T-shirt seller sued over Steelers' Terrible Towel trademark

Reuters News
Posted: Aug 25, 2011 6:38 PM
T-shirt seller sued over Steelers' Terrible Towel trademark

PITTSBURGH (Reuters) - The Pittsburgh Steelers and a school for disabled students are suing a company for selling T-shirts that allegedly infringe on the trademark of The Terrible Towel, a yellow-and-black cloth often twirled by the football team's fans.

The lawsuit alleges that Eugene Berry Enterprise LLC filed a trademark application in May for "The Terrible T-Shirt" and had been selling the shirts emblazoned with those words and "A Pittsburgh Original," court documents said.

Attorneys for the Allegheny Valley School, which owns the Terrible Towel trademark, asked the company to withdraw the application before its owner attempted to have more of the shirts printed, the documents said. It has been selling the shirts since February, according to the suit.

The suit, filed on Monday, alleges trademark infringement, unfair competition, fraud and other offenses. It seeks damages including profits from the T-shirts, attorneys' fees and other expenses.

The late sportscaster Myron Cope invented The Terrible Towel in the mid-1970s. In 1996, he gave the trademark to the Allegheny Valley School, where his autistic son lived. The Steelers have an exclusive license to market Terrible Towel-marked items.

A spokesman for the Steelers and a spokeswoman for the school declined to comment. Eugene Berry Enterprise could not immediately be reached for comment.

(Reporting by Daniel Lovering; Editing by Barbara Goldberg and Greg McCune)