Government hopes suing gang over trademark will diminish violence

December 21, 2018 - 3:30 am

By Amy E. Feldman, Judge Technology Solutions

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — How do you stop gang violence? Not by taking their pistols, but by taking their patches.

The Mongols Nation is a California gang of motorcycle-riding nogoodniks — at least that's what it says on their business cards. They have been caught on government surveillance bragging, chanting, even rapping about their crimes. 

Now the government seeks to hit 'em where it hurts: in the trademark. 

Yes, the Mongols' logo is a distinctive insignia or patch that shows the word "Mongols" over a caricature of a Genghis Kahn-esque character riding a motorcycle — which in a surprising legalistic move, the gang had trademarked. 

The government is in court to prove that the organization is a racketeering enterprise, and argue that they have the right to seize the trademark and would be able to sue any member who wore the patch. And really, what's the point of gang membership if you don't get to wear those cool costumes? 

The trial judge has already thrown the case out, only to be overturned on appeal, so we will see if the government has a winning legal strategy this time and, if they do, whether preventing the gang from wearing a cartoon on their back will really stop crime.