In a claim filed in New York federal court on Monday, Tanit Buday, 63, said her uncle could not afford to challenge the “rich and powerful” Yankees during his lifetime. She said the team should hand over all profits related to the logo, a top hat perched on a baseball bat, which first appeared in 1936.
Naturally however, a spokesperson for the Yankees said that Buday’s claim has no merit.
To support her claim, Buday submitted testimony from a branding expert as well as photos of the logo containing a “P,” which she said was a signature of her uncle’s work.
According to Buday, Yankees owners commissioned the logo from her uncle after hearing about his work from his sister, who was a manicurist in Brooklyn in the 1930s.
The origins of many famous team logos are murky because there was little effort to track who owned what are now valuable pieces of intellectual property, said Jim Gates, a librarian at the Baseball Hall of Fame. “Prior to 1960, there wasn’t any money to be made from T-shirts and hats,” he said.
Ed Edmonds, a sports law professor at the University of Notre Dame, said the Yankees logo may be the most valuable in the world after that of the Manchester United football (soccer) team in Great Britain.