Navajo 'not famous enough,' judge dismisses 2 counts in lawsuit against Urban Outfitters

urban outfitters

Photo via Mike Mozart/Flickr (CC-BY)

The largest Native American tribe's name is considered 'niche.'

The Navajo Nation has hit a snag in its lawsuit against clothing store chain Urban Outfitters.

Two counts were dismissed last week from a six-count suit, which was filed in 2012. Those counts hinged on the trademark of the name "Navajo." A judge in New Mexico cited insufficient evidence that Navajo is considered famous and instead claimed that it appears to be more of a "niche" name.

An entire line of goods was what prompted the Navajo Nation to sue the company four years ago. Urban Outfitters had been labeling everything from underwear and shirts to flasks as "Navajo." Needless to say, the largest Native American tribe in the nation took offense to what appears to be a co-opting of its name.

U.S. District Judge Bruce Black said it's incredibly difficult to quantify what is considered famous and recognizable in court. The multi-million dollar lawsuit will continue to progress with four counts instead of six.

In addition to claims of trademark infringement, the Navajo Nation says that Urban Outfitters had violated the Indian Arts and Crafts Act. The law was enacted in 1990 to protect tribes from being misrepresented. The company also cites unfair competition and the New Mexico Unfair Practices Act in its lawsuit.

Urban Outfitters has responded by relabeling garments and items as "patterned" rather than Navajo. Nonetheless, the tribe is seeking damages in the form of profits from previously Navajo-labeled items—as much as $1,000 per day for every day such items were available for purchase prior to the relabeling.

This isn't the first time Urban Outfitters has made headlines for problematic apparel. From a potentially anti-Semitic shirt to a "vintage" sweater that evokes a school shooting, much of the company's clothes have been decried.

H/T Yahoo

Promoted Stories Powered by Sharethrough
urban outfitters
Did Urban Outfitters sell an artist’s work without permission—again?
James Soares, the designer and artist behind Spires, can only occasionally check the comments people leave about work he has for sale on Society6’s website. He has so many designs to manage he doesn’t have time to check constantly, so when he decided to respond to recent comments on Wednesday he found an unexpected surprise. A user had shared a link in on his tryypyzoyd design on May 8 leading to an Urban Outfitters skirt displaying a strikingly similar look.
From Our VICE Partners
Group

Pure, uncut internet. Straight to your inbox.

Thanks for subscribing to our newsletter!