Evil Enterprises Inc., owners of a website with the URL baseballsevilempire.com which currently will not load due to a malware warning—probably Yankee tampering—recently filed a trademark claim for the term "Baseballs Evil Empire," which was sniffed out and promptly disputed by the lawyers employed by Basbeball's Evil Empire. Even though the Yankees would never use the term to promote their team, they need to own it, because it exists.
Like a fictional fan of the Washington Senators who makes a deal with the devil to become a slugger that can beat the Yankees, winning this lawsuit required something of a Faustian bargain for the Yankees themselves. In order to attain the copyright, the lawyers were forced to argue that their employer is the team in the Major Leagues most associated with hegemonic evil. It was pretty easy!
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.
Part of the Yankees' argument: a concession that in the baseball world, they are, in fact, the "Evil Empire." 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. Allowing anyone else to use the phrase exclusively would likely cause confusion, ruled the judges.
"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."
There you have it, Yankees haters—the Yankees are officially and legally baseball's evilest team. While you were celebrating, they foreclosed on your house.
New York Yankees: Yes, We're 'Evil' [Wall Street Journal]