The New York Yankees are one of the most iconic sports teams in the world. The professional American baseball team is based in the Bronx, New York City. Often referred to as simply the “Yankees”, they compete in Major League Baseball (MLB) as a member club of the American League (AL) East division.
The team was founded in 1903 as part of a mission by Ban Johnson, the President of a minor league, known as the Western League. He changed the name to the American League (AL) in 1900, declaring it a major league, despite the National League’s (NL) disapproval. For two years, Johnson’s plans to add an AL team in New York City were blocked by the NL’s New York Giants (now the San Francisco Giants). Eventually, a vote in 1903 allowed an AL team to be put in New York. Originally known as the New York Highlanders, they didn’t become the New York Yankees until 1913.
The Yankees are one of two major league clubs based in New York City – the other being the NL’s New York Mets. The Yankees played their home games at the original Yankee Stadium in the Bronx from 1923 to 1973 and from 1976 to 2008. They temporarily played at Shea Stadium in 1974-1975, while their stadium was being renovated, sharing it with the Mets, New York Jets, and New York Giants, before moving to a new ballpark, also named Yankee Stadium, close to the original which was demolished.
Garnering huge popularity both on-pitch and off-pitch, the Yankees are one of the most successful professional sports teams in the United States. The team has now won 40 American League pennants, 19 American League Division titles, and 27 World Series championships, all MLB records. The Yankees have won more titles across the four major North American sports leagues than any other franchise. They’ve also had a roster of renowned players, with 44 players and 11 managers being inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, including the likes of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Joe DiMaggio, Mariano Rivera, and Derek Jeter.
Off-pitch, the team’s logo has become a fashion item, recognized globally as a symbol of New York City. They have a huge following and a dedicated fanbase and are perennially among the leaders in MLB attendance. The Yankees are the second-highest-valued sports franchise in the world (behind the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys), according to Forbes, with an estimated value of $6 billion. From their origin in 1903 to 2022, the Yankees’ overall win-loss record is 10,602 – 8,000 (a. 570 winning percentage).
Famous New York Yankee Trademarks
The New York Yankees are one of the oldest active members of the MLB and are recognized internationally for not only their on-pitch success but also as a brand. With a lot of their imagery being an iconic fashion statement, the Yankees have a lot to gain from trademarking their assets. Not only that, but having another baseball team based in the region, as well as many other big sports franchises in New York, protecting their IP is crucial in saving them money and future legal battles. The Yankees currently have 64 trademarks to their name. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous New York Yankee Trademarks, registered by the New York Yankees Partnership.
Perhaps one of the most famous and recognizable logos in the world, the iconic “NY” monogram was introduced by the Yankees in 1903 when they changed from the Baltimore Highlanders to the New York Highlanders. However, this was not the version that we all know now. The letters had a wide space between them and curved edges that represented deer horns.
There were four more renditions of this image before the Yankees introduced the infamous logo that is now instantly recognizable. In 1909, they kept the monogram but moved the “Y” to sit in the middle of the “N”, changing the typeface to a more simplistic one with elongated curved lines. This logo was changed slightly in 1913 when they were renamed the New York Yankees. The letters are slightly thicker and therefore more compact, and the blue changed to a more royal blue. This is the logo still used to this day. The “NY” logo was registered for a trademark in 1977 and has been updated over the years to now apply to:
- Entertainment services in the nature of baseball exhibitions
- Battery operated radios
- Baseball helmet lamps
- Novelty pins in the nature of jewelry
- Stickers, decals, and posters
- Simulated uniform tops, T-shirts, visors, and baseball caps
- Cloth patches, needlepoint kits consisting essentially of needles, matting, and yarn
- Plastic batting helmets and toys-namely, miniature batting helmet replicas, banks, bullpen buggies, caps and bats kits consisting of bats and batting helmets, and cap replicas with pencil sharpeners
- Novelty items made of metal, namely, metal key rings
- Ornamental novelty items, namely, lapel pins, buttons, and figurines
- Food and beverage containers, namely, cups, mugs, glasses, and decorative plates
- Fabrics, namely, hand towels
- Smoker’s articles, namely, ashtrays, cigarette lighters, and matches
- Beverage containers, namely, mugs of porcelain
- Paper goods and printed matter, namely, trading cards, posters, stickers, decals, temporary tattoos, bumper stickers, scorebooks, scorecards, game programs, magazines and books featuring baseball, stationery folders, autograph books, book covers, calendars, greeting cards, gift wrapping paper, paper gift, and party bags, paper cups, paper plates, paper coasters, paper napkins, paper tablecloths, lithographs, paperweights, pens, pencils, desk stands and holder for pens, pencils and ink, non-electric erasers, and ticket holders and lanyards for ticket holders
- Electrical and scientific apparatus, namely, pre-recorded videotapes relating to baseball, pre-recorded videodiscs relating to baseball; pre-recorded audio discs relating to baseball; compact disc cases; cell phone accessories, namely, cases and face plate covers; photographic cameras; electric switch plate covers; luminous signs, neon signs; sunglasses; decorative magnets; protective helmets, baseball batting helmets, catcher’s helmets; video and computer game cartridges, video and computer game discs, video and computer game cassettes and video game controllers; computer accessories, namely, mouse pads, computer game programs, and computer game programs downloadable from a global computer network in the field of baseball
- Jewelry, namely, bracelets, charms, earrings, rings, belly rings, necklaces, pendants, watches, costume jewelry, rubber or silicone bracelets and wristbands in the nature of a bracelet, medallions, ornamental metal pins, lapel pins, cuff links, metal belt buckles of precious metal, money clips of precious metal, precious metal key chains, precious metal key rings, clocks, wall clocks, alarm clocks, fob watches, clock key chains, and non-monetary coins of precious metal
- Athletic bags, overnight bags, backpacks, duffel bags, tote bags, beach bags, lunch totes, knapsacks, attach cases, briefcases, wallets, billfolds, cosmetic cases sold empty, toiletry cases sold empty, business card cases, luggage, luggage tags, suitcases, umbrellas, dog collars, and dog leashes
- Clothing, namely, caps, hats, visors, knitted headwear, headbands, bandannas, shirts, T-shirts, tank tops, blouses, sweaters, turtlenecks, pullovers, vests, shorts, pants, dresses, skirts, baseball uniforms, jerseys, warm-up suits, jogging suits, sweatshirts, sweatpants, underwear, boxer shorts, robes, sleepwear, nightshirts, swimwear, jackets, ponchos, cloth bibs, infant wear, infant diaper covers, cloth diaper sets with undershirt and diaper cover, jumpers, rompers, coveralls, creepers, baby booties, ties, gloves, wristbands, footwear, socks, hosiery, slippers
- Toys and sporting goods, namely, stuffed toys, plush toys, and foam toys, foam novelty items, namely, foam fingers, puppets; balloons, checker sets, chess sets, dominoes, board games, card games, playing cards, dart boards, and dart board accessories, namely, darts, dart shafts and dart flights, toy cars and trucks, toy mobiles, jigsaws and manipulative puzzles, toy banks, toy figures, toy vehicles, dolls, and doll accessories, bobbing head dolls, decorative wind socks, miniature baseball bats, mini batting helmet replicas, toy necklaces, miniature toy baseballs, baseballs, playground balls, rubber action balls, golf balls, golf club head covers, billiard accessories, namely, billiard balls, baseball bases, baseball bats, catcher’s masks, batting gloves, baseball gloves, baseball mitts, inflatable toys; costume masks; Christmas tree ornaments, excluding confectionery and illumination articles, and Christmas stockings
- Bubble gum, candy, candy mints, chewing gum, chocolate candies, cookies, ice cream, mustard, and peppermint candy
Related: How to trademark a logo
Another popular Yankees logo is the official emblem of the baseball team. This imagery features a white baseball with a thick red outline and red stitching. “Yankees” is written in a red cursive script on the lower section of the ball. The vertical line of the “K” in Yankees has been replaced by a baseball bat and sitting on top of the bat is an Uncle Sam-style hat with the stars and stripes pattern of the American flag on it in red, blue, and white. This logo was introduced in 1946 and only changed once in 1968 to become refined, and the colors became deeper – resembling the United States colors more closely. The Yankees emblem was the first thing they trademarked in 1976. It applies to:
- Key tags and key chains
- Watches and clocks, tie fasteners, tie clasps, money clips, pendants, charm bracelets, Lapel pins, earrings, rings, costume jewelry pins, and novelty pins
- Baseball trading cards, decals, posters, and labels
- Tote bags
- Cushions, and display boards (with magnetic team badges for attachment thereto, for maintaining day-to-day standings of major league baseball teams), and waste baskets for domestic use
- Drinking cups made of plastic and paper cups
- Towels and cloth pennants
- T-shirts, sweatshirts, pajamas, socks, ponchos, jackets, pants, garters, belts, and robes
- Cloth, iron-on, sew-on, and pressure-sensitive patches, cloth badges, and belt buckles
- Golf balls, baseballs, and baseball gloves
- Cigarette lighters
- Entertainment services, namely, baseball games, competitions, and exhibitions rendered live, through broadcast media including television and radio and via a global computer network or a commercial online service; providing information in the field of sports, entertainment, and related topics and providing for informational messages relating thereto; providing multi-user interactive computer games, all via a global computer network or a commercial on-line service; education services in the nature of baseball skills instruction.
- Toys and sporting goods, namely, stuffed toys, plush toys, foam toys, foam novelty items, namely, foam fingers, balloons, checker sets, chess sets, dominoes, board games, card games, playing cards, dart boards and dart board accessories, namely, darts, dart shafts and dart flights, toy cars and trucks, toy mobiles, jigsaw and manipulative puzzles, yo-yo’s, toy banks, toy figures, toy vehicles, dolls and doll accessories, bobbing head dolls, inflatable baseball bats, decorative wind socks, miniature baseball bats, mini batting helmet replicas, toy necklaces, miniature toy baseballs, baseballs, holders for baseballs, autographed baseballs, playground balls, rubber action balls, golf balls, golf club head covers, golf club bags, golf putters, billiard accessories, namely, cues, and cue cases, baseball bases, baseball bats, catcher’s masks, batting gloves, baseball gloves, baseball mitts, inflatable toys; Christmas tree ornaments, excluding confectionery and illumination articles, and Christmas stockings
- Electrical and scientific apparatus, namely, radios; pre-recorded videotapes relating to baseball, pre-recorded videodiscs relating to baseball; pre-recorded audio discs relating to baseball; compact disc cases; cases for personal digital assistants, cell phone accessories, namely, cases and face plate covers; binoculars; calculators; photographic cameras; luminous signs, neon signs; sunglasses; decorative magnets; protective helmets, catcher’s helmets; video and computer game cartridges, video and computer game discs, video and computer game cassettes and video game controllers; computer accessories, namely, mouse pads computer game programs
- Clothing, namely, caps, hats, knitted headwear, shirts, T-shirts, tank tops, sweaters, turtlenecks, pullovers, vests, shorts, pants, dresses, baseball uniforms, jerseys, warm-up suits, jogging suits, sweatshirts, sweatpants, underwear, boxer shorts, robes, swimwear, jackets, cloth bibs, infant wear, infant diaper covers, cloth diaper sets with undershirt and diaper cover, jumpers, rompers, coveralls creepers, baby booties, ties, wristbands, footwear, socks, and hosiery
“New York” illustration
Quite surprisingly, the New York Yankees have been able to trademark a simple “New York” illustration. It’s the same design that the team wears on their away uniform – featuring the words “New York” written in navy blue capital letters with a white outline in a stylized curved arch pattern. They filed for the trademark in 1988 but it wasn’t granted until 1992 – quite understandable as “New York” will be a difficult thing to trademark. However, it has been granted and applies to:
- Beverage containers; namely, cups, mugs, and glasses
- Fabrics; namely, pennants, towels, and stadium blankets
- Clothing; namely, T-shirts, sweatshirts, and children’s playsets
- Clothing, namely, headwear, hats, caps, jerseys, jackets, shirts, sweatshirts, T-shirts, infant wear, shorts, and footwear
In 1913 when the New York Yankees were renamed, they also moved to the Polo Grounds, where the New York Giants had been playing since 1911. They shared the grounds, but the Yankees started to draw in huge crowds after signing Babe Ruth to their team in 1920.
The Giants’ owner, John McGraw began to resent the Yankees’ popularity and being the second dog on his own turf. He was also looking to have more flexibility with his games which was impossible when sharing with another team.
The Yankees responded by building their own stadium across the Harlem River in 1923, in view of the Polo Grounds. The new ballpark, dubbed the Yankee Stadium, was considered an architectural work of art for its time, despite being built in a record 11 months. It was one of the first ballparks to be called a stadium and the first to feature three-tiered seating. On the first day of the new baseball season, the new Yankee Stadium welcomed 74,200 fans, with 25,000 turned away – a huge feat considering the previous attendance record for a game was 42,000 at the 1916 World Series. The Yankees have several trademarks for illustrations of Yankee Stadium, but also the wordmark. The wordmark was registered as a trademark in 1998 and granted in 2004. It applies to:
- Toys and sporting goods, namely, baseballs, recreational balls, baseball bats, and miniature bat replicas
- Decorative tin cans sold empty
- Costume jewelry pins, and lapel pins
- Paper goods and printed matter, namely, posters, calendars; postcards; lithographs; unmounted photographs; mounted photographs, and paperweights
- Figurines made of plastic, wood, and resin
- Beverage containers, namely, cups, mugs, and decorative plates
- Clothing, namely, caps, sports shirts, and T-shirts
- Entertainment services in the form of professional baseball games and organizing exhibitions for entertainment purposes; providing facilities for baseball events and recreational activities and events; providing sports information by means of telephone and digital transmission; production of cable television programs; production of radio and television programs; distribution of television programming to cable television systems
The Yankees have affectionately had the nickname the “Bronx Bombers” for many years. This name derives from the Yankees’ home in the Bronx and their thunderous power-hitting success, earning them the title “Bronx Bombers”.
Bronx Bombers is also a play written by Eric Simonson in conjunction with the New York Yankees and Major League Baseball. Produced by Fran Kimser and Tony Ponturo, the plot of the play was about former Yankee Yogi Berra and his wife, Carmen as they interact with Yankees from across all eras. The play was not a success and only recouped a quarter of its estimated box office take. It ran from February 2014 – March 2014, with only 29 regular performances.
It’s likely that the Yankees were trademarking this slogan for the team nickname, rather than the play name. The New York Yankees Partnership filed for this trademark in 1988 and had it granted in 2002. It applies to:
- Costume jewelry pins, and lapel pins
- Figurines made of porcelain
- Decorative plates
- Sporting goods, namely, baseball bats
The House That Ruth Built
“The House That Ruth Built” is a popular nickname for Yankee Stadium – referring to the baseball superstar, Babe Ruth, whose prime years coincided with the stadium’s opening. When the stadium opened in 1923, the first game of the baseball season was played against the Yankees’ biggest rivals, and Ruth’s former team – the Boston Red Sox. Ruth hit his first home run in the stadium on the opening day – a three-run home run, leading the Yankees to a 4-1 win. Sportswriter Fred Lieb referred to Yankee Stadium in his column as “The House That Ruth Built”. This became a popular nickname for the stadium, which has stuck ever since. The Yankees filed for the trademark in 1998 and had it granted in 2004. It applies to:
- Paper goods and printed matter, namely, trading cards, posters, calendars, postcards, and lithographs
- Figurines made of plastic, resin, and porcelain
- Entertainment services in the form of professional baseball games and organizing exhibitions for entertainment purposes; educational services, namely, conducting classes, seminars, and workshops in the field of baseball; providing facilities for baseball events and recreational activities and events; providing sports information by means of digital transmission
- Clothing, namely, caps, hats, pullovers, and sweatshirts
- Clothing, namely, shirts, and T-shirts
The Judge’s Chambers
The Judge’s Chambers refers to a fun design that the Yankees have introduced to their stadium in honor of popular player, Aaron Judge. In order to engage their fans and make the stadium more fun and family-friendly, the Yankees have officially installed faux wood paneling to three rows in right field, so that it resembles a courtroom’s jury box. Fans sitting here typically wear judge outfits, and hold foam gavels and signs that read “All Rise”.
Aaron Judge made his MLB debut in 2016 and quickly became the face of the Yankees. At 6’7”, he is known for his incredible defense in right field and home runs. The Yankees radio announcer has played into the theme, announcing “All Rise, Here Comes the Judge” for the player. The Judge’s Chambers is one of the Yankees’ most recent trademarks, registered in 2019, and applies to:
- Printed certificates for sports and/or entertainment fans, and printed certificates in the field of sports and/or entertainment.
- Entertainment services in the nature of in-stadium baseball fan seating areas, and fan clubs
- Caps being headwear, and T-shirts
The New York Yankees are one of the most recognized and successful sports teams in the world. They’re known for their achievements on the pitch as a baseball team, but also iconic on a larger scale for their popular branding. As a franchise worth $6 billion, the second-highest-valued sports franchise in the world, it makes sense that they would protect their IP as much as possible. Especially considering the other big sports franchises in New York.
The Yankees have registered over 60 trademarks, which may not seem like the most, but the team is known for being steeped in history. They’ve kept the same uniform, logo, and emblem since the early 1900s. The franchise has continued to update what these trademarks cover over time, and have also trademarked more popular recent slogans such as “the Judge’s Chambers” – clearly showing that the Yankees recognize the importance of protecting their IP. Registering your brand assets for trademark with USPTO can save millions of dollars in legal battles.