Operation Black Rain resulted in what is believed to be the first case in the nation in which the government has sought to take control of an
organizations identity, via its logo, through a court order.
Feds won the right to bar (indicted) Mongols from owning anything bearing their legally obtained, federally recognized (and protected?) TRADEMARK (No.
The orders intent and purpose was to empower police who spot anyone wearing a Mongols patch to "stop the (club) member and literally take the jacket
right off his back". NOTE: NOT just the "indicted" individuals arrested and charged in the original sweep (which took place in SEVEN states).
According to Ryan Gile, a Las Vegas attorney specializing the trademark and intellectual property law "the patch is an asset and as such the
government may take it.....as long as the word "Mongols"...appears somewhere on the clubs logo merchandise....the government can seize it."
US attorney Thomas O'Brien for the Cenral District of California where the Black Rain indictment was filed, stated that was the exact intent of the
Another attorney, who specialized in First Amendment cases, Douglas Mirell says, "It...a serious potential First Amendment violation to have the
government come in and attempt to, and in this case succeed to strip lawfully obtained rights...preventing a rights holder of using the trademark they
Wednesdays order doesn't state the Mongols can't wear their club clothing but it does say they must give all their clothing up which seems to
accomplish the same goal.
This is an unprecedented approach and according to Maggie McLetchie (staff attorney for the ACLU, Nevada) it "...violates the First Amendment
and...there is no authority for the government to get rid of trademarks (and) people have the right to express themselves and....to wear symbols they
feel they identify with."
Even if you may find "outlaw" motorcycle clubs unsavory in of themselves, the implications of this operation will be far reaching. If uncontested
and confirmed through judicial course it can ultimately be applied to and affect anyone belonging to any organization (or corporation for that matter)
the US government dislikes or deems morally unacceptable - regardless of the legitimacy of its basic function. A bias toward one group that is
reflected in the final judgment further deteriorates every individuals personal rights protected under the First Amendment. So who's next in line?
Churches? Civic Groups? Political Organizations?
Please consider and answer these questions:
Can the government now seize items from private citizens own "Mongols" support gear? Are people who've legally purchased these items breaking the
law if they wear or posses them?
Trademarks are really protected only through continuous use so will the government now have to crank out their own line of "Mongol" merchandise to
keep the trademark valid?
How will (Mongols) members tattoos be handled?!
If the government gets fed up with the Crips and Bloods (gangs) can it ban the colors they use to identify themselves; blue and red?
I HAVE NO AFFILIATION OR ASSOCIATION WITH THIS MOTORCYCLE CLUB
And am not opposed to any individual being charged and prosecuted on the merit of their crimes WITHOUT THE FEDS AND JUDICIAL SYSTEM OVERSTEPPING THEIR
BOUNDS AND STOMPING THE FIRST AMENDMENT!