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Hells Angels lawsuit accuses Dillard's of trademark infringement

Carol Christia, Houston Chronicle
Updated 11:47 pm, Thursday, October 31, 2013

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  • This jacket shows the Death Head symbol that's the basis of a federal lawsuit by Hells Angels against 8732 Apparel and Dillard's.

    This jacket shows the Death Head symbol that's the basis of a federal lawsuit by Hells Angels against 8732 Apparel and Dillard's.

 

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Hells Angels is suing 8732 Apparel and Dillard's Inc. in federal court, claiming trademark infringement of its famous skull-with-wings logo known as the Hells Angels Death Head.

Filed Oct. 27 in U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of California, the suit claims that the 8732 Apparel clothing line, Dillard's department stores and 20 unnamed individuals have designed, manufactured, distributed or sold hats, shirts and vests with a design that is "confusingly similar" to the Hells Angels symbols.

The plaintiff filing suit, Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp., is a "nonprofit mutual benefit corporation," according to the plaintiff's petition. It has consistently used a design mark consisting of the Hells Angels Death Head and the words "Hells Angels" in a distinctive arrangement known as the "HAMC" patch design, which is used to indicate active membership, the petition states.

According to the petition, Hell's Angels owns four U.S. trademark registrations for the symbols, two for the patch design and two for the death head, the petition states.

The defendants seek to exploit the "great commercial value" of the designs for their own gain, the suit states.

The acts of infringement have been committed with the intent to cause confusion, mistake or deception and are in violation of federal statutes.

The defendants' infringement of the HAMC marks was intentional, entitling the plaintiff to triple damages and attorney's fees, the petition states.

Hells Angels asks that the defendants be required to recall the infringing items and to give an account of the inventories to the plaintiff's counsel.

Defendants should also be required to deliver their entire inventories of the infringing items to a mutually selected third party for supervised destruction, the suit states.