For the half-year to 31 December 2014, the IPKat's regular team is supplemented by contributions from guest bloggers Rebecca Gulbul, Lucas Michels and Marie-Andrée Weiss.

Regular round-ups of the previous week's blogposts are kindly compiled by Alberto Bellan.

Monday, 25 February 2013

It's official! The Yankees are Evil ...

Even Kats are not immune to
the draw of the Evil Empire
To many Americans, baseball is a cross between a sport and a religion.  So far as this Kat can see, though, it's actually a feeding frenzy which is brought about by a contest involving a ball, a bat or two and an army of statisticians [Merpel notes that a Google search for 'baseball statistics' raised 133 million hits, against just 91 million for 'Abraham Lincoln' ...].  Normally this weblog carries little in the way of American sports news, and this Kat even assiduously edits out most American sports metaphors on the ground that are so often incomprehensible to non-Americans.  However, today's a special exception: he is happy to host the following post from his old friend and one-time fellow blogger Miri Frankel, now Associate General Counsel to Aegis Media Americas (welcome back to the blogosphere, Miri!).  This is what she writes:
In an example of life imitating art, it appears that the NewYork Yankees baseball team has taken a page from this 2009 piece published in satirical newspaper The Onion.  The United States Patent and Trademark Office's Trial and Appeal Board (TTAB), on February 8, agreed with the Yankees in opposing a trade mark application for “Evil Empire” in Class 25 by apparel manufacturer Evil Enterprises.  The Yankees had argued that the grant of the mark to Evil Enterprises would cause a likelihood of confusion, falsely suggest a connection with the famed team, as well as be offensive to the reputation of the team. 

For those not familiar with the Yankees, it is a New York baseball team that is known for winning numerous championships, having a management and ownership team stacked with personalities that rival the infamy of the team’s players, and amassing a player contract budget that far exceeds that of any other team in its sport.  Perhaps, in England, big-spending and perhaps equally infamous Chelsea FC may be seen as comparable. Given these attributes, the team is much loved by its hometown fans and hated by pretty much all other rival team fans (disclosure: I’m a New York Mets fan in the “Yankees are the Evil Empire, and not in a good way” camp). 
In a “if-you-can’t-beat-‘em-join-‘em” argument, the Yankees argued to the TTAB that, given the extensive public adoption of the Evil Empire moniker, they ultimately decided to embrace it by playing the “Star Wars” soundtrack at home games.  The TTAB agreed, stating,
“In short, the record shows that there is only one EVIL EMPIRE in baseball and it is the New York Yankees.  Accordingly, we find that [the Yankees have] a protectable trademark right in the term EVIL EMPIRE as used in connection with baseball.”
Full TTAB opinion here
Other Evil Empires here, here, and here

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

I really think you are batting 1000 with this post, almost :-)

One correction: the Yankees are what they are not because of vulgar oil sheiks, but because of the mythical "curse of the Bambino" from 1919, when the Boston Red Sox sold Babe Ruth to the Yankees. This laid the foundation for Yankees greatness, which persists to this day.

Anonymous said...

And of course we know who the evil empire is in terms of trade mark firms ;)

Anonymous said...

Of course, the Evil Emipre (State) Yankees should not be confused with "Damn Yankees", either.

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