Marketers settle with Hell's Angels over use of 'death head' logo

By T.L. Stanley on Mon Nov 8 2010

Hellsangels

I don't know what it takes to get into the Hells Angels (do I even want to?), but one thing's for sure: Buying a pricey clutch purse or pashmina from Saks Fifth Avenue does not make you part of the club. BrandFreak recently wrote about a lawsuit filed by the outlaw biker gang against Alexander McQueen, Saks and Zappos.com for copyright infringement. It seems the trio have been selling jewelry, dresses and other fashionable goodies embellished with the "death head" skull logo. That's a no-no, says the Angels' lawyer, because it's a protected trademark, one that the members-only motorcycle gang has been using for decades. The three marketers, perhaps realizing they'd pissed off some big bruisers, settled the case immediately by pulling all of the merchandise and recalling any that's already been sold. (Guess those pieces will be collector's items soon, though who'd have the guts to wear them?) It's a matter of exclusivity, says Angles attorney Fritz Clapp, where membership means more than "someone who bought a $495 ring." Upper East Siders, you'll have to get your rough-and-tumble fix elsewhere.

Fashion brands mix it up with an increasingly rough crowd

By T.L. Stanley on Fri Oct 29 2010

6a00d8341c51c053ef0133f53ec240970b-450wi So what if that Calvin Klein ad was a little rape-y? Supermodel Lara Stone likes it that way, or so she says in the UK issue of Vogue. In case you missed the dustup, the Advertising Standards Bureau in Australia banned a recent ad from the provocative marketer, saying it not so subtly suggested sexual violence. Stone's at the center of that campaign and she had this to say about it: "I think naughty shoots suit my personality. I don't mind doing a straightforward fashion shoot, but it's more fun when there's something naughty in it." So there, you prudish Aussies! In other fashion news that packs a punch, the Hells Angels are suing designer Alexander McQueen and retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos for infringing on the outlaw motorcycle club's "death head" trademark. The infamous bikers have used the winged skull as their logo for decades— it's been repeatedly registered, the club's copyright lawyer says—and they don't take kindly to seeing it on the McQueen label's clutch purses, scarves and dresses. If there were ever an unwise bit of borrowing, this would be it. To any designers considering lifting a piece of motorcycle gang property: don't. If you're jonesing for a walk on the wild side, can't you just go after the Sons of Anarchy license?


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