“When we do right, nobody remembers. When we do wrong, nobody forgets”
Hells Angels’ motto
The Hells Angels’ official website attributes the official “death’s head” insignia design to Frank Sadilek, past president of the San Francisco Chapter. The colors and shape of the early-style jacket emblem (prior to 1953) were copied from the insignias of the 85th Fighter Squadron and the 552nd Medium Bomber Squadron
In October 2010, the Hells Angels filed a lawsuit against Alexander McQueen for “misusing its trademark winged death heads symbol”, after the fashion house featured motifs similar to its famous winged death head. Lawyers for the motorcycle gang cited four products from the late designer’s final collection, created shortly before his suicide in February 2011.
They named the ‘Hells Angels’ jacquard box dress, and a knuckle-duster ring in the complaint, as well as a scarf and a handbag.
The complaint argued that the symbol has been used by the Hells Angels since at least 1948, and that it is protected by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The lawyer representing Hells Angels claimed “This isn’t just about money, it’s about membership. If you’ve got one of these rings on, a member might get really upset that you’re an impostor.”
Twice in the weeks leading up to his death, Mr. McQueen messaged on Twitter, “Hells angels [sic] and prolific demons.” What seemed a non sequitur then appeared to be a reference to the collection he was working on, imprinted with the angels of Sandro Botticelli and the demons of Hieronymus Bosch.
In March 2007, the Hells Angels filed suit against the Walt Disney Motion Pictures Group alleging that the film entitled Wild Hogs (Walt Becker, 2007) used both the name and distinctive logo of the Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation without permission.The suit was eventually voluntarily dismissed, after it received assurances from Disney that its references would not appear in the film.