Navajos sue Urban Outfitters for unauthorized use of trademark

On February 28, the Navajo nation filed suit in federal court in New Mexico against Urban Outfitters to protect their trademark. The Indian Arts and Crafts Act is a little-discussed statute that protects Native American IP by making it illegal to sell arts or crafts in a way that implies the goods were made by Native Americans when, in fact, they were not.

Urban Outfitters reportedly failed to respond to an earlier demand letter, and the lawsuit indicates Navajo willingness to go through the necessary steps to defend their IP, thereby insulating the value of existing profit-sharing licenses of their tribal name to other companies.