Biker News & Biker Lifestyle

Leave it to the press to write something like this. Once Again, the Mongols Motorcycle Club Can Legally Keep Its Patch

New Age of Biking & Brotherhood James Macecari

The federal attempt to take the patch uniquely combines free speech violations and asset forfeiture.

Meth dealing. Money laundering. Murder.

These are just a few of the crimes for which members of the Southern California-based Mongols Motorcycle Club have been arrested. But regardless of the crimes they stand accused of committing while wearing the Mongols patch, Central District of California Court Judge David O. Carter recently thwarted yet another attempt by federal law enforcers to confiscate the bike club’s brand.

During a sentencing hearing on Friday for racketeering charges against the entirety of the Mongol Nation, Carter ordered the club to pay a fine of $500,000 and serve five years probation. When prosecutors also asked Carter to forfeit the Mongols’ trademark for their patch, which bears a figure on a motorcycle resembling Genghis Khan, Carter ruled against the request.

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The feds have been after the Mongol patch for years, arguing that displaying the logo is as dangerous as the crimes committed by the club members. As previously reported at Reason, the long legal fight brings together free speech violations, asset forfeiture, and intellectual property. When prosecutors received pretrial authority to go after the patch in 2008, law enforcement confiscated jackets and other items bearing the imagery despite not filing charges for a crime.

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Prosecutors briefly enjoyed a win when a California jury decided in January that they could take the trademarked patch away from the group. This decision was eventually overturned by Carter in February. He concluded that the seizure of the trademark violated the First Amendment right to free expression and the Eighth Amendment protection from excessive punishment.


  1. Congratulations on MONGOLS keeping there PATCH. Stay strong ride hard and fast this is your freedom to ride anywhere you want. You men PROTECTED our country for me and other Americans can walk and ride our Harley. Thank you men ride like hell


  2. Judge Carter’s ruling is a win not only for the MONGOLS MC, but for every organization of any kind in the country! The feds chose the MONGOLS MC thinking they could break the bank and the MONGOLS MC would give up, but through various save the patch funds and donations, along with their own money, the feds got beat on it. IF the feds ever win a trademark seizure, no organization will be safe – all they’d have to do would be to identify one person committing some criminal act and they’d go after that organization like a pitbull after a possum – using our tax money to fund it! Thankfully there are still some judges who know and understand the U.S. Constitution, and rule appropriately!


  3. Funny how the prosecutors in this case failed to recognize that FREE SPEECH applies to ALL and not just those who society deems desirable. Going after the patch was a sophomoric move and indicative of what manufacturing a crime looks like. While the crimes perpetrated by some elements of the club are worthy of punishment, the protections outlined in the BoR should remain untouched and not subjected to rogue interpretations. And those of you commenting as Anonymous, stop capitulating by thinking your comments aren’t protected speech.


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