Even Motorcycle Gangs Get Trademarks

Mongols Trademark Registration Certificate

After about two years of prosecution, a federal judge ruled that the motorcycle gang “Mongols” get to keep their trademark registration. The Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc., the gang’s legal name, began using their named trademark in 1969 soon after the group of Latino Vietnam veterans formed the gang after being denied entry into the Hell’s Angel motorcycle club. The design mark shown to the right was registered in 2006. When federal prosecutors filed an indictment against the Mongols in 2008 for charges ranging from racketeering to money laundering, one of the things they sought was forfeiture of the gang’s trademark, meaning ownership would pass to the U.S. government. I personally have not heard of the government pursuing a route like this before; essentially an attempt to usurp a defendant’s identity!

One of the rights that comes with owning a trademark is the ability to stop and/or sue for damages for unauthorized use of the mark. I am curious as to how the feds would have used this right. It would be very interesting to see FBI pulling over Mongol members on the highway and ordering them to remove patches or face trademark infringement claims!

-ck

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