Hells Angels 1; French 0

Club Settles Lawsuit with French Design House Over Use of Death Head Image

HA Forces Designer to recall items such as this clutch

The NY Daily News is reporting today that the design house Alexander McQueen has moved quickly to settle the lawsuit brought by the Hells Angels Motorcycle club over the use of images the club says infringe on it’s trademark.

Also named in the suit were Saks Fifth Avenue department store and online retailer Zappos.com.  The defendants will pull all merchandise featuring the motorcycle gangs trademark “death’s head” insignia, reports New York magazine

The agreement requires the defendants attempt to recall all merchandise, including rings, dresses and purses featuring the trademarked design and have the pricy items destroyed destroyed.

In the report, one unidentified member of the club told the Times that many companies feel they can freely use the HA trademarks because they don’t respect the business side of the club.    “The reason for them doing it is, I guess, because we’re the Hells Angels, they have this strange idea that we’re all illegal criminals or something.”


Hells Angels Take on Famous Fashion House for Trademark Infringement

this design is less obvious than the clutch.

The lawyer for the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club says the trademark infringement suit against Alexander McQueen fashion house, Saks and Zappos is partly motivated to protect the innocent consumer against retailation from HA club members for disrespecting the clubs symbol, the winged death head.

Attorney Fritz Clapp did not say for the record that consumers wearing the attire that is being produced by McQueen would subject them to potential violence, but he did say “anyone wearing them would be considered an imposter by club members,”

Outlaw motorcycle clubs, or 1%’ers have been known to use violence  to protect their symbols.

The biggest question is whether the clubs trademark winged death head and the McQueen designs are similar enough to cause “confusion” in the market place.

Before his death in February of this year, McQueen was well known for incorporating skull motifs in his fashion designs.

PPR, the luxury parent company of Alexander McQueen, is named in the suit filed in California Federal court, as are Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos for selling the goods.

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