The Navajo Nation has filed a federal lawsuit against Urban Outfitters, alleging trademark infringement and violations of the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which makes it illegal to sell arts or crafts in a way to falsely suggest they're made by American Indians. The suit claims that the Generation Y-retailer has been marketing and selling products that use the American Indian tribe's marks and names without a licensing or vendor agreement. The tribe has about 10 registered trademarks on the Navajo name that cover clothing, footwear, online retail sales, household products and textiles.
The lawsuit follows PR efforts to stop Urban Outfitters from sellig its line of Navajo-branded clothing and accessories that critics deemed "derogatory and scandolous" including underwear and a liquor flask.
In the civil action filed in U.S. District Court in New Mexico, the tribe and its commercial subsidiaries seek damages and an order stopping Urban Outfitters from using the names "Navajo " and "Navaho" and marks on goods that compete with its own trademarked jewelry, housewares, and clothing.