“Terrible Mask” promotions disappeared from two Indiana-based websites over the weekend after a consent decree was approved Friday in the U.S. District Court for Western Pennsylvania.
Under that decree accepted Friday by Federal District Judge Arthur J. Schwab, Time In LLC and its owner and/or manager Charles A. Goldberg agreed to refrain from using “terrible” references that infer a business relationship with Eamon, operator of Allegheny Valley School, and the Pittsburgh Steelers, which long has been associated with the late Myron Cope’s “Terrible Towel” concept.
Goldberg is listed in court papers as being owner and/or manager of Time In LLC, with locations in Ocean Ridge, Fla., and at 1200 School St., Indiana.
As attorney Brian H. Simmons wrote on behalf of the foundation, “in or about August of 1996, Mr. Cope graciously gifted and assigned” trademarks for his “Terrible” items to the Allegheny Valley School for intellectually and developmentally disabled persons. Cope’s son has lived most of his life there.
A few months after Cope’s death in 2008, the school assigned its rights to the “Terrible” items to the AVS Foundation, which was renamed The Eamon Foundation in 2016.
The Indiana address also is the location of S&S Screen Printing, which like Time In LLC advertised a $15 “Terrible Mask” online. However, no connection was made between Time In LLC and S&S in the original filing by Simmons, nor was S&S listed as a defendant in the Eamon lawsuit.
Goldberg claimed that he had a written license or agreement with Cope permitting him to manufacture, produce and/or sell the products listed in Eamon’s complaint.
However, as was noted in the preamble to the consent decree, “the alleged agreement is over 40 years old and defendants (Time In and Goldberg) are currently unable to locate a copy of (it),” and “Eamon denies the alleged agreement exists.”
In the original filing, an attorney for Goldberg claimed that there was a non-interference agreement between Goldberg and Cope, whereby Goldberg “would not challenge the rights of Cope to make and sell The Terrible Towel” and Cope “agreed that (Charles) Goldberg had the right to make and sell any other goods and products bearing the word ‘terrible.’”
Terms of the consent decree include provisions refraining Time In and Goldberg “from passing themselves off as having any business relationship whatsoever with Eamon and/or the Pittsburgh Steelers,” but added, “this would prevent any references from authorized sources of non-infringing marks such as if (the) defendants were to obtain a license from NFL Properties” or the National Football League Players Association.