Wolverhampton Wanderers FC win copyright dispute over club crest

Wolverhampton Wanderers Football Club has successfully defended a copyright claim from a man who said the wolf’s head crest infringed his design.

Peter Davies created a wolf’s head design in the early 1960s. Wolverhampton Wanderers, who are nicknamed ‘Wolves,’ introduced their wolf’s head logo in 1979.

Davies entered a local art competition in Wolverhampton when he was a teenager in the 1960s, submitting his wolf’s head design.

He alleged that the designer commissioned by Wolves had infringed his copyright– either deliberately or subconsciously.

The designer said he would never copy someone else’s work and had created the logo himself.

 Davies also explained the reason he had waited almost 40 years to bring a claim. He said he had no physical evidence until 2015, when he found a box of his childhood drawings which included his wolf’s head design.

The court ruled in favour of Wolves.

Although Davies was not fabricating his claim, his evidence should be approached with a degree of caution because of the length of time that had passed. Details of his account also varied in their retelling, and a recording of a phone call between Davies and the son of the club’s former owner seemed to have been doctored in order to support Davies’ claim.

He was unable to specify which competition he had submitted his design to, or even which design he had submitted.

While there was a noticeable similarity between Davies’ wolf’s head design and Wolves’ club logo it was not enough to suggest it had been copied either consciously or subconsciously. 

There was no plausible scenario that the designer could have seen Davies’ competition entry in the early 1960s and kept a copy or memorised it until 1978, when he designed Wolves’ logo.

Please contact us for more information about the issues raised in this article or any aspect of copyright law.

Case Details

PETER DAVIES v WOLVERHAMPTON WANDERERS FOOTBALL CLUB (1986) LTD (2019)
Ch D (Nugee J) 15/05/2019

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