A company called Evil Enterprises applied for a trademark back in 2008 in the interest of selling merchandise using the phrase “Baseball’s Evil Empire.” The New York Yankees, widely known to many as the Evil Empire, quickly balked at the idea, claiming they had rights to the phrase. They even cited their use of Star Wars music during home games as an example of the team embracing the unflattering but fitting moniker.
Alas, a panel of judges has denied the trademark application and sided with the Yanks. The panel’s humorous explanation of the ruling is what makes this so notable:
“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.”
It’s funny because it’s true. What’s strange is the argument from lawyers representing Evil Enterprises, suggesting the term “Evil Empire” has been used with the Phillies, Rangers, and other teams. Quite the crafty retort. The Rangers and Phillies have been referred to as the Evil Empire about as often as you’ve had your taxes done by Irwin R. Schyster.