There is a lot of confusion about the "Flaming Skull" Brotherhood of Bikers logo patch. I hope this helps clear up a few things many seem to be confused about.
These are the facts as I understand them :
Hotleathers©/ Good Sports Inc.© created a Flaming Skull design to be used on patches, shirts flags etc. and marketed it. The items were labeled "Brotherhood of Bikers". What a cool message and lots of people thought wow! cool design let us buy some of those WAY cool patches and shirts. There were many sold. $$$ for Hotleathers©. Everyone is happy. Right? Not exactly. It seems people thought the message and patches were so cool they would start organizations and riding together wearing the WAY cool patches. All was well for a year or so with groups of people with good intentions going around making friends, recruiting members, talking with established clubs explaining who and what they were about and some doing good things in the community while promoting their organization who ride together wearing those WAY cool patches. Now the confusion ...
It seems that a Motorcycle Club in Texas who just happened to call themselves Brotherhood of Bikers MC since 1984 informed the wearers of the WAY cool patches (with "their" club name on them) that the name "Brotherhood of Bikers" was a trademarked name and it just isn't right to go around wearing "our" name on your back. We are responsible for our name, reputation and the people that wear patches with our name on them. If you're familiar with the Biker/MC world you already understand, but for those who are still thinking "yeah? so?" or "we'll wear them anyway", I'll go on. The very cordial and polite MC explained that "their" reputation and trademarked club name were at stake and if you're going to use our name for any kind of club, group, organization that we have to account for, we would like to charge you a nominal authorization fee per chapter just to keep all of you wearing those "cheesy" skull patches honest. After all it does cost $$$ to trademark or patent a product or word or group of words. NOW it's gets interesting. Some of us good intentioned folks wearing those "cheesy" skull patches and riding together as a group calling ourselves Brotherhood of Bikers thought "ya know? How could we buy them if the name was trademarked???" We don't know, but it happened. So now what do we do? Well we could tell the MC that we were able to buy them so they must be legal to wear OR we could research it on the Gov's patent and copyright page and see what's up.
Some said "aw hell they can't tell anyone who can or can't wear patches that we paid for" some of these people were not very bright. Again you in the Biker/MC world bear with me cuz you already know the right thing to do. A couple of members in Michigan contacted (after researching the name and seeing that it was indeed trademarked) the MC calling themselves Brotherhood of Bikers and APOLOGIZED for wearing patches with "THEIR" name on them. NOT because we were afraid of being sued or intimidated or feared for our lives. We did it because it was the proper, courteous, respectful, brotherly, thing to do!
The MC was polite, courteous and worked out an agreement with us so we could use "THEIR" name and go on about our business as a separate Riding Club (or whatever you want to call yourselves) with no interference except that we help them in promoting a better biker image and conduct ourselves properly as any group should. Well isn't that what brotherhood is about? Just like it says on the patches and shirts? EXACTLY!!! To us in Michigan it was a no brainer. We contacted the MC, made an agreement to ride with patches bearing again ... "THEIR" copyrighted name. Do we wear the copyrighted image without Hotleathers© permission? Hell yes! They're getting rich. They don't care what we do as long as they are selling lots of patches! Is Hotleathers© right by using the name on their image? We are not lawyers!!! We're Bikers, but we're grown ups and know right from wrong.
We get lots of questions on the web site how to get patches or how to start a chapter in their state. This is how it's done folks. If you want to buy the WAY cool patches from Hotleathers© and ride in a group and start your own club without permission of the trademark owners ... YOU ARE ON YOUR OWN! You are NO part of our group and never will be! If you want to be part of a group with Brotherhood in the name ... you would need to show some.
However if this all makes sense to you and you believe that we did the right and brotherly thing by the MC ... you are our kind of people and we would love to talk to you about becoming a member or helping you get your own chapter going.
We will post contact info soon or you can contact Brotherhood of Bikers RC SC here by clicking the "contact us" tab at the top of the page.