Los Angeles – A Los Angeles fashion house retailer has recently been faced with some hell on wheels, so to speak. Design company, Wildfox Couture is being sued by the Hells Angels for alleged copyright infringement over the unauthorized use of its name on a t-shirt.
The woman’s t-shirt, a cotton crew neck tee, reads: “My Boyfriend’s A Hells Angel,” and sells online for $60.00. The copyright infringement complaint is accusing the designer of “exploiting the fame” (or in this case, notoriety) of the world-known motorcycle club. Amazon.com and other online retailers are also being named in the lawsuit for selling the t-shirts.
The lawyer filing the lawsuit on behalf of the intimidating biker group explained that even “the club itself does not put ‘Hells Angels’ on shirts they sell to the general public” and that the goal of the lawsuit is to “get them off the market, sequester them and have them destroyed.”
As with many motorcycle clubs, the club has a Hells Angels trademark on its name and logo. The gang’s insignia or patch, worn on the back of a black leather vest, depicts a white banner with red lettering that says ‘Hells Angels’ across the top and the name of the Charter’s location at the bottom. The centered logo is called the ‘Death head’ and has a small square with the letters MC, which stands for Motorcycle Club. The Hells Angels insist they are indeed a motorcycle club, and not a gang.
Wildfox is not the first to be in the tracks of the proud bikers. Last year, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation sued fashion house Alexander McQueen for trademark infringement after its clothing featured motifs similar to the winged death head design. The lawsuit against McQueen cited four different products, including a $1,500 ‘Hells Angels’ jacquard box dress, a $500 knuckle-duster ring, a scarf and a handbag which were created shortly before the designer’s suicide in February 2010. Saks Fifth Avenue and online retailer Zappos.com were also named in the lawsuit for selling the apparel and accessories.
Remarks from the McQueen complaint read, “From decades of notoriety, the HAMC trademarks have acquired very widespread public recognition, consequently, they evoke very strong and immediate reactions whenever used. The impact of these trademarks is virtually incomparable, and as a result they have great commercial value.” The McQueen lawsuit was settled and no similar designs have been made by the London fashion house.
No comment was available from Wildfox Couture, however it appears that the t-shirt has been removed from its website as well as from Amazon.com.