Pittsburgh Steelers File Lawsuit Over ‘Terrible Towel’ Violation

By Community | August 17, 2012

The NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers and the Allegheny Valley School have filed suit against Nick Rossi, order of Ligonier, prescription claiming that Rossi violated the trademark on the well-known “Terrible Towel”.

The towel, which was created by the late Steelers broadcaster Myron Cope, was trademarked sometime ago, with the trademark currently owned by the school.

All proceeds from the sale of the towels go to the school, which helps disabled persons, including Myron Cope’s son.

Rossi states that he initially made the towels to raise money for earthquake victims in Italy, and sees the towels on an improvement on the original, hence making the lawsuit frivolous,

“When I made these towels, I thought they were a new and improved version of their towel, and I don’t see any reason why you shouldn’t be able to do that,” said Nick Rossi.

Both the Steelers and the school disagreed, hitting Rossi with a lawsuit claiming trademark infringement, unfair competition, and racketeering, as well as numerous cease-and-desist letters.

While Rossi has taken steps to avoid a suit — he no longer uses the word “terrible” on any of his products — he still believes the plaintiffs in the suit are overstepping their boundaries. That being said, he is still looking to avoid a costly, protracted lawsuit,

“I can’t afford to fight them, and no one else is going to fight them because it’s Pittsburgh and it’s Myron Cope and it’s history, but I really think they’re overreaching,” said Rossi.

Sales of the terrible towel have currently brought in over $3 million dollars to the Allegheny Valley School.