Brand Killer Trademark

“Guys live and die for that patch,” says Fritz Clapp the lawyer for the Hells Angels, while undoubtedly wearing a tie under his bike vest. “It's not just a piece of clothing.” The Angels have requested all of the items with the skull logo to be handed over so there can be “supervised destruction.”

I would like to volunteer to see said “supervised destruction.” This might be a bizarre occurrence of two very different cultural icons, but there is a lesson to be learned here.

Trademark infringement is one of the business imperatives for a brand to differentiate, a topic often discussed only in ethereal marketing or "creative" conversations (that makes logical business folks uncomfortable). It is essential for businesses to demand their designers be inspired from a true place of authenticity and drive for uniqueness. If not, they end up grabbing on to what already exists, like the Hell’s Angels skull emblem.

Great brands make something authentic & new for consumers to fall in love with, not ride the shoulders of other cultural icons. Great businesses understand the need to differentiate, for legal and protectability purposes, but more so for the chance to create their own cultural icon.