Hells Angels Sue Saks, McQueen Design, Over Trademark

The Hells Angels motorcycle group sued fashion design house Alexander McQueen and retail chain Saks Inc. for trademark infringement for selling handbags, jewelry and clothing using the club’s death-head design.

Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. said McQueen’s company, New York-based Saks and retailer Zappos.com Inc. have been selling infringing products in stores in California and online, according to a complaint filed yesterday in U.S. District Court in Los Angeles.

The motorcycle club said it has been using the death-head mark, a skull with wings, since at least 1948. The Hells Angels have authorized the use of the marks on jewelry, apparel and “promotional and entertainment services,” according to the complaint.

Saks, McQueen and Zappos have been selling items including the Hells Angels Jacquard Box Dress and Hells Angels Pashmina that deploy the trademarks, according to the complaint. The jacquard dress is listed on McQueen’s website for $1,595 and the pashmina scarf for $560.

A woman’s handbag designed by McQueen called “Hell’s Knuckle Duster” is listed on Zappos.com’s site for $2,329. Zappos is owned by Seattle-based Amazon.com Inc.

McQueen, the designer for whom the fashion house is named, died in February.

Julia Bentley, a spokeswoman for Saks, said the company had no comment on the complaint. Diane Coffey, a spokeswoman for Zappos, said the company has no immediate comment.

Representatives of Alexander McQueen, based in London, couldn’t be reached for comment. McQueen is a unit of PPR’s Gucci Group, based in Amsterdam.

The case is Hells Angels Motorcycle Corp. v. Alexander McQueen Trading Ltd., 10-08029, U.S. District Court, Central District of California (Los Angeles).

To contact the reporter on this story: Don Jeffrey in New York at djeffrey1@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: David E. Rovella at drovella@bloomberg.net.

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