Feds Still Trying To Abuse Trademark Law (?!?) To Stop Motorcycle Gang

from the consumer-confusion? dept

Nearly three years ago, we wrote about an absolutely ridiculous plan by the US government to try to deal with a motorcycle gang. Beyond just arresting approximately 80 members of the Mongols motorcycle gang around the country and charging them with a variety of criminal charges including murder, robbery, racketeering, extortion, money laundering, gun trafficking and drug dealing... the US government also decided it wanted to seize the trademark of the gang, and then use that to try to stop the gang. At the time, they claimed this would allow them to simply take jackets off of motorcycle riders by claiming trademark infringement. Of course, that's not (at all) how trademark law works.

I had assumed (incorrectly, it appears) that this issue had gone away, but Dave P. alerts us to the news that three years later, the fight over who gets to own the logo is still ongoing. Apparently, while a judge issued an injunction against the gang using the logo, things went further last year, when the US government tried to officially forfeit the logo. While a judge initially agreed, he reversed his original ruling, after remaining members of the Mongols claimed that they collectively owned the logo, and the government couldn't just seize it. The government, in turn, claims that the trademark is actually held by just one guy, who has already pleaded guilty to various charges.

Of course, I still can't fathom why the government thinks holding such a trademark is useful. It's not going to stop gang members. It wouldn't take much effort to find a new logo, and the government likely wouldn't win if it actually dared to try to make use of the trademark.

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  1. icon
    Gwiz (profile), 30 Jun 2011 @ 9:44am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So do I support the government in this action? Not really. But I can understand why they do it, and that is different.

    I understand it too - that's the part that scares me.

    We *suspect* you are committing Crime A, but we can't prove it, so we *make up* Crime B to prosecute you with.

    That slope is a way too slippery for my comfort, even if these gang members *should* be taken off the streets.

    PS: I rarely dance and if you have ever seen me dance you'd know why.

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