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Hells Angels slap London dressmakers with trademark suit

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The Hells Angels are apparently going to war with British fashion house Alexander McQueen after accusing the couturiers of infringing on their trademarks.

The California-based motorcycle club, whose fearsome reputation includes the sudden and brutal application of trademark lawyers, believes the dressmakers, and its retailers, have overstepped the mark with a series of clothes and accessories featuring a skull and wings death head design.

Alexander McQueen, whose eponymous founder committed suicide earlier this year, allegedly sold items including a $495 Hells Four Finger Ring and a $1595 Hells Angels Jaquard Box Dress, the Hells Angels charge.

It's not just the copyright issue, though. The Angels' attorneys seem to be suggesting there's also a public safety issue.

"This isn't just about money, it's about membership," Hells Angels lawyer Fritz Clapp told the New York Post. "If you've got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you're an imposter."

And presumably apply a quick injunction for passing off.

The Angels have been around for nigh on 60 years, from the start employing a robust approach to defending their reputation. Various Angels-affiliated groups have come to the attention of the FBI, though that hasn't stopped the organisation achieving iconic status as part of a particularly muscular brand of individualism and freedom.

However, while they are likely to put the willies up suburban fathers and slippery hippies, they are just as likely to make attorneys quake. It was Oakland chapter leader Sonny Barger back in the 1960s who is said to have had the idea of copyrighting the organisation's logos, to prevent others trading on its hard-won image, and organisations including Disney have since felt their righteous wrath.

More details on the Angels here. Note the trademark warning at the bottom.

You can peruse some McQueen dresses here, though it would appear the Hells Angel dress is not actually available - though there is a fetching Flaming Skull number at the same price. ®

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