Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters, Inc.

935 F. Supp. 2d 1147 (2013)

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Navajo Nation v. Urban Outfitters, Inc.

United States District Court for the District of New Mexico
935 F. Supp. 2d 1147 (2013)

Facts

Navajo Nation (defendant) was an Indian tribe that used the name Navajo since at least 1849. Navajo Nation used the NAVAJO trademark in commerce on numerous products for many years. Navajo Nation owns the rights to 86 trademarks using the NAVAJO trademark. Navajo Nation invested money and time in promoting and protecting its NAVAJO trademark, and it has sold over $500 million in NAVAJO-branded goods. Urban Outfitters (Urban) (defendant) was a retailer that sold clothing and accessories. Urban had a product line of dozens of products bearing the name Navajo. The product line resembled Navajo Nation’s tribal patterns and geometric prints. Navajo Nation sent Urban a cease-and-desist letter to which Urban responded by replacing the term Navajo with “Printed” for item descriptions on its website. However, the products sold in stores continued to bear the word Navajo. Navajo Nation brought an action against Urban for trademark infringement, trademark dilution by tarnishment, and a violation of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, among other claims. Urban filed a motion to dismiss in the district court.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Hansen, J.)

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