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Hells Angels vs the Hipsters

October 15th, 2015

Legal disputes over logo usage are fairly commonplace – but what do you do when the company suing you for breach of trademark is a criminal organization?

Reports in the Australian media this week told of an impending court case brought against a “hipster” fashion retailer by an Australian chapter of legendary biker gang The Hells Angels.



Melbourne-based online retailer Redbubble is accused by Hells Angels Australia of selling t-shirts and posters emblazoned with the club’s insignia without permission. Despite the biker group being formally denounced as a criminal organization in the state of Queensland in 2013, the “death head” logo and the words “Hells Angels” remain the gang’s trademark and intellectual property.

A spokesperson for the Hells Angels legal team said: “Redbubble’s conduct has allowed non-members of the club to wear indicia reserved for the members, thereby causeing anger, hurt feelings and personal distress. It has a heavily spiritual and emotional connection to them as part of a brotherhood where the death head is the representation of belonging”.

This is not the first time the Hells Angels have brought legal action against compnaies allegedly using its trademarks. In the past, suits haved been filed against Walt Disney (for unauthorised use of the group’s name in the movie Wild Hogs), fashion designer Alexander McQueen (for dresses, bags and accessories using a similar ‘death head’ logo) and even Toys R Us (for an offending yoyo toy).

In all previous cases, charges have been dropped, or an out of court settlement has been reached. The case against Redbubble, however, is going to court. Chief executive Martin Hosking said: “we are confident that Redbubble will not be held in any way liable for any allegedly infringing conduct”.

The outcome remains to be seen.


About the Author:

Although her primary niche is in scientific writing and editing, freelance writer Lisa Martin is also a creative type with an eye for design. She regularly works alongside graphic designers and as such has a keen interest in the development of logos and branding.

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Talking about the logo design itself, I don`t see much originality here. Skull with wings is so cliche. Just google it "skull wings" you will see images from Harley Davidson to Airborne.

by PavelOctober 23, 2015