Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation agreed to settle their differences with rapper Young Jeezy and Dillard’s on a peaceful basis by moving their lawsuit from court to a Voluntary Dispute Resolution Program. The Stipulation filed in court by the attorneys doesn’t indicate the type of dispute resolution program, but it could be either mediation which is a moderated attempt to negotiate a settlement, or arbitration, which results in a binding decision.
The Hells Angels previously filed a lawsuit against rapper Young Jeezy’s 8732 Apparel, Ltd. and Dillard’s, Inc. retail stores. The lawsuit alleged that they manufactured and sold hats, shirts, and vests bearing a design that is confusingly similar to the Hells Angels trademark.
My personal opinion is that the Hells Angels have a good case. The “decoration” patch looks to me like a cheap imitation of the Hells Angels patch, logo, and colors. I believe it looks confusingly similar and could easily be confused by the general public.
The imitation even includes “EIGHT SEVEN,” an obvious attempt to be similar to the use of “81,” signifying “HA,” the eighth and first letters of the alphabet. The use of EIGHT SEVEN instead of 81 is no accident. I see this as showing intent by the designer to infringe on the Hells Angels’ trademarks.
Take a look for yourself at the Complaint in the lawsuit to decide if it looks confusingly similar. Starting on page 8, the trademarks are shown in Exhibit A, photos of the trademarks used by the Hells Angels are shown in Exhibit B, and the alleged infringing items in Exhibit C.
If you’re interested in a relatively simple discussion about the term confusingly similar, take a look at Likelihood of Confusion—The Basis for Trademark Infringement
Large corporations, clothing manufacturers, and retailers are especially protective of their trademarks and are quick to file lawsuits. The Hells Angels logo is a very old and well-known trademark, so it’s strange that they had to file several lawsuits in the past to protect their trademark against large corporations like Disney, Saks, Amazon, MTV, and others.
I don’t know why manufacturers and retailers who are keenly interested in protecting their own trademarks would so often seek to take advantage of the Hells Angels’ trademarks. Making money by copying a trademark and “changing it” so you think it’s different enough is only an attempt to fool oneself into thinking you can get away with it. But it’s nothing more than a fake Rockefeller using his fake identity to steal money.
The Hells Angels have numerous trademarks, with the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation listed as the owner. Their first trademark was filed on June 15, 1978, for their iconic winged skull logo.
You can search the Hells Angels trademarks at http://tmsearch.uspto.gov/bin/gate.exe?f=tess&state=4805:9l55ex.1.1
- Click on Basic Word Mark Search (New User)
- Enter Hells Angels in the field for Search Term:
- Click on Submit Query
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Robert Plevy, Esq. is a motorcycle accident lawyer and one of the Personal Injury Dream Team™ Founding Partners at 1-800-HURT-911® New York. Robert began his legal career in 1993 as an Assistant Corporation Counsel defending The City of New York against personal injury lawsuits.