August 17, 2011

So would the Yankees say I can't call South Texas "The Evil Empire?"

South Texas College of Law and I have this running joke (which isn't all that funny, really), where I call them "The Evil Empire" ala Star Wars. Dean Gerald Treece is the Emperor, while moot court coach extraordinaire Rob Galloway is Treece's Sith apprentice, Darth Vader. Ha, ha, right? (I even heard that last year South Texas had shirts made saying "Never Underestimate the Power of the Dark Side").

Don't know why I ever started calling them that, although I'm sure somewhere in my subconscious I was just ripping off Red Sox fans, who have for some time referred to the hated New York Yankees as The Evil Empire. Because really, if there's anything in the law school advocacy world equivalent to the New York Yankees and their 27 World Championships, it's South Texas and their 107 National Championships.

Anyway, fun story today at Deadspin about the Yankees' attempts to quash one company's use of the term "Evil Empire" in selling anti-Yankees merch. Only the thing is, I'm not really sure the Yankees care about the use of the term Evil Empire. Rather, it it seems pretty plain to me that the Yankees are much more concerned about the blatant use of the team's trademarks -- in particular the famous interlocking NY on their hats and home jerseys, and the script Yankees with the Uncle Sam hat on the bat.

The Evil Empire folks are clearly using those marks. I agree there's an interesting parody issue at play (a parody always has to bear a high degree of semblance to the original; otherwise, it wouldn't be funny -- think "Weird" Al Yankovich). But would the Yankees care if someone just made shirts that said "Baseball's Evil Empire" -- without invoking the Yankees' famous marks? I doubt it.

And the idea that the Yankees should have trademarked the term first if they wanted to prevent others from using it is silly. You can't just trademark terms that you have no intention of using to play "keep away" from competitors (or, in this case, critics). Obviously, the Yankees wouldn't use the term "Evil Empire" in their own advertising.

So this will be a fun one to watch develop, if for no other reason than my needling of South Texas hangs in the balance.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Actually, the Evil Empire has won 108 national championships. - Darth