A Terrible (Towel) Post

Over at my law blog, madisonian.net, the other day I posted my intellectual property lawyer's musings on The Terrible Towel, featuring some skepticism of its protected status under trademark law and some cultural speculation regarding its iconic status in Steelers Nation. Take a look here. For those of you who aren't trademark lawyers (and that's probably most of you!), note that even though the federal Trademark Office has granted a registration for a trademark, that registration (and the trademark) may still be invalid. The same thing is true for patents and copyrights. You can still sell the products, and copying may be cheesy and unethical, but copying won't be illegal.

Now it's time for me to go put on my Mean Joe Greene throwback jersey and look forward to the Troy Polamalu version of the best TV commercial -- ever.

The original:

Mean Joe on the version coming tonight:

Thanks, Mean Joe! Go Steelers.


2 Responses to "A Terrible (Towel) Post"

C. Briem said... 2/02/2009 7:55 AM

Was there some secret IP lawyer buzz that the commerical would go like that? What were those guys? the Brand Police?

Mike Madison said... 2/02/2009 8:58 AM

Everyone knew that there would be a "twist," but no one has inside knowledge about what the twist would be.

There is an ongoing "Taste Infringement" ad campaign in which "lawyers" for Coke argue that "Coke Zero" is "infringing" Coke's taste. The idea is that Coke Zero tastes so much like Coke that CZ must have "stolen" something from Coke. But it's the same company, of course, which is the joke. Ha ha ha.

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Pittsblog 2.0 is written by Mike Madison, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh. Send email to michael.j.madison[at]gmail.com. Mike also blogs at Madisonian.net, on law and technology. Chris Briem of Null Space drops by from time to time.

All opinions expressed at Pittsblog 2.0 are those of their respective authors and of no one (and no thing) else, least of all the University of Pittsburgh.

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