Civil Asset Forfeiture

Feds Blow $250K in Attempt To Seize Motorcycle Club's Logo

Use of asset forfeiture to steal a trademark for a symbolic victory is ... new


WASHINGTON — Federal prosecutors just lost a quarter of a million dollars trying to take away the Mongols Motorcycle Club trademark. Now they're trying again.

Revving up an unusual free speech case, prosecutors in Southern California filed racketeering charges against the related Mongol Nation in February. No one will go to jail if prosecutors prevail in what appears to be a long-shot case. In theory, though, the federal government could end up owning the trademark that it's been chasing for years.

"I'm not aware of any other case where the government has sought forfeiture in this way," David Loy, the legal director of the ACLU Foundation of San Diego and Imperial Counties, said in an interview this week. "I have concerns about the case."

Prosecutors consider the Mongols' trademark name and logo of a ponytailed man riding a motorcycle to be signs of a criminal enterprise.