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Feds Target "Mongols" Biker Club's Intellectual Property

kdawson posted about 6 years ago | from the shirt-off-your-back dept.

Transportation 393

couchslug writes in with a Reuters account of a Federal raid on a California-based motorcycle club, the Mongols, on charges "ranging from murder and robbery to extortion, money laundering, gun trafficking and drug dealing." The interesting twist is that the authorities are asking the courts to seize the IP of the biker club — specifically, their trademarked name "Mongols." "Federal agents and police in seven states arrested more than 60 members of the Mongols motorcycle gang on Tuesday in a sweep that also targeted for the first time an outlaw group's 'intellectual property,' prosecutors said. The arrests cap a three-year undercover investigation in which US agents posed as gang members and their girlfriends to infiltrate the group, even submitting to polygraph tests administered by the bikers ... [T]he name 'Mongols,' which appears on the gang's arm patch insignia, was trademarked by the group. The indictment seeks a court order outlawing further use of the name, which would allow any police officer 'who sees a Mongol wearing this patch ... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back' ..."

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Not how trademarks work (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25462567)

I'm not aware of any law that can prevent a particular logo from appearing on a jacket.

This sounds like pipe dream bullshit.

Re:Not how trademarks work (0)

Kral_Blbec (1201285) | about 6 years ago | (#25462595)

Theoreticly, if you walk around with the M$ logo on your shirt they could sue you for it, but they aren't likely to do so. In this case, they would be using that as an excuse to stop them and presumably hold them for questioning. Quite clever really, even if you think its wrong.

Re:Not how trademarks work (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25462687)

Ummm... no. Really. Tell me you don't believe that, please. "If you can put it on a t-shirt, then it's free speech." isn't just a witty one liner ya know. Trademarks control trade. It may be illegal to sell a t-shirt with someone else's logo on it, but there's no law against wearing one.

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25462865)

Trademarks control and protect logo's as well.

The mongols logo is what they are trademarking, not their name, as the article says.

And the person above was correct, it's go give LEO's a reason to pull them over.

--Toll_Free

Re:Not how trademarks work (3, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | about 6 years ago | (#25463139)

Are you just stupid or what? Selling T-shirts with a logo on them that you are not authorized to use may well be something someone could be sued for. Wearing one of these T-shirts is not trade and therefore Trademark law has nothing to say about it.

For fuck sake, what's wrong with you people?

Re:Not how trademarks work (2, Insightful)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#25463203)

You had to obtain the shirt with the logo somehow. Even if you got it for free, that would be an unsanctioned use and dilution of the trademark, and because you accepted it, you participated in the trade (especially if you paid for it), and therefore would be a party to the infringing action.

Re:Not how trademarks work (5, Informative)

evanbd (210358) | about 6 years ago | (#25463331)

Regardless, it would be a civil violation, not a criminal one. The owner would have to pursue civil measures to get them to stop wearing it; the police can't enforce trademark usage without a court order to that effect, since no crime is being committed until the person using the trademark violates a court order. Of course, they may have committed a tort and be liable, but that still doesn't mean the police can take their stuff until a court specifically says so.

Re:Not how trademarks work (4, Insightful)

eosp (885380) | about 6 years ago | (#25463429)

And if you made it yourself?

Re:Not how trademarks work (-1, Flamebait)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25463235)

Wearing a logo of a group convicted of racketeering can, in fact, get you in trouble.

Are you FUCKING stupid, or what?

I mean, really now.

Why not walk around with a shirt on that states "Im into killing, sell drugs for profit, and will rape your fucking mother, father, and children just for fun". Then, go actually do it.

Then wonder why the cops pull you over.

Stop bitching just because you don't like the copyright / trademark system. The laws are there, and they are acting on them.

And believe you me, if the laws DON'T agree with them, then so be it.... Doesn't mean courts won't MAKE IT SO.

But seriously, try my statement above, and then write (when you get some education unit time) from prison and let us know how it all went for ya, K?

--Toll_Free

Re:Not how trademarks work (4, Insightful)

cayenne8 (626475) | about 6 years ago | (#25463173)

"And the person above was correct, it's go give LEO's a reason to pull them over."

No...I gotta go with the other poster, what you wear should give the police NO reason to pull you over, even if a trademarked logo is taken over, that does not prohibit ANYONE from wearing it, nor does it present reasonable cause for pulling someone over.

If pulling someone over just for what they wear or look like is on the books...then we are really in serious trouble in the states.

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25463209)

Except for the simple fact that the mongols are a racketteering group.

So, if you affiliate with them, you are, in fact, affiliating yourself with people KNOWN for illegal acts.

Taking their IP from them is only to ensure they can pull someone over.

It's a tactic that I might not agree with, but you can, in fact, trademark your logo. Period.

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25463099)

On his example, couldn't MS still sue? It would of course get thrown out, annoy the judge, and induce a countersuit if it went to court, but does the process of suing someone include a point where someone, clerk, judge, whatever, would say "This is idiotic! No, get the hell out, you can't sue for this!" before you actually get a summons? Like if I sue you for painting the sky invisible, wouldn't you still "be sued" and have to show up to court (at which point the judge would prompty beat me to death with the gavel)?

Trivial I guess...

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

IHC Navistar (967161) | about 6 years ago | (#25462973)

No, they couldn't.

Putting "MS", in Microsoft type-face and/or color, then they might have a case.

But putting "M$", you could claim and argue parody or satire, which is protected by free speech. Even if everybody knows what you're getting at.

Re:Not how trademarks work (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462603)

Is she illin with the panicillin?
Is she reelin in the panicillin?
Is it feelin with the panicillin?
Are you steelin in the panacillin?

Panka Panka

Is she liable no suitifiable no not on trial but so suitifiable
Is she viable no suitifiable pliable style is so suitifiable
so reliable no suitifiable shes not on file but so suitifiable
im on the dial its so suitifiable its like im liable but more suitifiable

Re:Not how trademarks work (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463031)

100 monkeys makes no progress! News at 11!

Re:Not how trademarks work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463045)

what the fuck does this mean? this is the 12th damn time i've been confused.

Re:Not how trademarks work (0)

niko9 (315647) | about 6 years ago | (#25462609)

Might be a different story when said logo is part of a criminal enterprise.

Re:Not how trademarks work (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462717)

Well if Ghengis Kahn is the leader of a criminal enterprise then I'll, err, wait a sec......

Re:Not how trademarks work (5, Insightful)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 6 years ago | (#25462733)

I grew up in L.A. and had an integrated social circle that drew from a pretty wide swath of communities. After what happened in '92 there was legally sanctioned trouble for people wearing certain clothes, having certain tattoos etc. I know that someone will inevitably point out that the policies were eventually scaled back, but there was a time in L.A. where law abiding youths of certain appearances/demographics literally had to fear the legally authorized power wielded by police.

IIRC the Rampart scandal grew out of policies put in place after '92...

The world has changed since those days, and I fear that this development is not pipe dream bullshit as you suggest.

On another note: Forgive the Godwin, and correct me if I am wrong, but don't some European countries have criminal penalties for displaying a swastika even in the form of satire or parody?

Re:Not how trademarks work (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462927)

On another note: Forgive the Godwin, and correct me if I am wrong, but don't some European countries have criminal penalties for displaying a swastika even in the form of satire or parody?

Those countries are just trying to forget the past so that they can repeat it. So it's not a surprise that they are being a little repressive.

Re:Not how trademarks work (5, Informative)

eltaco (1311561) | about 6 years ago | (#25462987)

On another note: Forgive the Godwin, and correct me if I am wrong, but don't some European countries have criminal penalties for displaying a swastika even in the form of satire or parody?

yes, most prominently, and possibly the only one, germany. swastikas and generally nazi symbols which have glorifying character are forbidden. satire, parody and historical uses are legal. for instance "der untergang" (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0363163/) can show swastikas and do the heil hitler thingy. In contrast, the german version of the movie eurotrip (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0356150/) had the scene cut out, where the german kid drew himself a hitler mustache and paced like a nazi.
games like return to castle wolfenstein aren't sold in germany.
also, it's is illegal to deny the holocaust and can lead to imprisonment.

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#25463305)

I think France has similar laws, and Austria may, too.

Re:Not how trademarks work (3, Informative)

retchdog (1319261) | about 6 years ago | (#25462785)

In principle, the government can nationalize the trademark and after that, enforce against "unauthorized use" by the bikers. It would (should) eventually fail if challenged, because it's after all an end-run around the real problem. I also don't think it would work in the first place.

Also, in principle you're not supposed to be able to get a tasteless or obscene trademark, just like copyright didn't used to apply to banned books. This ought to include gang insignia afaic. But then again, there were a bunch of alcoholic drinks named after Katrina which got trademarked, so I guess the trademark people are asleep just like the patent people.

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | about 6 years ago | (#25462993)

In principle, the government can nationalize the trademark and after that, enforce against "unauthorized use" by the bikers

Don't they then have to defend the trade mark? Show that they are using it? It might have to appear on Government stationary ;)

Re:Not how trademarks work (5, Funny)

rk (6314) | about 6 years ago | (#25463411)

Wow, the government using a logo of a criminal gang. Truth in advertising at long last!

How RICO works (was Re:Not how trademarks work) (2, Informative)

DragonWriter (970822) | about 6 years ago | (#25462789)

I'm not aware of any law that can prevent a particular logo from appearing on a jacket.

It seems only tangentially related to trademark law; the reference in TFA to a racketeering indictment makes it seem pretty likely that they are looking for, an order under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization (RICO) Act, specifically, 18 USC Sect. 1963(a) [cornell.edu] , declaring that the trademarked logo, and the tangible items created using the trademarked logo, are "property constituting, or derived from, any proceeds which the person obtained, directly or indirectly, from racketeering activity [...] in violation of section 1962 [of Title 18]", and therefore subject to forfeiture under RICO.

You seem to have hit the nail on the head (4, Informative)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 years ago | (#25463325)

The one most other posters seem to be missing. This is a RICO case. Well, part of RICO is the ability to seize assets related to the criminal enterprise. So for example if a company was a front for money laundering, that company could be seized. Doesn't matter that it was the semi-legit front, since it was a part of the criminal enterprise, it is subject to seizure.

So this isn't an IP issue, that's really a small part. It would be the same thing if they brought down a company under RICO, they'd take the company's name and such. IT all falls under the idea of "You can't profit from your crime."

Awww, man! There goes the club! (1)

khasim (1285) | about 6 years ago | (#25462799)

I'm just amazed that a criminal organization would file a legal TRADEMARK.

Seriously. Were they going to SUE someone for infringement?

And a polygraph?

Man, biker gangs have certainly changed since I was a kid.

You wearing the wrong colors! Man, you goin' be facing a' injunction! We gots badass LAWYERS who be totally down with dat state bar stuf!

Re:Awww, man! There goes the club! (4, Funny)

Guy Harris (3803) | about 6 years ago | (#25462961)

I'm just amazed that a criminal organization would file a legal TRADEMARK.

Seriously. Were they going to SUE someone for infringement?

Live to sue, sue to live.

Re:Awww, man! There goes the club! (1)

Mistshadow2k4 (748958) | about 6 years ago | (#25462969)

I'm just amazed that a criminal organization would file a legal TRADEMARK.

You seem to jumped to an assumption there. A biker gang is not, in of itself, a criminal organization. What the Mongols are accused of doing would make them a criminal organization, not the fact that they're a biker gang.

Re:Awww, man! There goes the club! (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25463061)

It was done as a trademark to ensure that other gangs couldn't use it, and to ensure that NOBODY else could use it.

No, they didn't sue you. They killed you.

Same as the "rocker boards" the hells angels have. Used to be, anyone riding a bike in California that had a "California" rocker board on their jacket was at risk of being shot off their motorcycle.

Sonny Barger saw to that.

But then again, what do I know. DAGO tattoo and all.

--Toll_Free

Re:Awww, man! There goes the club! (1)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#25463337)

Actually, they did file lawsuits over misappropriation of the trademark. They would sue shops that sold the patches, for example, and did win some money (not sure if they were out-of-court settlements or a result of court victories). No point in spending the money to get the trademark if you're not going to defend it in court. Besides, you get no money from a dead guy.

Re:Not how trademarks work (0)

DriedClexler (814907) | about 6 years ago | (#25463019)

What if I came up with a logo that said, "$1,000 for the next person to kill the president." I'm pretty sure there's a law that can stop that particular logo.

If you think that's a squirrelly case because it involves a direct threat, then imagine if I had a logo that said, "Wear the Mongol symbol if you will help in killing the president." Or, "When I next wear a Mongol symbol, I am on a mission to kill the president." Then imagine if wearing that logo becomes a mass movement and you can kind of understand why they might go after gang symbols.

Not endorsing it, but I can kind of see how there are laws for this.

Re:Not how trademarks work (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | about 6 years ago | (#25463399)

"What if..." "what if..." "what if..." None of those are actual threats. None are any more incriminating than a shirt that reads "I shot the sheriff" in a location where a sheriff was indeed mysteriously shot.

Right...... (0, Redundant)

djupedal (584558) | about 6 years ago | (#25462579)

"...which would allow any police officer 'who sees a Mongol wearing this patch... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back'..."

Like that's going to happen.

Re:Right...... (1)

BronsCon (927697) | about 6 years ago | (#25462671)

It might, if police forces start hiring based on testicle size.

It would take 20lb balls to deliberately mess with these guys.

Re:Right...... (1)

Missing_dc (1074809) | about 6 years ago | (#25463219)

It might, if police forces start hiring based on testicle size.

It would take 20lb balls to deliberately mess with these guys.

Oh shit, really,,,, thats all it takes?

I bet with the lack of (real)sex, most slashdotters have balls that meet or exceed that benchmark!

Re:Right...... (0, Offtopic)

terraformer (617565) | about 6 years ago | (#25462773)

Yeah, it's not like the US government would ever stoop to things such as this. This is like spying on citizens without any sort of warrant, due process or chance for redress. That would *never* happen...

Re:Right...... (4, Informative)

Martin Blank (154261) | about 6 years ago | (#25463385)

Growing up with bikers (I'm most certainly not, by my dad is), I can say that even the roughest bikers generally would accede to the cops. They'd rather beat the rap on technicalities than have the cops file resisting arrest or failure to stop. The Mongols will fight other gangs, but trying to get into a war with the cops is a losing proposition. In the current case, I'm sure they've already sent out a signal to those still on the streets to hide their affiliations for the moment, and let the legal process go through to determine what happens with the logo. They're criminal, but they're also pragmatic and not stupid.

If government agents can lie and beat a polygraph (5, Insightful)

NevarMore (248971) | about 6 years ago | (#25462581)

If police informants can pass and beat a polygraph in a situation where they would be killed on the spot*, then how can the same test when used against people charged with a crime is still admissible as evidence?

*if the common perception of the 1%-ers is to be belived

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

Burning1 (204959) | about 6 years ago | (#25462645)

If you're investigating someone for murder, you better believe they could kill you.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

NiteMair (309303) | about 6 years ago | (#25462689)

If police informants can pass and beat a polygraph in a situation where they would be killed on the spot*, then how can the same test when used against people charged with a crime is still admissible as evidence?

*if the common perception of the 1%-ers is to be belived

You're assuming the questions they were asked resulted in their lying to the gang.

You're also assuming that the gang administered the test properly in the first place...

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | about 6 years ago | (#25462755)

Especially if the FBI had good enough intel to know exactly what questions would be asked. Anybody would rat their gang out for what the FBI's paying these days.

Good to see that the FBI actually going after some real bad guys this time.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462709)

Actually, polygraphs are inadmissable in the US court system.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

DrPeper (249585) | about 6 years ago | (#25462715)

You hit the nail exactly on the head! If it's possible to pass a polygraph test while blatantly lying to a biker gang, then how could it possibly be used as a reliable method of proving guilt or innocence in a court of law?

Of course the obvious retorts are going to be that the test is only as good as the person administering and interpreting the results.

So why aren't polygraph tests done in panels? In order to eliminate errors. So you'd have to be asked the same set of questions by a panel of say 5 separate polygraph "professionals" (who can not interact with each other)? Then go with the majority decision.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (2, Informative)

ushering05401 (1086795) | about 6 years ago | (#25462807)

"So you'd have to be asked the same set of questions by a panel of say 5 separate polygraph "professionals" (who can not interact with each other)? Then go with the majority decision."

Last time I checked guilt had to be determined unanimously. Follow this link to witness the power of the juggernaut that is the U.S. legal system:

http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/2008/10/21/2008-10-21_judge_declares_a_mistrial_in_britney_spe.html [nydailynews.com]

Regards.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

nomadic (141991) | about 6 years ago | (#25463397)

Actually in Federal criminal cases the jury has to be unanimous, but individual states can allow conviction for less than unanimous if they want.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

sribe (304414) | about 6 years ago | (#25462791)

then how can the same test when used against people charged with a crime is still admissible as evidence?

In the United States, polygraphs results are not admissible in court. They are only used in investigations, and even that practice is controversial.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

Dun Malg (230075) | about 6 years ago | (#25462849)

If police informants can pass and beat a polygraph in a situation where they would be killed on the spot*, then how can the same test when used against people charged with a crime is still admissible as evidence?

It's not admissible as evidence.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (4, Funny)

xs650 (741277) | about 6 years ago | (#25462905)

"If police informants can pass and beat a polygraph in a situation where they would be killed on the spot*, then how can the same test when used against people charged with a crime is still admissible as evidence?"

That's because government liars are professionals.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463207)

That's because government liars are professionals.

Thanks... I mean, hey, wait a minute! I work for the government!

It's not (1)

Sycraft-fu (314770) | about 6 years ago | (#25463069)

Real simple there. They also can't make you take one. They are sometimes used in investigations either because they pressure someone to take one or because the person want to take it to try and prove innocence, but it isn't something you see much of. Polygraphs aren't reliable. They are a useful tool in some cases, and they are used when you try to get a security clearance, but they aren't 100% reliable and aren't admissible, at least in the US.

Re:If government agents can lie and beat a polygra (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25463075)

Polygraphs aren't admissible as de facto evidence.

They can only be used as circumstantial.

And because of that, it's up to the judge as to whether or not they are let in as evidence.

Polygraphs are fairly easy to beat. Train in some esoteric martial arts, as well as yoga, and it's a done deal.

--Toll_Free

hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462587)

Might as well band hand guns too, I heard that might reduce crime. It's bananas next..

Re:hmm (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462659)

Might as well band hand guns too, I heard that might reduce crime. It's bananas next..

What about pointed sticks?

Re:hmm (1)

g0es (614709) | about 6 years ago | (#25462937)

Might as well band hand guns too, I heard that might reduce crime. It's bananas next..

What about pointed sticks?

Lets just ban hands and feet. That way pointed sticks can't be used in a crime. I would hate to see pointed sticks become history.

How long... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462589)

...until they can do this to anyone for any reason? I think this would set a bad precedent--except for the sheer humor of witnessing a biker be stripped of his jacket by an officer for 'IP violation'.

Nimrods (4, Insightful)

Jah-Wren Ryel (80510) | about 6 years ago | (#25462599)

The indictment seeks a court order outlawing further use of the name, which would allow any police officer 'who sees a Mongol wearing this patch... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back'..."

Some douche licker apparently never heard of the right of first sale.

Re:Nimrods (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462679)

with a "Mongols" patch, there may be "right" of first sale, but there is no expectation of safety. If you wear the patch, expect to be a) attacked by Hells Angels b) attacked by real Mongol members or c) stooped by the police. In this cas, being stopped by the police is the least of your worries

Re:Nimrods (1)

taniwha (70410) | about 6 years ago | (#25463145)

what he means is that an existing Mongol member having purchased such a jacket can't have it taken away from him even if the state takes over the IP

Re:Nimrods (1)

TheMCP (121589) | about 6 years ago | (#25463247)

They will after a cop gets jailed for theft.

easy fix (5, Interesting)

heptapod (243146) | about 6 years ago | (#25462661)

Get tattoos of their logo/insignia. Get it someplace prominent and call out the cops to try and take it from them. I doubt law enforcement is going to start a collection of biker lampshades.

Re:easy fix (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 6 years ago | (#25462735)

Get tattoos of their logo/insignia. Get it someplace prominent and call out the cops to try and take it from them. I doubt law enforcement is going to start a collection of biker lampshades.

Probably not, even Mad Max would call that excessive.

Re:easy fix (1)

pin0chet (963774) | about 6 years ago | (#25462803)

One's body parts, if willingly defaced, are surely not immune from trademark infringement suits. Imagine a lowlife tatooing some valuable intellectual property on his arm and engaging in negative activities that might harm the value of the trademark. That'd surely be grounds for a hefty lawsuit.

You mean, like Charles Petzold? (3, Funny)

mangu (126918) | about 6 years ago | (#25462887)

Imagine a lowlife tatooing some valuable intellectual property on his arm

There's no need to imagine that [wikipedia.org]

Re:You mean, like Charles Petzold? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463153)

Wow, that's freaky. The last thing I read by Charles Petzold (back in the 80s, dude!) was an article in PC Magazine about how sick he was that horrible old Windows was triumphing over the technically superior OS/2. I suppose he's like one of those ex-hippies who becomes a hardcore right-winger in middle age. What a wanker.

Re:easy fix (1)

Toll_Free (1295136) | about 6 years ago | (#25463105)

The hells angels have, literally, taken a tattoo of their logo off people that they "kick out".

If the angels, or the mongols are going to kick you out, I'd think the logo tat would be the least of your worries.

--Toll_Free

Re:easy fix (1)

Datamonstar (845886) | about 6 years ago | (#25463275)

I just think it would be an interesting scenario to have someone come into a tattoo parlor wanting to have a list of 11 different herbs and spices tattooed across his chest.

Re:easy fix (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462997)

The cops won't take the tattoo off you but the Mongols will if they see it.

The First Amendment called, it wants itself back (4, Insightful)

longacre (1090157) | about 6 years ago | (#25462691)

So we would still be able to wear swastikas, KKK logos, Iran Revolutionary Guard insignias and NWA "Fuck the Police" t-shirts, but a patch from some gang most of the world never heard of would be a crime?

Re:The First Amendment called, it wants itself bac (1)

Contusion (1332851) | about 6 years ago | (#25463009)

While I'm sure it would help in the short term, actions like this set dangerous precedents. First they outlaw the Mongols, KKK, swastika... next thing you know some right winger takes offense to Dawkins' scarlet A, or the fear mongers go after the Muslim Crescent Moon symbol as sign of terrorism. The phrase "freedom isn't free" doesn't just apply to external conflicts. Sometimes we've got to trade a bit of safety to defend our freedoms.

Re:The First Amendment called, it wants itself bac (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463143)

Yes.

Enjoy your Freedom Fries(tm).

I suspect it isn't that easy to seize the name (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462695)

The Mongolian embassy might have something to say about it :-)

Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462719)

The indictment seeks a court order outlawing further use of the name, which would allow any police officer 'who sees a Mongol wearing this patch... to stop that gang member and literally take the jacket right off his back'..."

Sorry, but just because a group loses their right to a trademark, doesn't mean that someone can't wear a piece of clothing with a patch any longer. If Nike doesn't defend their trademark, and loses the rights to it, that doesn't mean that all the Tiger Woods fans suddenly can't wear Nike clothing any longer or that it can be confiscated...

This is nothing except PsyOps on the part of the Feds. They know that these gangs are typically all about their 'Street Cred' and that their name and reputation is everything to them. Nothing else matters. Trademarking their name is just some half-assed attempt at making it difficult for some other fools to claim that they're the Mongols, and to 'deal with it legally' if and when the issue arises. I doubt that they ever would actually do so, they'd probably prefer to beat the fools senseless, but being able to *CLAIM* that's what they intended might throw some naieve judge off track and cut them a break.

The feds know that these idiots don't care about anything - losing whatever they have doesn't mean jack shit to these guys - they'll just go back out into the world and keep doing what they do, and get their ill gotten gains back again. So the only thing the Feds can take from them is their "trademarked name". Not that it's going to amount to anything - they will still use their name, and they'll likely call themselves "The Original Mongols..." or some such nonesense...

Nothing to see here... move along...

Re:Bullshit (5, Interesting)

grahamd0 (1129971) | about 6 years ago | (#25462801)

Not that it's going to amount to anything - they will still use their name, and they'll likely call themselves "The Original Mongols..." or some such nonesense...

I doubt they'd even go that far to bow the will the courts. They'll probably just keep calling themselves the plain old Mongols, and if someone disagrees or misappropriates the name, they'll probably call themselves the guys who stabbed him to death.

What would really ruin them is for someone to use their logo and release a Mongols brand sugary breakfast cereal with pink, marshmallow motorcycles.

Re:Bullshit (1)

Kamineko (851857) | about 6 years ago | (#25462941)

Or a saturday morning cartoon show... or a Lucasarts adventure game!

Re:Bullshit (1)

postbigbang (761081) | about 6 years ago | (#25462805)

It's actually interesting, and definetly an 'LA' IP way of looking at things, not that I think it will work.

I think it's time we took a look at other bad things, and banned their logos, too--> AiG, Lehmann Brothers, Alan Greenspan, and perhaps a few others... perhaps enough to choke a web page with names of people that would get a lot of derision.

And that's why this is unlikely to work, but I'm going to enjoy watching the battle.

Let's examine the strategy (4, Funny)

FilterMapReduce (1296509) | about 6 years ago | (#25462827)

Well, let's hypothetically accept the premise that the police and feds will be able to seize the trademark from the group as though it were originally their own. Then they could at least seek legal action against anyone who produces new jackets with the logo, on the grounds that it would infringe the police's newfound exclusive rights to use the mark to promote their own goods and services. (That's why they wanted the trademark, right? I mean, what else is a trademark good for?)

So this strategy could work, so long as the police pick up the Mongols' trademarked product line and start handing out their own Mongol-branded beatings, robberies, extortion schemes, and contraband sales. (Cue a flood of cynical responses saying that the police would merely have to rebrand their existing product line.) At the very least, they could pay lip service to IP law by selling a few Mongol coffee mugs on CafePress—maybe they could donate the proceeds to those police charities instead of bothering me with telephone solicitations.

Intellectual Property? (5, Funny)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 6 years ago | (#25462743)

I find it hard to imagine a single intellectual amongst them.

Re:Intellectual Property? (5, Funny)

heptapod (243146) | about 6 years ago | (#25462787)

Who? The government? The bikers? BOTH!??!!?

Uh-oh (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462747)

Our club is called "The Mongoloids." If we were smart enough we might be worried!

Civil forfeiture has never been fair... (4, Insightful)

gillbates (106458) | about 6 years ago | (#25462855)

In the US, but this is beyond the pale. There are already laws like RICO which can be used to shut down corrupt organizations.

If this is allowed to set precedent, the Feds will literally be allowed to steal a company's trademark if anyone employed by the company does something illegal. I'm reminded of the Steve Jackson Games fiasco where the Feds seized their computers because one of their employees illegally downloaded a document from AT & T that same was selling for $17. (IIRC)

I seriously doubt that seizing a gang's name is going to deter them the least. At worst, they'll just change their name. This is more about expanding the power of the Federal government than it is about law enforcement. With civil forfeiture laws extending to copyright violations, soon the day will come when police departments will shore up their budgets by seizing computers under the guise of copyright enforcement ("Can you prove that copy of Windows wasn't pirated? I didn't think so...")

Re:Civil forfeiture has never been fair... (1)

powerspike (729889) | about 6 years ago | (#25463313)

"Can you prove that copy of Windows wasn't pirated? I didn't think so..."

Of course i can, that's what the sticker on the outside of the machine is for.. you did put one on it right?

Re:Civil forfeiture has never been fair... (3, Informative)

st0rmshad0w (412661) | about 6 years ago | (#25463437)

Actually the Steve Jackson thing had nothing to do with Operation Sun Devil. SJG was raided because one of their games under development was thought by the feds to be "a handbook for cybercrime". It took them YEARS to get their gear back.

Mongols are idiots (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25462885)

Hell's Angels is the one and only motorcycle club. Everything else is a pissant copy.

Re:Mongols are idiots (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25463141)

Modded flamebait? Yes, he was clearly trying to provoke the wrath of all those non-hells-angels biker gang types browsing slashdot.

The Crucible (2, Insightful)

ObsessiveMathsFreak (773371) | about 6 years ago | (#25462911)

Proctor:
"Because it is my name! Because I cannot have another in my life!
Because I lie and sign myself to lies! Because I am not worth the
dust on the feet of them that hang! How may I live without my name?
I have given you my soul; leave me my name!"

American justice has never been renowned for its mercy. Or its justice for that matter.

See, there's no slippery slope (5, Insightful)

carlzum (832868) | about 6 years ago | (#25462957)

For all of you alarmists that claimed IP regulation would be misused by the government and reach beyond trade and artistic works were totally off base. It hasn't led to rampant surveillance, corporate intimidation of citizens and small businesses, or the police indiscriminately stopping motorists and tearing the clothes off their backs. Oh crap, it has? Is it too late to change our minds?

Biker Sissies..... (0, Flamebait)

IHC Navistar (967161) | about 6 years ago | (#25463033)

Funny, every time I see these "Biker" groups, they are always doing their best to look bad-ass, with the tattoos, grungy and gruff appearance, tough talk, and attitude.

Yet, they stick together like glue, go everywhere in packs, and stay together for 'protection'.

Gangs, street and bikers alike, are for big fake pussies who are too weak to carry their own, and need the help of dozens more to save their ass, rather than being able to do it themselves.

Re:Biker Sissies..... (1)

Wyatt Earp (1029) | about 6 years ago | (#25463237)

Yes, its a pack mentality, same reason alot of folks with the same mindset go into Law Enforcement, the military, etc.

Its not that they are "big fake pussies", its because they want to belong to something.

Re:Biker Sissies..... (1)

the_fat_kid (1094399) | about 6 years ago | (#25463285)

Thank you mister Norris.
I'll try to remember the next time I come face to face with a lone "biker" that no matter how big or armed he appears to be, he is more afraid of me and my iPhone than I am of him.
Pussies or not I think that I'll just avoid confrontation with Mongols/Angels/Crips/Bloods/Kings when ever possible.

They could just change the name (1)

Cannelloni (969195) | about 6 years ago | (#25463089)

I never liked the name Mongoloids anyway.

Lets get it straight (1)

nef919 (524838) | about 6 years ago | (#25463121)

They are a Motorcycle Club not a gang. Just a group of enthusiasts. No, really.

Mongols, are they? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463123)

I've had it with cell phones--all of them. I'm sick of reading about new phones. I'm sick of news about the iPhone, how cool it is or that it lacks a removable battery, and gosh we need to discuss this important flaw incessantly. Who cares? It's a friggin' phone, for God's sake. And now I'm sick of hearing about Google's Android phones. The gPhone, the G1, the Android, or whatever you want to call it. Who cares?

Exactly why is so much time spent talking about these devices? Are we that bored? Are the Mongols really a motorcycle club, or a club for homosexuals?

"But it's open source, and golly, you can get the apps from anywhere! You don't have to go to the evil Apple store; you can even change the code in it."

"Oh, did you hear that a kill switch is built into the software?"

"Yes I did. That's bad, but Apple's is worse."

"My goodness, yes, it's surely worse with the Apple phone. Oh, my."

Shoot yourself.

When someone gets hold of a new phone, the next thing you know they are all over the Net reviewing it in minute detail--as if it were a great piece of literature to be deconstructed. Everyone who doesn't have the new phone is immediately jealous. "Oh, I want one of those so badly!"

This phone thing began a few years back. You'd go to a restaurant and all the phones would come out, everyone oohing and ahhing over the various models. It's completely ridiculous. "Wow, nice phone. What is it?" "Oh, it's my new Nokia X-9000. Look, it has a built-in laser pointer!" "Wow! I want one!" Gee, could we be any more decadent?

And then there were the lines around the block for the iPhone. It looked like a 1933 soup line. Why did people stand in line to get a phone? They already had one, but there they were, standing in line to pay full price and sign up with a carrier that nobody likes. Historians of the future will look at this sort of thing and equate it with pole-sitting in the 1920s. "Look, a guy's sitting on a pole!" "Wow, great! Hey, everybody, over here!"

To make things sillier, now we have word that Motorola is going to add a social-networking component to its version of the Google phone. All the BS surrounding the phone isn't bad enough, so we have to add this other dimension.

Since the invention of Friendster and LinkedIn and the sudden emergence of the buzz phrase social networking, there has been a thematic concept lurking in every high-tech cubicle: "Let's make social networking a component of our product." "Great idea!"

Isn't a phone by its very existence already a social-networking device? Why create phony initiatives just to throw in an investor-friendly term? Exactly how did this so-called component become so utterly important to everything? That's the real question. And what's so special about social networking anyway? Creating a computer database of people you really don't know and just pretend to be friends with so you can say hi once in a while? These networks are pretty flimsy, let's face it. On a phone this is called the address book.

When I hear about the need to add a social-networking component to anything, the first thing that comes to my mind is SCAM. I'm not sure how it's a scam, I just know that it is one on some level. I want a word processor so I can write columns and books, not to meet new friends.

But my complaints are meaningless in the grand scheme of things. Everyone will be jabbering about the new phones, and then they'll be jabbering about the variations of the device, and then jabbering about the cool apps they're so proud of because they got them for free. "I didn't pay for my apps" is a cool mantra to be expressed constantly--until you ultimately take yourself out of the game. "Oh, YOU bought an app? Tsk, tsk. Poor fellow. I'm so sorry for you!"

I guess the social-networking component might be a good thing after all--for people who cannot talk about anything other than phones. It will give us more people with whom we can discuss phones. And this time, we can do it on the phone, without ever getting off the phone. Only in America.

Brave officer to enforce that one (1)

Centurix (249778) | about 6 years ago | (#25463125)

Sir, please remove that jacket as it violates... please stop shooting me sir. It violates copyri... Sir, the shooting. It violates copyright restricti... Knives sir? Please, this is an important offence. We have records of several accounts of wearing a 'Mongol' jacket and downloading the latest smash hit from Britney Spears...

wouot!! 7p (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463187)

Clearhly. There dEsign approach. As

Do they really need to mess with trademarks? (1)

philspear (1142299) | about 6 years ago | (#25463195)

Law enforcement hasn't stopped using racial profiling, their own statistics (though not conclusions) say so

http://ap.google.com/article/ALeqM5hjyQqKOJRj4Sp6capLjCY5RoXm2gD93UPH900 [google.com]

So... why exactly are they going to this trouble then? Worried about the massive protests that would break out if they were percieved as discriminating against a legitimate trademark?

Communist State (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 6 years ago | (#25463249)

Its about time we recognize our Communistic State.

Law enforcement at its silliest? (3, Funny)

syousef (465911) | about 6 years ago | (#25463257)

Agent Bob: They've committed murder and robbery to extortion, money laundering, gun trafficking and drug dealing. What are we going to do?
Agent Dan: I have just the thing that will hurt them. Let's seize their name!
Agent Bob: That's brilliant! They're thugs. We all know thugs are thick. Coming up with a new name will be hard on them. They'll spend so much time coming up with a name their crime spree will be over!
Agent Dan: That's why they pay me the big bucks. Lets go get some donuts.
Agent Bob: Don't you think donuts are a little cliche?
Agent Dan: We're not regular cops Bob. Besides we can always change their name to dough-rings.
Agent Bob: That'll confuse people...Renaming things. Brilliant. I'm in awe of your wisdom. You truly are a law enforcement agent of the times.

Criminals don't respect IP? (1)

WarJolt (990309) | about 6 years ago | (#25463299)

If you use their trademark they kill you.

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