Seizing intellectual property … of a motorcycle gang?

Posted by Rob Walker on October 23, 2008
Posted Under: The Designed Life

The Mongols Motorcycle Club, or Mongols MC, is based in southern California. It has an estimated 1,000 members, and it has a logo.

A trademarked logo.

According to the U.S. government, it’s also a criminal organization, engaged in everything from drug trafficking to murder; 79 members were named in a recent racketeering indictment.

Yesterday, the government also had a bit of success in a different avenue it is pursuing vis a vis the Mongols MC:

U.S. District Court Judge Florence-Marie Cooper on Wednesday granted an injunction that prohibits gang members, their family members and associates from wearing, licensing, selling or distributing the logo, which typically depicts the profile of a Mongolian warrior wearing sunglasses.

According to the AP, this is “believed to be the first case in the nation in which the government has sought to take control of a gang’s identity — via its logo — through a court order.”

The upshot, as I understand it from the story, is that anything with a Mongols MC logo on it is now subject to seizure. I gather that the “club” or “gang” or whatever it is did in fact go through the legal steps to trademark its logo. But now that logo is, in effect, illegal.

UPDATE: I see now that Counterfeit Chic had a similar item two days ago, and has more, here. Cites an L.A. Times article explaining that the plan involves “the government [taking] over ownership of the trademark,” which would allow the seizures. I wonder if it would also allow them to cut some licensing deals!

[Thx: Harold C.]

Further diversion may be found at MKTG Tumblr, and the Consumed Facebook page.

Reader Comments

Is it just me, or does this remind you of actions normally taken by a dictatorship? Nazi Germany anyone? Or how about Sarah Palin?

Vote Obama. voteforchange.com

#1 
Written By EnergonCube on October 23rd, 2008 @ 4:38 pm

This is a great way to boost ratings for Sons of Anarchy.

#2 
Written By Gladys on October 23rd, 2008 @ 6:29 pm

This legal blog suggests that the government’s actions are overreaching (at best) and possibly a First Amendment violation (at worst):
http://randazza.wordpress.com/2008/10/24/mongols-trademark-seizure-update/

And a site devoted to motorcycle rights weighs in too: http://www.bigbendbikersforfreedom.com/2008/10/bigger-story-behind-mongols-bust.html

#3 
Written By Braulio on October 24th, 2008 @ 12:36 pm

Absolutely true. The Government is seizing control of the intillectual property of the gang. I am creating a site dedicated to this action. It is not complete yet, but it will be soon. It is at http://www.lacrimeprevention.com on the Gang Page. It will be interesting to see where this goes. What next? The color Blue will be illegal?

Thomas Redmann
Hazard Prevention, Mitigation and
Crime Prevention Specialist

#4 
Written By Thomas on November 3rd, 2008 @ 6:42 am

i think that the government should leave us alone and mind their own bussiness we only hurt some one when weere disrespected or threatened so dont mess with them

#5 
Written By mongols supporter on February 17th, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

More people have died violently, and suddenly in the mane of God than under the name of any Outlaw M.C….should the Cross of Jesus be Outlawed also?!!

#6 
Written By dav on April 19th, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

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