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2/23/2013 4:58 P.M. ET

Yankees embrace moniker, win trademark ruling

Though initially intended as a jab by a Red Sox executive, the Yankees are embracing the label "Baseball's Evil Empire ".

A company called Evil Enterprises, Inc., tried to trademark the phrase "Baseball's Evil Empire," but the Yankees argued they had the rights to the phrase.

A panel of trademark judges ruled in the ballclub's favor earlier this month, finding that the phrase was associated with the Yankees, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The Yankees' argument mentioned that the team has "implicitly embraced" that role. The team cited newspaper articles and its usage of theme music from Star Wars, according to the report.

"I give them credit," The Wall Street Journal quoted Red Sox president and CEO Larry Lucchino as saying Friday. "Their embracing it is clever indeed."

The Yankees declined to comment on the story. Lucchino's original Evil Empire crack was made about New York's successful courtship of free-agent pitcher Jose Contreras: "The evil empire extends its tentacles even into Latin America."

Evil Enterprises, Inc., could appeal.

Evan Drellich is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @EvanDrellich. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.