesting reasoning behind the courts' decisions. For starters, due to pro wrestling's lack of mainstream acceptance and generally bad reputation at the time, the wildlife people feared being associated with them. They specifically mentioned the Fed's "reputation of violence,
harassment, paedophilia and rape." And the court completely agreed with the wildlife people, saying the seemingly over-restrictive 1994 agreement was necessary "to prevent any confusion or association with the Federation's criminal proceedings and general reputation." Pedophilia?? Criminal proceedings?? Wow, Vince never had a chance. The sad thing is, if this lawsuit happened about 10 years later, I'm convinced we'd still be watching the WWF and not WWE.

Thanks for humoring me in all this esoteric trademark law discussion. The whole thing still doesn't quite sit right with me given that the decisions were based on some judge's disdain for pro wrestling. I have half a mind to talk to some people in WWE Legal and see what they think about all this.

- StingArmy
John Orquiola
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Since: 28.2.02
From: Boston

Since last post: 95 days
Last activity: 95 days
#13 Posted on | Instant Rating: 5.18
Forbes disagrees with Time:

Vince McMahon is the Heavyweight Champion of Branding.

http://blogs.forbes.com/sportsmoney/2010/02/vince-mcmahon-heavyweight-champion-of-branding/?boxes=financechannelforbes

I love that old Dick Ebersol quote. Ebersol also called Conan O'Brien a gutless coward who can't get ratings. So, you know...



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