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Navajo Nation settles dispute over sale of unauthorized 'Navajo' products

Filed Under: Business | Law | National
More on: fashion, iaca, navajo, trademarks, urban outfitters
     
   

This "Navajo" flask was among hundreds of "Navajo" labeled items sold by Urban Outfitters. Image from The Fashion Law

The Navajo Nation has reached a settlement with a major fashion retailer that sold "Navajo" products without the tribe's authorization.

The terms of the settlement are confidential. But President Russell Begaye said Urban Outfitters Inc., a publicly-traded company (URBN), has agreed to recognize the validity of the tribe's trademarks.

"We expect that any company considering the use of the Navajo name, or our designs or motifs, will ask us for our permission," Begaye said in a press release on Thursday.

At one point the tribe filed documents that exposed the company to million of dollars in damages for selling "Navajo" items on the internet and at stores like Urban Outfitters and Anthropologie. The products were marketed and sold as far back as 2008 but they were not produced by the tribe or its members.

As part of the settlement, the tribe will enter into a license and supply agreement with the company. And the two parties will work together to develop an "authentic" line of jewelry.

"As a company URBN has long been inspired by the style of Navajo and other American Indian artists and looks forward to the opportunity to work with them on future collaborations,” said Azeez Hayne, the firm's general counsel.

The tribe sued URBN in February 2012 after attempts to resolve the dispute were unsuccessful. The lawsuit alleged trademarks infringements and violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, a federal law that requires goods that are marketed as Indian to be produced by a tribe or an Indian artisan.

The lawsuit was dismissed with prejudice on Monday, meaning the tribe can't return to court to pursue those same claims. A filing on Wednesday indicates that disputes over five trademarks have been resolved by the settlement.

Related Stories:
Navajo Nation wins another decision in trademark fashion dispute (06/03)
Gabe Galanda: Companies still abusing Indian Arts and Crafts Act (05/12)
Navajo Nation can seek damages for sales of unauthorized goods (04/04)
Navajo Nation seeking millions of dollars for unauthorized products (02/02)
Law Article: Navajo Nation wages battle over 'Navajo' products (05/22)
Navajo Nation case against Urban Outfitters goes to higher court (3/12)
Navajo Nation fails to reach settlement with Urban Outfitters (08/05)
Navajo Nation looking to resolve case over 'Navajo' products (05/31)
Navajo Nation battles in court over sale of 'Navajo' products (04/02)
Judge won't dismiss Navajo Nation case over 'Navajo' items (3/28)
Judge won't move Navajo Nation case over 'Navajo' products (01/25)
NPR: Navajo Nation sues Urban Outfitters over trademarks (04/06)
Law Article: Navajo Nation fights for its intellectual property (04/02)
Cetan Wanbli Williams: Navajos going after Urban Outfitters (03/30)
Notebook: Navajo Nation files suit to protect its trademarks (03/15)
Chelsea Vowel: Navajo Nation seeks to enforce its trademarks (03/06)
Navajo Nation sues Urban Outfitters over 'Navajo' products (02/29)
Blog: Urban Outfitters faces big problems after 'Navajo' flap (01/13)
Blog: 'Native' trend in fashion ticks off real Native Americans (12/07)
Native Sun News: Navajo Nation stands up for its trademarks (11/17)
Blog: Forever 21 also offering string of 'Navajo' products (11/04)
Blog: Forever 21 sells necklace with 'Native American' girl (11/01)
Fronteras: Who should benefit from Native inspired items (10/26)
Editorial: Navajo goods should be made by Navajo artists (10/24)
Colorlines: Corporations pimping other cultures for profits (10/21)
Navajo Nation hails action by Urban Outfitters on products (10/20)
ICT: Urban Outfitters erases 'Navajo' name from products (10/19)
Sasha Houston Brown: Corporations rip off tribal property (10/18)
Navajo Nation sent trademark letter to Urban Outfitters in June (10/17)
Opinion: Urban Outfitters is obsessed with 'Navajo' fashions (10/11)
Living: Asking Navajos about the neo-Navajo trend in fashion (9/26)

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