Intellectual Property

Yankees Win! New York Yankees Successfully Oppose Trademark Registration of Ominous Moniker, “Evil Empire”

Red Sox fans - next time you ridicule the Yankees, you might need to first apply for a trademark license to do so. And worst of all, you'll need to seek that license from your subject of ridicule, the Yankees themselves.

The New York Yankees have successfully opposed registration of the trademark, BASEBALLS EVIL EMPIRE.

The Yankees neither own an application or registration for the term EVIL EMPIRE nor does the team use the mark in connection with any goods or services. However, the Yankees showed that the term EVIL EMPIRE, when used in connection with baseball, refers to the Yankees.

The registrant, Evil Enterprises, Inc., argued that the Yankees could not claim a protectable right in the term EVIL EMPIRE because "[t]oo many baseball teams are now referred to by the media as an 'Evil Empire' ...."

"[T]he record shows that there is only one EVIL EMPIRE in baseball and it is the New York Yankees," the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board said. "Accordingly, we find that opposer has a protectable trademark right in the term EVIL EMPIRE as used in connection with baseball."

To support the claim that EVIL EMPIRE is widely used as a shorthand reference or nickname for the New York Yankees baseball club, the Yankees provided hundreds of news stories, internet articles, blog entries, and message board postings showing that the Yankees are known as the EVIL EMPIRE.

The Yankees also stated that it had "implicitly embraced" the EVIL EMPIRE theme by adopting music and other indicia from the Star Wars movies in connection with games played at Yankee Stadium.

In 2002, Red Sox president, Larry Lucchino, coined the term EVIL EMPIRE upon learning that Cuban pitcher, Jose Contreras, had signed with the Yankees over the Red Sox. Upon hearing of the signing, Lucchino is reported to have said: "The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America."


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