Local sportswear firm disputes Steelers claim

| Wednesday, Jan. 19, 2011

Turtle Creek Sportswear claims in court documents filed Tuesday that it hasn't violated any National Football League or Steelers trademarks. NFL Properties and the Steelers filed a motion Jan. 4 in a 2005 trademark case claiming the company violated a 2005 court order to stop selling items similar to official Steelers merchandise.

Nicholas Wohlfarth, owner of the Penn Hills company, says the items his 12-employee company makes and sells are no different than those made and sold by other companies throughout the area. The company doesn't claim that any of its garments are official team gear and all include disclaimers saying he's not affiliated with the Steelers or the NFL, Wohlfarth said.

“There's absolutely zero attempt to confuse the consumers,” he said. “Where do they draw the line• They've never told us that. They just smack us down."

NFL Properties and the Steelers claim in the lawsuit that the company has violated their trademarks at least three times since the 2005 order. Attorneys representing NFL Properties and the Steelers couldn't be reached for comment.

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