The recent tiff between rival outlaw motorcycle clubs in and outside a Waco, Texas restaurant has brought biker culture to the forefront of the news cycle. Although it’s clear that these “one percenter” clubs may strongly disagree on control of territories, criminal activities, and codes of conduct, there is one thing nearly all the outlaw clubs agree on: the importance of trademark protection.
As odd as it may seem, branding and the visual representation of a brand are critically important concepts in the world of outlaw motorcycle clubs. In fact, the names and insignia emblazoned on the patches of the members of the clubs have significance that can sometimes mean life or death. So it is not surprising that there are hundreds of trademark applications and registrations for motorcycle clubs in the United States. In fact, the world’s most infamous outlaw motorcycle club, the Hells Angels®, is notorious for its rabid enforcement of its trademark rights.
The Hells Angels® rival gang, the Bandidos®, which was involved in the Waco incident, also has a federal trademark registration. But, lesser known outlaw motorcycle clubs also recognize the importance of trademark protection. Their creativity is enviable. The Legion of Sin®, Devil’s Disciples®, Satan’s Soldiers®, Filthy Mad Dogs®, the Violators®, and the Pack-O-Wackos (my personal favorite) all have, or have applied for, federally registered trademarks.
So, new motorcycle gangs, before you go starting a turf war with a rival gang, make sure you secure a federal trademark registration for your club’s name and patch insignia.