The US Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan on August 29, 2016, filed a NOTICE DISMISSING DDMC TRADEMARK FROM FIRST FORFEITURE BILL OF PARTICULARS regarding the Devils Diciples MC. The notice says,
“The government hereby provides notice that it is not seeking to forfeit the DDMC Trademark in this criminal proceeding and hereby dismisses it from the First Forfeiture Bill of Particulars.”
Attempts by the federal government to seize the Devils Diciples Motorcycle Club trademark have come to an end. For now. But remaining vigilant and unified is critical when, inevitably, the time comes to oppose the next attempt to destroy motorcycle club culture.
The Government Withdraws Request To Seize Devils Diciples MC Trademark
Background- Devils Diciples Attorney Contacts the US Attorney Requesting Trademark Seizure To Be Withdrawn
On May 31, 2016, Federal District Judge Robert Cleland decided in a PRELIMINARY ORDER OF FORFEITURE that defendants that had pled guilty could not dispute the forfeiture of the Devils Diciples trademark and logo in related proceedings. This decision seemed to signal the government’s attempt to follow through with the attempt to take the Devils Diciples ability to display their name or logo. Interested parties were given until September 6th to file a response.
Attorney Fritz Clapp, representing the Devils Diciples collective membership specifically related to trademark forfeiture issues, corresponded with the US Attorney over the obvious legal precedent disqualifying the trademark forfeiture strategy as legally bankrupt and potentially costly. The federal government is attempting to seize property of individuals that have not been found guilty of a crime. This is the same theory that ultimately failed when attempted against the Mongols Motorcycle Club in 2008. The US Attorney responded that they would withdraw the request to forfeit the trademark and have followed through.
Unified The Patch Can Be Saved
Although obvious credit must be given to Mr. Clapp, the almost universal support given to the save the patch movement by the motorcycle club community is a testament to what can be accomplished if unified. Members of the community came across the government’s request at the end of a Notice of Forfeiture in October 2014, almost 2 years after the original indictment. From that point the community rallied and unified, a competent attorney was obtained, and the result is one of the most important victories for motorcycle clubs in recent history.
This is a significant victory. But it is also most likely not the end of government attempts to strike at the heart of motorcycle club culture by denying the ability to freely express association through wearing patches, clothing, and paraphernalia. The motorcycle rights movement must stay the course and continue unifying in preparation for the next frontline battle.
Remember, the Mongols lost their patch and trademark, won their trademark and patch back, and are currently fighting another attempt at trademark seizure under a slightly different theory of indicting the club as an entity.
The implications of patch forfeiture cuts to the core of a motorcycle club’s existence. Motorcycle club patches symbolize loyalty, honor, love and respect to one’s brotherhood. Patches represent the essential expression of this unique association. All motorcycle clubs should consider the results a huge victory. Indeed, every American should be pleased that a US Attorney decided to recognize fundamental 1st Amendment liberties as opposed to trying to destroy them. But remain focused. This was but one battle in a much larger war over the right for motorcycle clubs to exist as they now exist.