Hells Angels sue Amazon over T-shirt
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When you’re a small L.A. fashion house, the last thing you want up in your business is the Hells Angels. The Hells Angels aren’t only a notorious outlaw motorcycle club. They’re a trademark and a brand. And anyone who thinks otherwise has got it coming.
The latest victim of the Angels’ storied litigious streak is Amazon.com and the small Hollywood fashion house, Wildfox, whose puritanically white T-shirts reading ‘My boyfriend’s a Hells Angel’ are being sold through a handful of online retailers. The flip side of the shirt depicts a pair of wings. Both sides infringe upon Hells Angels’ trademarks of its name and skull-with-wings death head, according to a lawsuit filed Tuesday in U.S. District Court San Francisco.
‘We bring these lawsuits from time to time not just to punish but to educate,’ said Hells Angels’ attorney Fritz Clapp. ‘Somebody thought erroneously that Hells Angels is a generic term.’
It isn’t. Over the years, the Hells Angels have filed lawsuits against Disney, Marvel Comics and, last October, Alexander McQueen. Last fall, the club sued the designer fashion label along with retailers Saks Fifth Avenue and Zappos for selling items that illegally used the Hells Angels name and death head design in rings, clutches, purses, scarves and dresses. Within days, the offending items were removed from stores and the suit has since been ‘resolved to our satisfaction,’ Clapp said.
The T-shirts at the center of the current lawsuit were brought to Clapp’s attention within the last 10 days, he said. Several members of the Hells Angels had ‘reported’ them.
‘Getting this stuff off the market is our highest priority,’ according to Clapp. ‘Hells Angels is a membership mark, and it denotes membership in the organization. Even the Hells Angels do not put it on T-shirts they sell to the public.’
A call to the Amazon.com media hotline and an email to Wildfox had not been returned at the time of publication.
-- Susan Carpenter