Pittsburgh Steelers ‘Terrible Towel’ Middle of Trademark Breach

August 26, 2011

The Terrible Towel, a yellow and black cloth, signature of the Pittsburgh Steelers fans has been in the middle of a lawsuit between the Steelers, compatriots a disabled school and Eugene Berry Enterprise LLC about trademark breach.

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.