Think you know who the "Evil Empire" is? Think again!
What comes to mind when you hear the term “Evil Empire”? Darth Vader and Star wars, right?
Wrong! The U.S. Patent and TradeMark Office (USPTO) recently ruled that when it comes to baseball, the New York Yankees have rights to the term “Evil Empire” and can prevent others from using it.
At issue was the attempt by U.S.compnay Evil Enterprises Inc. to use the term “Baseball’s Evil Empire” on cloths with baseball logos on them. While the New York Yankees have never attempted to trademark the phrase, nor has it used the name in connection with any goods or services, the USPTO said the name “Evil Empire” has become linked with the Yankees in the minds of the average American to the point that the team has inherent rights to the name. In fact, the USPTO cited a number of news articles about the 27-time World Series champions that referred to the team as the Evil Empire and concluded “there is only one Evil Empire in baseball and it is the New York Yankees.”
Evil Enterprises argued that it should be able to trademark the name as it refers to any sports team that is willing to spend huge sums of money to get the best athletes. The USPTO rejected this argument, saying that articles that refer to other sports teams as Evil Empires merely indicate the teams want to be in the Yankees position and be able to afford a roster of players that can win more championships.
The term Evil Empire was initially created by a manager of the Boston Red Sox. Red Sox fans quickly adopted the nickname as a way of bad-mouthing the Yankees. The Yankees, however, saw the name as a sign of their success and adopted the phrase in several ways, including playing Darth Vader’s theme song at games in Yankee Stadium.