Hells Angels club sues often to protect its intellectual property
Posted Dec 3, 2013 7:20 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss
The Hells Angels may have an image as operating outside the law, but the club isn’t afraid to use the courts to protect its intellectual property.
In the last seven years, the nonprofit Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. has filed more than a dozen cases claiming infringement by makers or sellers of clothes, jewelry, posters and yo-yos, the New York Times reports. The Hells Angels has trademarked its name and logo, and it sells merchandise such as T-shirts and calendars online and at a new retail store in Toronto.
Advocating on the group’s behalf is Fritz Clapp, described in the article as “an eloquent and irreverent man known to wear a purple fez during negotiations with other lawyers.” He is 67 years old and he sports a “bright red mohawk.”
A courtroom adversary, Kevin Drucker, had praise for Clapp and his litigation style. Drucker represented a T-shirt company that settled after the Hells Angels sued for alleged infringement. “Initially, we were not sure whether we had to worry for our safety,” Drucker told the Times. “But the impression I was left with was that when they litigate, they do so civilly. This changed the way I thought about them.”