Pitt football and South Side shop spar over ‘412’ trademark
The University of Pittsburgh football team may yet wear 412 on their helmets this season.
A Pittsburgh trademark attorney said Monday that South Side apparel shop merchandise company Shop412 is “splitting hairs” in its alleged trademark dispute with the university over the 412 area code.
“The picture of the Pitt helmet I am looking at seems to be in a different font and doesn’t copy the distinct element of the Shop412 logo,” said Pittsburgh attorney John McIlvaine, who is not representing the company or university in the dispute. “It’s a plain Jane ‘412’ on the helmet.”
The issue gained publicity Friday when Pitt player Damar Hamlin tweeted on “412 Day,” which was Friday, April 12, that Shop412 made the team remove the area code from its football helmet visors.
— Damar Hamlin (@HamlinIsland) April 12, 2019
Shop412 did not respond to multiple messages left by the Trib, but responded via Twitter Friday to Hamlin saying it is working on a deal with the university.
We are and have been working with Pitt on a deal for authentic 412 x Pitt. https://t.co/2NLEWYA8T8
— 412 (@Shop412) April 12, 2019
A Pitt spokesman declined comment Monday evening.
I feel this is unfair to @Shop412 . They are working on a co-brand with the University and this ‘unveil’ was premature. If any business is about Pittsburgh it’s them and they’ve backed that up over and over. https://t.co/AsYOy4fUDu
— Andrew Taglianetti (@Andrew_Tags) April 12, 2019
and yet you used pitt’s colors…did pitt shut you down to make a “deal?” pic.twitter.com/NplBvQI5ZU
— susan seiden carlino (@SueCarlino) April 12, 2019
McIlvaine said Shop412 has a trademark of its logo, which includes the numbers “412.” A trademark usually costs $2,000 or less and needs to be renewed every five years, he said.
“That is probably what they (Shop412) asserted against Pitt,” said McIlvaine. “But what is registered is a specific logo, and I don’t think the Pitt helmet copied the special logo.”
He said there are a lot of other trademarks out there incorporating 412.
McIlvaine said Shop412 has the logo trademarked for athletic apparel, shirts, hats and caps.
Pitt might be using the 412 as a representative of the area code where the school is located.
He said if Shop412 had a Pitt logo on its merchandise, Pitt would react in similar fashion.
“If, in the end, they both have a fair argument, it may come down to an arrangement for both of them,” McIlvaine said. “I don’t think Shop412 is trying to monopolize 412. They are just trying to protect their right to use their particular representation of goods they have trademarked.”
JoAnne Klimovich Harrop is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact JoAnne at 412-320-7889, [email protected] or via Twitter .