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Lost in Translation: Steelers Stop Terrible Towels in Different Languages

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Steelers' Terrible Towel by Arvind Grover on Flickr

Steelers' Terrible Towel by Arvind Grover on Flickr

A man selling imitation “Terrible Towels” in different languages has agreed to cease and desist production after the Pittsburgh Steelers and a related charitable foundation asked him to stop.

Nick Rossi claims he started producing towels in Italian to benefit earthquake victims in Italy several years ago; he had since begun printing towels with Spanish and Hebrew among the languages on them.

The Terrible Towel is a rally towel of the Pittsburgh Steelers; fans famously wave the golden towels stamped with “terrible towel” in black lettering in the stands during games. They were created in 1975 by Steelers’ radio announcer Myron Cope, and proceeds from the sales of the towels benefit the Allegheny Valley School, which provides support and care for children and adults with mental disabilities.

The Steelers and its foundation believe that the towels infringed on their trademarks for the Terrible Towels and sent Rossi a cease and desist letter threatening a lawsuit.

Since Rossi has agreed to stop production of any towels that infringe on the “Terrible Towel” trademark, the lawsuit threat has been dropped.

What do you think? Should translations of trademarked words and phrases be off-limits?

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August 23rd, 2012 at 10:12 am