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
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
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