Navajo Nation Suing Urban Outfitters

Feb 29, 2012

The Navajo Nation is demanding Urban Outfitters pull the "Navajo" name from its products. The lawsuit was filed late Tuesday in Federal court. 

The suit accuses the clothing chain of violating the federal Indian Arts and Crafts Act. That law makes it illegal to sell merchandise that falsely suggests it’s made by American Indians when it’s not.

Last year the tribe sent Urban Outfitters a cease and desist letter over its line of Navajo branded clothing. The letter said items such as underwear and a liquor flask were derogatory and scandalous.  The company removed the products from its website after receiving the tribe’s notice.

The lawsuit says products with the "Navajo" name are still being sold through other company brands in catalogs and retail stores.

In an email last October the company said it had no plans to alter its products.

The tribe licenses its name to other businesses in exchange for a share of their profits. It has identified about two dozen companies it believes are violating the Navajo trademark. 

The Navajo tribe is the largest in the United States stretching across parts of northern Arizona, New Mexico and southern Utah.