In a squabble that's the stuff of a tabloid headline writer's dreams, London's High Court last week finished hearing arguments in a lawsuit brought by the World Wildlife Fund ( WWF) against another wild animal outfit: the World Wrestling Federation ( WWF). The 40-year-old international conservation organization is seeking to enforce the terms of a 1994 agreement that limited the Federation's use of the WWF initials. (The grappling group adopted the WWF tag in 1979.) That deal restricted the Federation from using WWF, except in certain cases, such as spontaneous references during telecasts abroad ("the current WWF champion," for instance). The agreement, says Fund spokesman Michael Ross, has been breached "thousands of times." Among those violations, claims the Fund, are the domain name wwf.com and the Federation's scratched steel WWF logo.
"Our identity as expressed by the initials WWF is crucial," says Ross. "The ability to carry out our mission is predicated on the public's recognition and trust of those initials as belonging to a global conservation organization." Gary Davis, a spokesman for the Federation, says, "The question is, how could you possibly confuse these organizations? It's hard to believe that our use of the WWF initials could have any impact on the business of the Fund." We say forget the courts: Just throw Stone Cold Steve Austin into a ring with those pandas and get it over with.