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Wolves sued by man who says he designed wolf logo in the 1960s

Wolverhampton | News | Published: | Last Updated:

A retired businessman is suing Wolves, claiming the club's famous wolf head logo was ripped off from a drawing he did as a child in the 1960s.

Peter Davies is suing Wolves for copyright over the club's wolf head logo

Peter Davies produced a series of geometrically designed animal head drawings in pencil in 1961 at the age of 13 - one of which bears a striking resemblance to the Wolves club crest.

He went on to enter a version of his sketch, entitled 'Mystery Wolf', into a local art competition held by Wolverhampton Wolves speedway team in 1963.

Although he didn't win, he says his artwork was on public display for a few months and it is at this point he claims that somebody from Wolves must have spotted his design and later used it as the basis for the club's logo, first introduced in 1979.

Mr Davies - who says he wrote to the club to complain in the 1970s but received no reply - told a judge that until his recent discovery of preparatory sketches he made for the lost competition entry he thought he had no evidence to prove his case.

Wolves are playing in the Premier League this season after winning the Championship last year

The 70-year-old retired building contract manager, who was brought up in Wolverhampton, claims his memory was jogged in 2002 when the club updated the badge to add a hexagonal surround, which he says resembles his childhood drawing even more closely.

Then, while going through his late brother Ron's possessions following his death in 2015, he found his original sketches for the 'mystery wolf' design - which he had drawn in pencil on the back of a wildlife poster of big cats - still stored in a box after 50 years.

Share of profits

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He went on to register his design in 2016, and is now seeking a share of profits the club has made through use of its logo over the last six years.

But lawyers for the club want his claim struck out and told Judge Matthew Marsh at London's High Court today that his case is based on 'an improbable collection of events for which there is no factual basis.'

Edward Bragiel, for Mr Davies, told the judge that he struck on a novel geometrical method of producing drawings of animal heads after being set the task of 'demonstrating an understanding of Blaise Pascal's Hexagrammum Mysticum Theorum as punishment by a French teacher.

It was from this that the 'mystery wolf' design sprang.

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The 1963 competition entry was never returned, he said, but the judge was shown the original 1961 big cats poster with his initial sketches on the back - including a geometric wolf.

'No factual basis'

However Roger Wyand QC, for Wolverhampton Wanders, asked the judge to rule that Mr Davies has no case.

"Mr Davies claims that the Wolves club logo is an exact copy of his work," he said.

"The claim rests on the possibility that the judges of the art competition were friends of the then chairman of Wolverhampton Wanderers FC, Harry Marshall, and passed losing entries in the competition to him, which he kept in a drawer for 15 years and fished out of the drawer and used in 1979.

"It seems that Mr Davies' case is that somebody at the club then kept his entry to the art competition since 1979 and gave it to the designer of the new logo in 2002.

"We say that is at the least an improbable collection of events for which there is no factual basis."

The barrister added: "His original artwork doesn't exist. What exists are the sketches. He has no documentary evidence of the work or its existence."

Club owners 'unaware'

Mr Wyand also argued that the delay in bringing the claim meant that the club faces 'unfair prejudice' in raising a defence, through difficulty tracking down witnesses.

The club has changed hands several times between 1979 and now, and each of the new owners, including the current ones, were unaware of a potential copyright claim hanging over the club when they bought it, he added.

"In the circumstances, it would be unconscionable for Mr Davies to be allowed to continue with his claim," the QC said.

He also asked the judge to order Mr Davies to pay the club's legal costs of investigating the matter and defending the case.

But Mr Bragiel asked the judge to refuse the strike out application and allow the evidence to be tested at a full trial.

He added that Mr Davies could face bankruptcy if he hit with a big legal costs bill.

The hearing in London continues.

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