The city council voted Tuesday to take the league to court. Baseball commissioner Bud Selig is listed as the defendant, alongside all 30 teams in the MLB.
The San Francisco Giants currently lay territorial claim to San Jose, and the office has thus far decided not to rule against the Giants. The owner of the Athletics wants to move the team to San Jose, and the city council backs the move because of the financial benefits it would receive.
A study in 2009 found that a new ballpark for the Athletics could pump $130 million yearly into the San Jose economy.
The current process says that three-quarters of MLB teams must approve the move for them to be allowed into Giants territory.
The league has historically opted for settling disputes rather than going to court. The last time the issue came up was in 2005 when the Montreal Expos moved to Washington, D.C. and became the Nationals. At the time, Balitmore had territorial claim on D.C., but Selig worked out a deal to compensate the Balitmore owner and avoid going to court.
Attorney Joe Kotchett says he expects Selig will make a similar decision for the Athletics to avoid going to court.
"This is all about economics. And you have a city like San Jose, the tenth largest city in the United States, cannot get a baseball club," Kotchett said. "I can name you other cities that are pulling for San Jose for the same reason. They want the right and the chance to bring a baseball team to their city, their county, whatever it might be."