Hells Angels sues Redbubble for breach of intellectual property in shirt designs

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THE Hells Angels outlaw motorcycle gang has passed the hat around its members, raising $30,000 in a bid to keep its lawsuit against a hipster T-shirt website afloat.

Browns Plains-based Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation (Australia) – declared a criminal organisation by the Queensland Government in 2013 – has sued website Redbubble for breach of intellectual property after its fearsome logo appeared on three T-shirts and one poster purchased from Redbubble in 2014.

‘HURT’: Hipster retailers sued

The club points to a $31 T-shirt with the Hells Angels crest on it, a “Hells Angels Maths Club” T-shirt and a “Hells Angels Movie” T-shirt, and a poster of a bikie wearing his colours sitting with a girl.

The club says its “skull” logo is “highly valued by club members” and should only be worn by those who belong.

In the Federal Court on April 22, Dimitrios Eliades, barrister for the Hells Angels, told the court that just hours before the hearing some members had scraped together the cash to help pay the “security for costs” needed for the case to continue.

Redbubble, which plans to float on the securities exchange in two weeks, has previously sparked controversy by selling T-shirts of satirical online comic strip “Hipster Hitler” and baby bodysuits featuring headshots of infamous serial killers.

The design the Hells Angels are objecting to.

Many of its designs refer to drug use, use expletives or show images considered too risque for mainstream fashion outlets.

The site posts 15,000 new designs every day.

Redbubble’s gross profit last year was $24 million and the company is holding $13 million in cash on its balance sheet, the court was told.

Mr Eliades told the court the $30,000 was raised after unemployed Brisbane chapter president Mark Nelms spoke to the club’s national secretary after midnight on April 22.

The club has 14 Australian “chapters” nationwide, the court was told.

Barrister Neil Murray, for RedBubble, told the court the $30,000 was “too little, too late” and the case should not be permitted to continue.

The Hells Angels club was able to buy $81 worth of allegedly infringing items from Redbubble online, Mr Eliades told the court.

“We have bought products which we consider to be infringing,” he said.

US-based company The Pokemon Company International has also sued Redbubble claiming 30 breaches of trademarks.

Justice Greenwood has reserved his decision.

Members of the Gold Coast Hells Angels chapter.

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