The Yankee Universe is a blog run by some guys I know. It’s also the name of the Yankees’ little Red Sox Nation wannabe fanclub. You can see where this is heading:
Accordingly, demand is hereby made that you immediately cease and
desist from using the YANKEE UNIVERSE name and the Logo, any other
Yankees Mark and any other MLB mark in and as the name of your Website,
to promote the Website, to seek advertising any other commercial
opportunities, in and as the Domain Name, and in any other manner that
would cause consumer confusion, dilution of the MLB Marks, or imply any
sponsorship or endorsement of your Website or its contents by any MLB
I’m not going to carve up this C&D letter like I did the Sizemore one the other day for the simple reason that there’s not that much silly about it. It’s a well-written letter, MLBAM is not really over the top with it, and in my legal opinion they’re not 100% out to lunch. Even if the blog has actively used the name longer, the baseball team registered the name “Yankee Universe” before the blog got going. While I’m not an intellectual property expert, I imagine that there’s a pretty good argument against someone else using that particular name.
I’m less impressed with the team’s claim that the blog can’t use the word “Yankees” in their title in any way. For practical reasons more than legal ones. For one thing it’s just bad P.R. You know the argument by now: the blog makes no money off of it, it’s a place where people go to get more excited about the Yankee brand, not less, and allowing them to use the name is a good thing for fandom at large. Of course, given how many other non-affiliated, team-specific blogs there are out there that have yet to raise the ire of MLBAM, one has to assume that the league is throwing this in along with the “Yankees Universe” beef as opposed to being upset about it in and of itself.
While Yankees Universe have put a non-affiliation disclaimer on the the blog and have taken down actual Yankees trademarks and logos and stuff, I’m told that they aren’t going to take this lying down. They’re talking to lawyers and will be firing back a response soon. Stay tuned.