The Yankees have embraced the phrase “Evil Empire,” and now they legally own it.
As reported by the Wall St. Journal, Evil Enterprises wanted the exclusive right to market merchandise using that phrase, which was was how Larry Lucchino, the president and chief executive of the Boston Red Sox, referred to the Yankees in 2002 after learning that the Yankees had signed Jose Contreras, Lucchino was widely reported as saying: “The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America.”
A panel of trademark judges in Washington, D.C., earlier this month denied a request from a private entrepreneur, known as Evil Enterprises, Inc., to register the trademark for the phrase “Baseballs Evil Empire.” Evil Enterprises initially applied for a trademark back in July of 2008.
But the Yankees objected, arguing that they had the rights to the phrase—at least when used in connection with baseball.
In its legal papers, the team referenced a number of articles from the past decade using the term in connection with the Yankees, and conceded that the team has “implicitly embraced” the “Evil Empire” theme by playing music from Star Wars during their home games.
The panel of judges sided with the Yankees, ruling that the Yankees are strongly associated with the phrase and allowing anyone else to use the phrase exclusively would likely cause confusion.
“In short, the record shows that there is only one Evil Empire in baseball and it is the New York Yankees,” wrote the judges. “Accordingly, we find that [the Yankees] have a protectable trademark right in the term . . . as used in connection with baseball.”
When reached Friday, Lucchino said, “I give them credit. Their embracing it is clever indeed.”
Red Sox Nation would prefer not be to be known by the hyphenation: last-place