Motorcycle Gang Sues House of McQueen
Published October 27, 2010
THE FOUR-FINGER “KNCKLE DUSTER” RING—ONE OF THE ITEMS IN QUESTION. PHOTO COURTESY OF SAKS.
The Financial Times reported this morning that the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club has filed a lawsuit against the house of Alexander McQueen for its use of a winged-skull motif the Hells Angels allege is a misappropriation of their trademarked logo. The complaint was filed in federal court in California, and it cites several items that use designs the motorcycle gang has alleged are trademark-protected—including a $495 four-finger ring [ABOVE], a $2,329 bag, a $1,595 dress, and a $560 scarf. The suit also names Zappos and Saks, both of whose websites made the items available for purchase.
The FT points out that this isn’t the Angels’ first copyright-infringement suit: in 2006, they filed against Disney for using the Hells Angels’ name and associated images in its script for Wild Hogs (a decidedly more downmarket endeavor than McQueen). And it certainly isn’t their first brush with the law: Sarah Burton may need to watch her back as the suit plays out, since the club is FBI-classified as one of the “big four” motorcycle gangs that engage in violent and criminal activity.
Fritz Clapp, the lawyer for the Angels, explained to the FT that the group’s primary interest in the lawsuit was not economic, but rather, “getting [the designs] out of the market, since they represent membership insignia, and anyone wearing them would be considered an imposter by club members.” We’re too frightened to ask what the Hells Angels do to imposters.