Last week in As Mongols Nation Turns, the drama was all about the patch.
Some weeks it is embarrassing to watch this soap opera. It is like watching an old heavyweight get cut up round after round by a middleweight with hands that blur. The Mongols might be strong and tough and have all the heart in the world but they are losing this case because time after time they are cruelly slow.
As almost everyone in biker land knows, the great issue in this case for people who are not defendants, or potential defendants in a superseding indictment, is the seizure of the Mongols patch. The federal court restrained or temporarily seized the Mongols name and patch the same day federal warrants were issued for 79 members or past members of the club; which was on October 22nd, 2008.
The Mongols Punch Back
Last week the Mongols finally reacted to this and their defense against the seizure is that former Mongols Jefe Ruben Doc Cavazos stole the trademark. His successor, former Mongols President Hector Gonzalez noticed this theft on October 14 – five days after the racketeering indictment against the club was filed but a mere day after the indictment was entered and eight days before the government took control of the patch.
Gonzalez, who was named in the indictment, filed what is called a “corrective assignment” of the trademarked patch and the name. He charged that Cavazos had secretly transferred ownership of the trademark to a corporation he owned, called Shotgun Productions in April, 2008. “Mr. Cavazos and Shotgun Productions fraudulently created and filed an assignment in an attempt to appropriate Mongol Nation’s intellectual property,” Gonzalez explained. The trademark rightfully belonged, the argument went, to “Mongols Nation.”
Which Mongols Nation
There have been, in the past year, two “Mongols Nations.” One Mongols nation was the “unincorporated association” which asked Cavazos to register the trademark in the first place. And it is also the Mongols nation, the unincorporated association, which claimed to have been the victim of Cavazos’ theft. And, further it is also the same Mongols nation which the Department of Justice is trying to portray as a racket.
The other Mongols Nation is a California corporation named “Mongols Nation Motorcycle Club, Inc.” That corporation was registered on December 17th, 2008, two months after the indictment was entered. And, it is not accused of anything.
President Martin Guevara
The president of this corporation is Martin Guevara who has been a member of the club since 1997, has absolutely no warrants and has been “national president since 2009.” Wait. Isn’t this? Oh never mind. This Mongols nation is in no way a racket. This corporation “is an organization devoted to promoting the common interests and beliefs of its members including recreational riding and shared socio-political views.”
Guevara acknowledges that “The defendants in this criminal case are members of the club,” and he goes on to explain that, “In accordance with the club’s rules and by-laws, and my decision as national president of the club, the defendants’ memberships in the club were suspended following the indictment and they are currently not in good standing with the club.”
Big Ups To The Lawyer
And, then in what may be the most wonderful display of mendacity and legal legerdemain in the whole history of American law, the corporation, which calls itself “the Club” and was formed in December 2008, equates itself with the club “founded in 1969” and the club indicted in October 2008 and demands the return of its trademarked name and patch. All due respect to all Mongols, whatever the word Mongols now means or might mean in the future, whatever now means or is means or screwed means, but this a lot like killing your parents and then demanding mercy from the court because you are an orphan.
The author of this argument, and his mother certainly must be proud, is a former Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney named John W. MacPete. MacPete is now an intellectual property lawyer with the fine firm of Locke, Lord, Bissell and Liddell LLP. And, he actually got the judge to listen to him for about a minute.
A hearing to test this argument had been routinely scheduled for July 13th but the prosecution objected and last week Judge Florence-Marie Cooper cancelled that hearing and scheduled another for August 3rd, 2009. That hearing will determine whether the Mongols nation that was incorporated two months after the government seized the patch has any valid interest in this case or not.