Gang Trademark

How do you stop gang violence? The government wanted to take away a cartoon. I’m Amy E. Feldman.

The Mongol Nation is a California gang of motorcycle-riding nogoodniks. Pretty sure that’s what it says on their business cards. They were convicted  and sentenced for violations of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO), and as a penalty, the government sought to hit ‘em where it hurts. In the trademark.

Yes, the Mongols’ logo is a distinctive insignia, showing the word “Mongols” over a caricature of a Genghis-kahn-esque character riding a motorcycle, which, in a surprisingly legalistic move, the gang trademarked. Because a penalty for a RICO violation is forfeiture, the government argued they had the right to seize that trademark to prevent members from wearing it. And really, what’s the point of gang membership if you don’t get to wear a cool costume?  But the Appeals Court just ruled the government does not have the right to seize the trademark. So the Mongols will get to wear their cartoon patch again, and the government will have to figure out a different way to stop crime.

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