[HIGH-LIGHT]Anyone that´s ever taken a stroll along Penn Avenue in the Strip District knows just what of merchandise they´re going after. But, this guys company was selling his stuff in a grocery store chain.[/HIGH-LIGHT]


By Rich Lord, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

The Pittsburgh Steelers and the NFL today sought a contempt of court order against a shirt manufacturer that markets products featuring slightly altered versions of the team's logo and thinly veiled references to star players.

U.S. District Judge Terrence F. McVerry said at the end of a hearing today that he would rule quickly on the request.

Turtle Creek Sportswear owner Nicholas Wohlfarth agreed in 2005 to stop marketing products such as black and gold Big Ben hats. But investigators hired by the team and the NFL said that for the past month they've found products made by Turtle Creek Sportswear in local Shop 'n Save stores that featured the Steelers' three-diamond hypocycloid, the city's name, and various plays on player reputations.

For instance, a shirt with the phrase "Psycho Ward" also had the number 86, worn by Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward. A shirt festooned with "Beware the Hair" had the number 43, worn by safety Troy Polamalu.

"It's an attempt to capture the popularity of the Pittsburgh Steelers for your own commercial purposes, isn't it?" New York attorney Jeremy Feigelson, representing the Steelers and the NFL, asked Mr. Wohlfarth at the hearing.

Mr. Wolhfarth paused, before answering, "Yes."

The NFL and the Steelers want the court to seize his profits, take the merchandise, and impose a fine of $500 a day for every day the merchandise was sold.

"The Steelers claim that anything in black and gold is theirs, and anything with a hypocycloid, which is a geometric shape, is theirs," complained Dravosburg-based attorney William J. Helzlsouer, representing Turtle Creek Sportswear.

He showed photos of other merchandise on sale in the Strip District that also invoked thoughts of the Steelers. "They're using a cannon to swat at a fly."

The Steelers' director of strategic planning and development, Mark Hart, said after the hearing that the team and league have "an obligation to ensure that its marks and logos are used properly and legitimately."

"It's really about the brand and the marks and the integrity of all of the logos of the league," he added.

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