Skip to comments.Navajo Nation sues Urban Outfitters
Posted on 02/29/2012 11:13:43 AM PST by Kartographer
The American Indian tribe Navajo Nation has sued Urban Outfitters months after the tribe sent a cease and desist letter to the clothing retailer demanding it pull the "Navajo" name from its products.
The lawsuit filed late Tuesday in U.S. District Court in New Mexico alleges trademark violations 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 when they're not.
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Can I sue the White House, White Castle the makers of white lightning for using the term “White”? I’m white.
A reminder that Politically Correct Idiocy is alive and well.
Urban outfitters should reply: “How! Me thinkum you have brain of bushy tailed tree rat! Me thinkum peace pipe burial kemosabe, but much wampum and squaw needed!”
You can bet the US Government will back the Navajo nation to the hilt... right up until the moment that they allow some NCAA member university to use their name for a sports program. Then the government switches sides.
Can I sue the White House, White Castle the makers of white lightning for using the term White? Im white.
Yes is you have copyrighted white.
Urban Outfitters has agreed to change the name to:
“Perpetually Offended Native Americans”
Trademarks are suppose to mean something. Usually name usage control, consent or not, and a share of the profits.
Sarah Palin would side with the Navaho Nation, for example, and in a hurry.
A few years ago I was in Sallisaw, Oklahoma and I stopped at a place called “The Indian Store”. They had a lot of neat indian merchandise. I spotted a 6 inch tall ceramic indian chief in full headress and I knew I just had to buy it for my son since he was into stuff like that. The store was really neat with a lot of leather goods and figurines galore. When I went to purchase the Indian Chief I ask the beautiful young Cherokee girl behind the counter if they really made that item and she assured me they did. I left the store with my $25.00 indian and I was very happy because I knew my son would be thrilled with it. After arriving back home I noticed that the chief had a sticker on the bottom that said “ made in China”. I should have looked closer when I bought it but if you can’t trust a pretty indian maiden who can you trust. Indians are hypocrites and half the junk they sell is made in China.
The great Navajo warriors and chiefs of 150 -200 years back would be really proud of these whiners.
I'm part Indian...and I'm pretty fair in my thoughts and beliefs.
So are my kids....and many of my relatives.
I’ll pay attention to their claims when they file their lawsuit in the native Navaho alphabet.
Oh. That’s right. There isn’t one. That’s why they are using OURS.
Guess I won’t be painting my walls in Navajo White.
I believe “Navajo” was in common use long before anyone applied for a copyright. The law-maggots might not care and the Pharisees they work with will rule “no” but common use is fair use in any reasonable mind.
For those who know just a little about American Indian crafts in general and the Navajo expertise in weaving in particular, Urban Outfitters is profiting off a quality brand without authorization or even an attempt to link to authenticity by the Navajo Tribe.
Product field means everything as far as legality goes. If Urban Outfitters were peddling a brand of maple syrup and syrup candies under the name Navajo, there would be no problem because the Navajo are not known for their confection making and maple syrup growing skills.
However, since a major part of Urban Outfitters core business is clothing and apparel, a product for which the Navajo craftsmanship and quality are known, you indeed have a case here.
Urban Outfitters could have avoided the whole problem by licensing some designs from Navajo craftsmen or even the tribe. I don't see a way they can win this even if they prevail in court.
FWIW, the Navajo Tribe are not a bunch of knee-jerk liberals like many other Native American tribes. It would be nice if some Freepers did a little actual research before they went off throwing slime and racist stereotypes.
Nice to see that racism is alive and well on FR. My father was 1/4 Native American, my son’s girlfriend is 1/2 Chippewa and my best friend is 1/2 Chippewa as well. None of them are hypocrites.
You are a hypocrite if you own a Indian store and pass off merchandise as authentic. My grandmother was 100% Creek and I too try to be honest in all my dealings so I didn’t mean to insult all Indians...just store owners.lol
All those things were around before you and you didn't invent the color white.
The Navajo invented the name Navajo and they have a right to protect the value of their brand, particularly as they have a law backing them up. I think they have a good case.
First of all it is a TRADEMARK and not a copyright. Trademarks do not expire. Copyrights do. The Navajo Nation has a legitimate recognized trademark for their hand crafted items that they want to protect and this law only applies to arts and crafts and not to generic items.
For instance, if you wanted to use the term Navajo for a brand of motorcycle, then the trademark restriction would not apply.
I side with the Navajo's on this one.
Can you prove or demonstrate that the Navajos coined the term “Navajo”? After all, the Irish didn’t call themselves “Irish”, the Germans don’t call themselves “German” and the Scots were name that by the Romans.
Thanks for that information. It probably explains it.
The word "Navajo" comes from a Pueblo language word for "fields beside a ravine," and was adopted by the Spanish to refer to the people who called themselves the Diné. "Navajo" isn't even from the same language group, since they speak an Athabascan dialect and the Pueblo language is from the Kiowa-Tanoan group.
Here's your words that I replied to, "Indians are hypocrites and half the junk they sell is made in China."
Put that in your China pipe and smoke it!
Especially if Urban Outfitters is intentionally or unintentionally giving the impression they are dealing in authentic Navajo arts, crafts they are seriously at fault.
In addition to a Trademark violation it is also deceit.
What about Potawatomi green?
“I ask the beautiful young Cherokee girl behind the counter if they really made that item”
How do you think she got the job? Her looks gave her unimpeachable credibility.
BTW as noted, the design of the statuette may indeed have been authentic if not the place of manufacture.
And how, General Custer... did that work out for ya?
If red X above go to http://www.rmichelson.com/Artist_Pages/MGnatek/Custer.jpg
While there are tribal industries on the larger reservations it was pretty unlikely that there was a ceramic operation mass-producing figurines. I’d cut the clerk a break. They may have been hand-painted only.
That's a good analysis. I find amazing how many folks here seem to plain not like American Indians but will bend over backwards to defend other peoples/religions/special interests.
My family is Navajo, they fought and died on this land and fought and died on lands far from home for our country. Many Navajo can claim the same and much more - why should they not enjoy the same rights and protections that others enjoy?
So you’re predicting bad news for my new business, the Coca-cola Cola Company?
The true name of the Navajo is Dine' it means "the people". Many Indian names are not what those people actually call or called themselves but have grown to accept the new monikers over time - especially if it was written in Treaties with the US Government.
Oh. Thats right. There isnt one. Thats why they are using OURS.
Years ago, the Federal Government tried to get members of the Navajo community to have their own manufacturing facility of HORSE TRAILERS.
I don’t know exactly how long this facility was in production, but I do actually own a 1974 NAVAJO 2 horse straight load bumper pull trailer.
Some of the workmanship is a bit rough, but it was built like a tank.
The story I got was that after a couple of paychecks, they could NOT get the Navajo workers to continue coming to work, building this product.
I don’t know how true that comment is.
I still have the trailer, altho after it has sat for 4 + years, I probably have to buy new tires to take it any distance. For sure, the bearings will have to be checked & possibly repacked.
I was doing some contract work for a findings company west of Albuquerque, NM. They made silver jewelry settings for their local jewelry makers. Pretty substantial operation and most of the workers were Navajo. Pretty nice operation. Factory supported a major store front sales operation as well as a catalog distribution effort.
There is no demographic group in the country which has a higher proportion of their members serving in the U.S. Armed Forces throughout the ages than ours. Not even white guys in trailer courts in the south, who probably come in second.
I hear you.
Fact is, I think it’s stupid for Urban Outfitters to appropriate the Navaho tribal name for their fashion crap as well.
But if the Navaho tribal leaders have the name trademarked, then they don’t have a problem. If they don’t have it trademarked, then they are trading on the usual special-sensitivities claim that exempts them from the rules the rest of us play by.
My daddy’s family is Danish. I don’t get a kickback from the sweetrolls the local bakers sell in the morning, nor from the furniture stores for the “contemporary” tables and chairs they sell.
Likewise there is a college up the road that plays under the nickname “Vandals,” and none of my German ancestors on my mother’s side raise a fuss about that, even though the North Dakota Fighting Sioux sports team (the other way down the road) catch all manner of national grief because that fine and noble honorarium is considered horribly racist.
A grown-up gets tired of that kind of whining.
FRegards to you, Marine
Just like the Singaporeans build superb hard drives but probably not great gas turbines.
If Phil doesnt mind....
It’s pretty clear the Navajo Nation has a trademark with teeth. It covers the name “Navajo”, and in this case even the item—clothing.
Case closed, in favor of Navajo Nation marketing acumen and smart business practices that everyone with a brain uses when it pays off and turns a profit.
YOU are also very cool to stay so cool when among the very un-cool, who are here whining against common sense, and against common, smart marketing protections.
Wonder what that could be all about actually, among so-called capitalists. I think it means they believe Indians vote Democrat.
It better be. Otherwise, it’s quite an embarrassment.
Here’s to Chief Pawhuska. :)
Funny how that is....
The Potawatomi...never called themselves Potawatomi...our name was Bodéwadmi.....or Neshnabek..depending on who we were talking to.
I live within the Osage Nation...but I'm not Osage.
I'm cool with my fellow conservatives to be biased...just as I'm good with my blood brothers and sisters..to be biased.
I argue with them...and point things out to them when I can...