July 19, 2024
Black Church Seeks to Confiscate ‘Proud Boys’ Trademark

Black Church Seeks to Confiscate ‘Proud Boys’ Trademark

(Ken Silva, Headline USA) The Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church in Washington, D.C. has filed a claim to confiscate the “Proud Boys” trademark after winning a default judgment against the group last year.

The church’s move to take the Proud Boys logo stems from an infamous December 2020 incident, when a group of Proud Boys stole a Black Lives Matter banner from the church and destroyed it. That led to the arrest of then-Proud Boys leader and FBI informant Enrique Tarrio two days before the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol Hill uprising. Tarrio is serving 22 years in prison for his role in Jan. 6, despite him not being there.

Tarrio’s story aside, the Metropolitan African Methodist Episcopal Church earned a default judgment against the Proud Boys last year. What was originally a roughly $1 million judgment has now ballooned to nearly $3 million thanks to attorney fees, post-judgment interest and other costs.

While it looks like the church might not collect a dime from the Proud Boys, it’s seeking alternative compensation.

“To the best of Metropolitan AME’s knowledge, [Proud Boys International] has permitted Proud Boys chapters to continue to make use of the Proud Boys Trademark in their ongoing marketing, recruitment, and other activities, without paying a cent of royalties to PBI—royalties that could be used to satisfy the Church’s Judgment,” the church said in its July 2 lawsuit, filed in DC Superior Court.

However, it’s not even clear whether the Proud Boys even has a legal trademark. Its former counsel Jason Lee Van Dyke, whose holding company is listed as a defendant in the church’s case, told this publication that he no longer owns it.

“I do not hold the trademark. I had it for some time after they kicked me out and held it merely as a courtesy. After the church thing, I revoked their permission to use it and told them that—if someone from the group didn’t claim it—I would surrender it to the public domain,” Van Dyke said.

“Nobody claimed it, so I surrendered it in Feb of 2021 and the surrender became final that May, I think. So the church is asking for something the Proud Boys do not even own.”

To Van Dyke’s point, a Feb. 1, 2021, letter from him to Tarrio shows that he revoked the Proud Boys trademark over the church incident, as well as the Proud Boys promoting Nazism and committing violence.

Van Dyke then surrendered the trademark. Jan. 6/Proud Boys attorney John Pierce has filed an application for the trademark with the Mad Aster through the shell company “Mad Aster,” but the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office has not granted the application, according to the church’s lawsuit.

The church’s lawsuit was first reported by Court Watch.

Ken Silva is a staff writer at Headline USA. Follow him at twitter.com/jd_cashless.

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