The New York Yankees are traditionally known for their hard fought battles on the diamond. However, they recently scored a significant victory off the field. The organization successfully opposed a trademark registration for BASEBALLS EVIL EMPIRE, making it clear that the Yankees are the rightful owners of the moniker, whether they like it or not.
As explained by the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, the phrase was coined in 2002 by Red Sox club president, Larry Lucchino. In response to the Yankees signing of highly coveted pitcher, Jose Contreras, Lucchino reportedly stated: "The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America." The Yankees have since embraced the nickname, even playing ominous Star Wars music during games.
Hoping to capitalize on the association, Evil Enterprises, Inc. filed an application to register the marks for BASEBALLS EVIL EMPIRE for use on "clothing, namely, shirts, t-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, pants, shorts and hats." The New York Yankees opposed the registration on an umber of grounds, including likelihood of confusion, false suggestion of a connection, and disparagement.
The Trademark Trial and Appeal Board ultimately sided with the Yankees in denying the application, finding that confusion would likely result. "[T]he record shows that there is only one EVIL EMPIRE in baseball and it is the New York Yankees," the opinion states.
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