Can The Federal Government Tell me what I Can or Cannot Wear? Can The Federal Government Seize a Motorcycle Clubs Trademarked or Copyrighted Patch? An Ominous Trend in Our Nations History!

Biker Rights Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez discusses the governments ability to seize a trademarked patch from a motorcycle clubYou may or may not have read about a certain motorcycle club having some legal problems lately. The government is trying to shut them down by seizing their patch and enjoining (preventing them through a restraining order) them from wearing it. This article is not about that club, but the legal issues in general.

Before I begin discussing this article I must state that I am not talking about any one motorcycle club or organization in this article, I am just writing in hypothetical’s. For purposes of this article I will make up a motorcycle club called “The Elmer’s MC”

Let’s say hypothetically that the Federal Government alleges that The Elmer’s MC is a criminal organization, and moves to seize club property under civil forfeiture statutes, because the property was used in the commission of a crime, or were gained from the fruits of criminal activity?

Can they do this? Yes they can. Is it an ominous trend? Yes it is. Has the government been seizing all sorts of private property under civil forfeiture statutes? Yes, for a long time. Do you ever really own property in the United States of America? Apparently not any more. The government can by a preponderance of evidence, basically take anything they want from you. We really in effect own nothing in the United States of America anymore, this is what is has come to.

Is a Federal Trademark or Copyright property that can constitutionally be seized by the Federal Government under civil forfeiture statues; that is the question!

My reading of the various statutes and case law involved leads me to believe that the government can in fact seize Federal Trademarks and Copyrights under the civil forfeiture statutes, because the Trademark and Copyright is in fact a tangible thing (property for the time you own it.) that can be assigned, and/or licensed for consideration. (Money, etc.)

Furthermore, as a valuable legal right that is analogous to property, it can arguably be seized just like any other piece of property.

Now let’s say that the government now wants to get an injunction which prohibits The Elmer’s MC from wearing its trademarked or copyrighted patch, because is has been seized by the government and is now government property. They probably could get an injunction under civil seizure and intellectual property law, but does this action violate our First Amendment Right to Free Speech. I would say that it does, and the right to free speech is a much more important right in this particular circumstance.

Let me explain. Let’s say arguendo that The Elmer’s MC is the most horrible and criminal organization in the world. Do we want to allow the government to be able to yank clothes off anybody that is wearing Elmer’s MC apparel just because they are trying to shut them down?

What if the government decides that Walmart is a criminal organization? Are they going to be able to take Walmart shirts off of anyone that is wearing one? This idea is ludicrous and ominous. If we allow this to stand, the government will not only be able to take your property with a very minimal burden of proof, (preponderance of the evidence) but they will also be able to tell you what you CANNOT wear if they want.

Look, I am a law abiding guy, but I am also a United States Constitution type of guy. I hate the Nazi Swastika with a passion, yet under our constitution, the government cannot ban someone from wearing one even though it is despicable.

The Elmer’s MC should be able to wear anything they want to wear so long as what they are wearing is not defamatory, it is not meant to incite an immediate riot or criminal activity, and it does not violate someone’s civil rights, even if they are worst arch criminals of the world.

Why, because once you let the government take away a right they will take away 10. Soon regular Joes walking the street will be subject to this same horrible precedent.

Have we become that Police State that we all feared when we saw the movie 1984, are we are allowing are freedoms to be sucked from us? Yes.

It is my position that the government in this case has gone too far. No matter what The Elmer’s MC did, the government should not have the right to tell The Elmer’s MC members, or any member of the public what they can or cannot wear. The government’s action should be held to violate the United States Constitution’s 1st Amendment Right to Free Speech.

Yes, it can logically be argued that the government has the right to ban The Elmer’s MC from wearing a seized trademarked or copyrighted patch under present law and precedent, but the argument that government should NOT have the right to tell us what we can and cannot wear does not really take much argument at all in a free society. In other words, the Right to Free Speech should take precedence over the civil forfeiture statutes, and trademark law in this particular circumstance. If we open up Pandora’s Box, where will it end?

This precedent would allow the government to seize any trademark or copyright with a minimal burden of proof and without having to even try a person or organization for a crime, or prove that they are guilty of a crime. Is this the Untied States that our founding fathers envisioned? I think not!

Therefore I say to the government look; if the Elmer’s MC or its members have committed crimes, then they should be held accountable in a Court of law in front of a jury of their peers. If they are convicted then punish them. However, this business of convicting an organization or its members in the media without a jury trial, and then preventing them wearing an item of clothes by going to a Judge for an injunction under civil forfeiture statutes, is flat out un American and wrong.

Many of you may be saying look; the Elmer’s are a bad bunch and need to be punished. Trouble is what if you are someday falsely accused of something. I am not saying the Elmer’s were falsely accused, I don’t know. However, let’s say it is you. The government than seizes your money so you cannot hire a lawyer to defend yourself, they then tell you that you cannot wear Levis because all members of your organization wear Levis, and then you plea bargain out because the public defender does not have the resources to defend you. How is this justice? Civil forfeiture statutes are just plain wrong even though they have somehow been upheld. The forfeiture should occur in a criminal setting with the same burden of proof as a criminal action.

The argument by the prosecutor against the fictitious Elmer’s MC is ingenious. However, its effect would be downright un American.

Moral to the story……….. If you are a Motorcycle Club like the Elmer’s, do not Trademark or Copyright your name and patch!

The biggest evils against man have or were justified under the premise of doing good. In the case of the Elmer’s, they are probably no angels, but the rights you take away from them; you take away from all of us.

The rights given to us through the United States Constitution are meant to protect the few from the many, when the many want to violate our rights!

No Mr. Government, we don’t want you to have the power to tell us what we can and cannot wear!

By California Biker and Motorcycle Lawyer Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq., © 2008

More Hypocrisy from those Brain Dead Residents of Canyon Lake, California.

California Biker Motorcycle Lawyer Attorney Norman Gregory Fernandez

If you are not familiar with this story, you can click here to read my original article.

Since I have written the article, I have been contacted by bikers and motorcyclist who reside in Canyon Lake, California about potentially initiating legal action against Canyon Lake for their practice of blatantly discriminating against residents who own motorcycles.

Canyon Lake you are now on notice that we may be coming for you in a Court of Law real soon! It might be better if you just let residents who own motorcycles ride in your city!

The President of the Canyon Lake Motorcycle Club recently informed me about more hypocrisy from the Brain Dead of Canyon Lake. It appears that they care more about banning motorcycles from their city than their own children! No shit; true story. You can read a newspaper article about it here.

Apparently speeding cagers have been putting kids who are getting on and off of school buses in and around Canyon Lake in danger. What idiot would speed by a school bus or school bus stop with children standing by? This is another issue that will not be discussed in this article.

The residents of Canyon Lake complained, so the Riverside County Sheriff assigned motorcycle officers to go after the speeders. Guess what; those brain dead residents of Canyon Lake, California complained that the cops were using MOTORCYCLES to correct the problem. Can you believe it? Here the cops go out to try to help their kids and they complain because they are using MOTORCYCLES?

The President of the Canyon Lake Motorcycle Club calls it an embarrassment. I call it lunacy.

Discrimination in all of its forms is in plain language “Ignorance.” Ignorance and Discrimination walk hand in hand.

So if one of the brain dead residents of Canyon Lake loses a child to a speeder because they complained about the cops using motorcycles to catch the speeders, than guess what; you asked for it.

How can a group of people be so dumb that they would put their prejudice against bikers and motorcyclist above their own children? The Answer is simple; PURE IGNORANCE.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. ,© 2007

Brain Dead in Canyon Lake, California; Who would want to live there?

Editorial by Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq.

Imagine buying a home in a gated city called Canyon Lake, in Riverside County. You move into your new home with your family; everything is great.

Then imagine jumping on your motorcycle to ride to work, no biggie right? Wrong!

In Canyon Lake, California, which is a gated city consisting of around 4300 single family homes; riding a motorcycle anywhere in the city has been banned by the Homeowners Association.

Yes, you heard me right; you cannot ride a motorcycle anywhere in this city. If you are caught riding a street legal and properly licensed motorcycle in this city you can face fines that start progressively up from $100.00, including possibly losing your home!

I recently read about Canyon Lake in a newspaper article here. The homeowners association will not let you ride your motorcycle to or from your home either.

Bikers must park their motorcycles outside of the city limits or trailer their bike in or out if the don’t want to be in violation of the law here.

Recently a group of bikers and their supporters attempted to change the homeowner’s association bylaws but failed. They say they will keep trying to change the rules.

I say that the homeowners association of Canyon Lake is Brain Dead! I am stating this as my own personal opinion.

This is an ominous development as far as I am concerned. Who knows, maybe the city of Riverside will outlaw riding motorcycles on city streets next.

Some people may say that since the majority of homeowners voted to ban motorcycles, that it is ok because it is democracy in action. Wrong; our Country and system of justice is set up to protect the rights of the few when the actions of the majority usurp the minorities constitutional rights.

Back in the 1960’s there were laws that allowed persons or establishments to discriminate against minorities just because of the color of their skin. The Court system, and eventually the Congress enacted laws to prohibit this type of discrimination.

In the case of Canyon Lake, I recommend that the bikers there get a good lawyer and take appropriate legal action against the city and its discriminatory practices against bikers.

It seems to me that the State of California and the vehicle code take precedence over the Brain Dead majority of Canyon Lake. It seems to me that so long as the State allows Motorcycles to legally ride on City Streets, that State law would take priority over Canyon Lake Law. I know that Canyon Lake will argue that they are a private city, bla bla bla. However, they are a quasi city for purposes of the law.

I sure would like to see how a lawsuit would pan out against Canyon Lake and their ban on motorcycles.

One thing is sure, I will never go there, I will never spend my money there, and I do not recommend that other bikers do so either. I feel sorry for the poor SOB’s that bought homes there. They cannot even ride their motorcycles home.

By Norman Gregory Fernandez, Esq. , Copyright 2006

You Better be Careful Riding Your Motorcycle through Malibu, California Between the Hours of 10:00pm and 7:00am

Norman Gregory Fernandez and Cat on a Motorcycle Ride in Malibu, CaliforniaI have seen some crazy laws in my time, but the “Noise Control Ordinance of the City of Malibu” takes the cake.
The ordinance in a nutshell makes it unlawful to make any noise which offends reasonable persons of ordinary sensitivity. I am not kidding.

Here are some select parts of the ordinance:


4204.Prohibited Acts.
A. Unnecessary Noises. The unnecessary making of, or knowingly and unnecessarily permitting to be made, any loud, boisterous or unusual noise, disturbance, commotion or vibration in any boarding facility, dwelling, place of business or other structure, or upon any public street, park or other place or building, except the ordinary and usual sounds, noises, commotion or vibration incidental to the operation of said places when conducted in accordance with the usual and normal standard of practice applicable thereto and in a manner which will not disturb the peace and comfort of adjacent residences or which will not detrimentally affect the operators or customers of adjacent places of business.

D. Engines, Motors and Mechanical Devices Near Residential District. Except as provided in paragraph G of this Section regarding construction-related noise, the sustained operation or use between the hours of 10:00 p.m. and 7:00 a.m. of any electric or gasoline powered motor or engine or the repair, modification, reconstruction, testing or operation of any automobile, motorcycle, machine or mechanical device or other contrivance or facility unless such motor, engine, automobile, motorcycle, machine or mechanical device is enclosed within a sound insulated structure so as to prevent noise and sound from being plainly audible at a distance of 50 feet from such structure, or within 10 feet of any residence.

E. Motor Vehicles. Racing the engine of any motor vehicle or needlessly bringing to a sudden start or stop of any motor vehicle.

Basically what Malibu is trying to say is that Bikers are not welcome there at night. Unfortunately for Malibu it would appear that their ordinance is violative of the United States Constitution, and the California Constitution.

Simply starting your motorcycle in Malibu, at night would violate the ordinance!!

Continue reading “You Better be Careful Riding Your Motorcycle through Malibu, California Between the Hours of 10:00pm and 7:00am”

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