|Even Kats are not immune to|
the draw of the Evil Empire
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