The Hells Angels’ gadfly lawyer Fritz Clapp has sued another couple of corporations for trademark infringement on behalf of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation.
The corporations this time are 8732 Apparel, LLC and Dillard’s, Inc. They are both incorporated in Delaware. The suit was filed in Sacramento. Dillard’s is a national retail chain. 8732 Apparel is the clothing line of a rapper named Jeezy who was formerly known and yet may be known again as Young Jeezy.
8732 Apparel is selling a denim vest, the back of which is decorated with a red on white top rocker that reads “Street Bandits, a red on white bottom rocker that reads “Eight Seven” and a patch that very closely resembles the Hells Angels Death Head. The apparel company is also selling a couple of tee-shirts and a baseball cap that are decorated with logo that looks like the Angels’ Death Head. Clapp is also suing 20 John and Jane Does who “are persons and entities of unknown form who have commissioned, created, fabricated, displayed, distributed and/or sold the infringing items.”
The suit alleges that the infringing items “bear a design confusingly similar to the HAMC Marks;” that the defendants “have obtained substantial profits from their infringement and exploitation of the HAMC Marks;” and that Jeezy and his co-conspirators have caused “Plaintiff HAMC irreparable harm for which money damages and other remedies are inadequate.”
The suit claims “Defendants’ conduct constitutes the use of words, symbols or devices tending falsely to describe the infringing items…. Defendants’ conduct is likely to cause confusion, mistake, or deception by or in the public as to the affiliation, connection, association, origin, sponsorship or approval of the infringing items to the detriment of Plaintiff HAMC;” that “Defendants’ activities have diluted or are likely to dilute the distinctive quality of the HAMC Marks;” and that “Defendants willfully intended to trade on Plaintiff HAMC’s reputation.”
Finally, the suit wants Jeezy and his people to stop it, pay Clapp’s fees, turn over any profits 8732 Apparel and Dillards have made selling the infringing items and “pay exemplary damages for fraud, malice and gross negligence.”
Don’t Even Say HA
The Angels have been particularly enthusiastic about protecting their brand. A recent notice circulating on Facebook has warned the world at large to never “post, or possess images of DeathHeads,” “use the words AFFA, HELLS ANGELS, HAMC or HA in any form” and “never use 81 by itself in any way.”
How enforceable all this huffing and puffing about the Angels’ marks is remains a mystery.
This is at least the third trademark infringement suit the HAMC has filed in the last year and a half. When the club sued Toys “R” Us and yo-yo maker Yomega those two companies countersued. Both suits were settled out of court. The club sued MTV star Rob Dyrdek, his cousin Chris “Drama” Pfaff and their corporations over the use of a logo nearly identical to the club’s in 2012 and that suit was also settled out of court. The terms of these settlements remain secret but Yomega continued to sell the yo-yos the club found offensive online after that settlement was reached.