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Redbubble to pay Hells Angels $78k over logo infringement

The Federal Court of Australia has ordered print-on-demand business Redbubble to pay the Hells Angels Motorcycle Club more than $78,000 for using the club’s iconic logo without permission. The company lost a similar case in 2019.

the hells angels logo.jpeg

Redbubble - founded in Melbourne in 2006, with offices in San Francisco and Berlin - is a global online marketplace for print-on-demand products based on user-submitted artwork. It allows users to upload images to be printed on items including posters, stickers, mugs, T-shirts and masks, which are then offered for sale. 

image24The company uses a keyword filtering system to identify uploads that may violate copyrights.

Hells Angels Motorcycle Corporation (Australia) launched legal action last year after finding items for sale on Redbubble bearing the Hells Angels logo (see right). 

The court heard that the Hells Angels’ trademark officer in Australia was able to buy a number of items featuring the Hells Angels logo - despite a previous court ruling in 2019, when Redbubble was ordered to pay the club $5,000 for copyright infringement.

In his judgement handed down this week in the Federal Court of Australia (Queensland), Justice Andrew Greenwood said Redbubble’s copyright detection system had failed. 

“Clearly enough, they do not operate so as to bring about the result that infringements are always promptly detected and removed from the website.”

He awarded the club $8,250 in damages, and $70,000 in additional damages.

Read the full judgement here.