After years of the Hells Angels being the target of police raids and surveillance across North America, the outlaw motorcycle gang has decided to make a stand in an Ontario court – over its logo.
Next month, the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club takes to the courts in a bid to force police to return its vests, jewellery, calendars, scarves, T-shirts, belt buckles, rings, pins, posters, a cuckoo clock, bumper stickers and anything else they have seized bearing the bikers' trademarked logo of a winged skull. Those items were seized in dozens of police raids since the club came to Ontario eight years ago – including the Project Tandem raids on the Toronto chapter's Eastern Ave. clubhouse and the Oshawa chapter's Ortono Ave. headquarters.
The bikers' appeal to the Ontario Court of Justice is believed to be the first such legal action for the world's largest outlaw motorcycle club, considered a criminal organization by Ontario courts. But in the past, they have jealously protected the copyright of their winged-skull logo, successfully suing an author over the use of the logo on a book cover and even forcing Disney Pictures to change a movie script.
While it is a unique case, it should not be shocking that the bikers are so defensive about their logo, says Prof. Ken Hardy of the Ivey School of Business at the University of Western Ontario in London.
"This is basic marketing: you define yourself," said Hardy, who teaches business students the importance of brand identification – or "branding" – in mainstream marketing.
If they lose the power of their trademarked logos, Hardy says, "they're diminishing their stock as a badass." That stock helps them recruit members, conduct business and feel special, the professor says. To read the rest of the article: http://www.thestar.com/News/GTA/article/591032