Update — My boyfriends a Hells Angel
A few days ago, I blogged about the recent Hells Angels lawsuit accusing Amazon and Wildfox (a small fashion house) of misappropriating the gang’s skull-with-wings design and their trademarked name on tee shirts.
Yesterday, Fritz Clapp, the attorney for the Hells Angels for nearly twenty years, took time to send me a copy of the complaint and speak with me about the suit. According to Mr. Clapp, when people wrongfully use the Hells Angels name his “main objective is to get the stuff off the market, sequester it and get it destroyed.” As he explained, “this is a membership mark, which is a wholly different story than commercial brands.”
Though the defendants have yet to be served, this looks like a case that defendants will want to settle fast. Mr. Clapp is known and respected for his unique and aggressive litigation style. Earlier this year, Mr. Clapp who describes his litigation strategy as “shock and awe” successfully put a complete halt to Alexander McQueen’s fashion house use of the Hells Angels’ trademarked winged death’s head symbol in some of its designs.
Mr. Clapp, it should be noted, is an interesting attorney, and not just because he is the “guardian angel of the Hells Angels trademark rights.” Mr. Clapp possesses my favorite domain name ever – Lawyer from Hell. And sports a red mohawk.
A recent article in Intellectual Property Magazine, which is well worth the read, describes how Mr. Clapp became the attorney for the Angels. Mr. Clapp was well known in the motorcycle community; he was a rider and a motorcycle lobbyist –
Fritz, on hearing that the Angels were looking for a permanent IP counsel, applied for the job. The man interviewing him was the notorious James “Guinea” Colucci. Guinea . . . had recently been arrested and later released on charges of dealing in methamphetamines, cocaine, illegal weapons and explosives. He was eventually convicted for possessing three ounces of methamphetamines.
I couldn’t help wonder, what does one wear to a job interview like that. So I asked Mr. Clapp whether he wore a suit, and his response, more or less, was “Hell no!”
Mr. Clapp recognizes that he has had a pretty unique and bad-ass career, one that could never have planned for. Rather, as he puts it, it’s his “destiny.”
Tiny top hat tip to Mr. Clapp for pulling off the side of the road and taking the time to speak with me.