Biker Lifestyle

Jury orders Mongols motorcycle club to forfeit logo trademarks. So it Begins

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A federal jury on Friday decided an outlaw motorcycle club should be stripped of the trademarks it holds on its coveted logo as punishment in a racketeering case, delivering a victory to the U.S. government in its unusual legal fight to dismantle the notorious organization.

Last month, at the end of a lengthy trial, a jury in Santa Ana convicted the Mongols motorcycle club of racketeering and conspiracy charges, finding the group shared responsibility for several violent acts and drug crimes committed by individual Mongol members.

 

The verdict allowed prosecutors from the U.S. attorney’s office to pursue something they had long sought: a court order forcing the Mongols to forfeit trademarks to its logo, the method its leaders have relied on to maintain control over the group’s insignia — a Genghis Khan figure in sunglasses riding a motorcycle beneath the group’s name, spelled out in large block letters.

 

 

The jury in the case returned this week to hear a day of testimony and arguments from prosecutors and the Mongols’ defense attorney on the forfeiture issue. The panel had to decide whether the logo was linked closely enough to the crimes for which the Mongols organization had been convicted to warrant forcing the club to forfeit the trademarks to the U.S. government. After two days of deliberating, they decided there was, in fact, a tight nexus between the image and one of the criminal charges the club faced — conspiracy to commit racketeering — said a spokesman for U.S. Atty. Nicola Hanna.

Both sides in the case agreed that the club’s trademarked logo was the cornerstone of the Mongols’ identity. Only members are permitted to wear the insignia on the back of their riding vests. The logo is an unmistakable symbol in the hierarchical world of motorcycle clubs in which full members lord their superiority over plebes and rival clubs often clash violently in turf battles.

 

The government’s pursuit of the trademarks is a novel legal strategy, based on the idea that without the trademarks Mongol leaders would be deprived not only of the money members pay for patches and other merchandise, but also of the ability to control who wears the potent Mongol image. Experts have been dubious about the plan, however, questioning whether the country’s trademark laws can bestow any meaningful authority on the government to prevent Mongols members from displaying the logo.

 

And the jury’s verdict is not expected to be the final word. Joseph Yanny, the Mongol Nation’s defense attorney, indicated the club would likely appeal a forfeiture order. And both sides acknowledged in court filings that constitutional challenges to the jury’s decision were almost certain to be made over whether a court order forcing Mongols members not to wear the logo would violate their 1st Amendment right to free speech.

Source: LA Times

Motorcycle Madhouse/INsanethrottle

 

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7 comments

  1. This is a silly overreach by the Government. Regardless of how you feel about the Mongols this is a very slippery slope. The Mongols will not have any problem protecting the sovereignty of their logo and who wears it. The problem lies in other, less violent, groups who the Government may not like.

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  2. In regard to the comy political left that is trying to undermine our rights, good luck with that~!!, you’socialist that are trying tore about to see the biggest organized shove back on this legislative liberal socialist ever~!! ABATE isn’t some 2-bit ragtag org that will crumble under their political intent to undermine, dismantle or remove the constitution and our rights as citizens of this great country~!! this is a button they should have left un pushed~!!
    my2¢

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  3. This is bullshit mongols need to fight back, I find out hard to imagine a jury trial letting this BS decision stand!

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