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Monday, December 31, 2007
Gabibbo Talks Its Way to Victory over Big Red

Back in February 2004, Greg wrote about Western Kentucky University suing Mediaset, the television company run by Silvio Berlusconi, the richest man in Italy and the country's then Prime Minister, for trademark and copyright infringement, claiming that Gabibbo, the mascot for the satirical show "Striscia la Notizia" is a carbon copy of Big Red, the Western Kentucky mascot since 1979. The suit sought $250 million in damages.

Over on his excellent blog, Sports Biz, CNBC's Darren Rovell writes about Western Kentucky losing in an Italian court, in large part (apparently) because Gabibbo talks and Big Red doesn't.

Here is an excerpt from Darren's piece:
As many of you know, the legal standards vary depending on where you are, but in Italy -- at least according to a Italian judge's ruling earlier this month -- Gabibbo is similar to Big Red, but he is not Big Red. That means that Mediaset owes nothing to the Western Kentucky, ADFRA or Crossland.

I haven't had the 90-plus page ruling translated yet, but the summary I got from the plaintiffs was that the main difference is that Gabibbo talks and Big Red doesn't.

I can't let this go without saying that there's politics behind every story. Mediaset is owned by Silvio Berlusconi, Italy's richest man, former prime minister and, as sports fans have come to know him, president of A.C. Milan. Despite what they are up against, sources tell CNBC that WKU, ADFRA and Crossland Enterprises will file an appeal by Jan. 20.

For the rest of the post, click here.


i am so sorry to say - but this is plain greed by the american university. going all the way to italy to sue over a mascot? as if the mascot is causing them some loss of revenue.

historically, many teams have copied uniforms and names out of respect. leeds united strted wearing white out of respect to real madrid.

it is sad an academic institution has degraded itself in this way. it is about time people understand that sport isn't only a business. specially collge sport.

Anonymous -- 12/31/2007 5:02 PM  

Not only is there no revenue loss, as the prior comment notes, but no one is being confused or misled. At least if it weren't for the attention created by the lawsuit itself, it's a very safe assumption that the vast majority of "Striscia la Notizia" viewers have never heard of Big Red or even of WKU, while the vast majority of WKU sports fans have never heard of Gabibbo.

Anonymous Peter -- 1/01/2008 10:39 AM for some nice sports talk


Blogger Sports247 -- 1/01/2008 9:57 PM  

Hmmm. I wonder if I could appropriate the image of Mickey Mouse or Bugs Bunny, rename it, and begin merchandising my "new character?"
This is not greed by WKU. The greed stems from those who stole the mascot's image and now have seemingly escaped any obligation toward paying royalties.

Anonymous Anonymous -- 4/21/2008 3:40 PM  

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