urban outfitters

Judge ruling means Urban Outfitters could pay Navajo Nation millions

Philadelphia-based retailer Urban Outfitters could potentially have to pay millions of dollars for using the word “Navajo” in its products.

A federal judge in Arizona ruled last week that the Navajo Nation did not delay the filing of its trademark infringement lawsuit against Urban Outfitters – a tactic the retail giant claimed had occurred since the tribe first took legal action in 2012, or about 11 years after the company began using “Navajo” to describe its products, according to the Albuquerque Journal.

The tribe has not named a specific dollar amount that it seeks in damages, however it could soar into the millions if a court rules in their favor.

On some claims, the tribe wants all the profits generated from the Navajo-themed sales. On others, it wants $1,000 per day per item, or three times the profit generated by marketing and retail of products using the name. Lindsay DeMoss, one of a handful of attorneys listed for Urban Outfitters, declined to comment. The company had said in court documents that granting the tribe a monetary windfall for a situation it created with unexplained silence “would be inequitable and unjust.”

The Navajo Nation has spent nearly four years in a legal battle with Urban Outfitters for alleged trademark infringement, violations of the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, and other allegations.

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Judge rules against Urban Outfitters defense in Navajo case
The ruling Thursday clears the way for the tribe to seek potentially millions of dollars in its 2012 lawsuit over the clothing retailer's use of the "Navajo" name.

Posted Friday, April 1, 2016 10:15 pm

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. — A federal judge says the Navajo Nation did not unreasonably delay a trademark infringement challenge against Urban Outfitters Inc.

The ruling Thursday clears the way for the tribe to seek potentially millions of dollars in its 2012 lawsuit over the clothing retailer’s use of the “Navajo” name.

Urban Outfitters had claimed the tribe knew or should have known the name had been used in commerce for years and delayed filing a lawsuit, prejudicing the company.

U.S. District Judge Bruce Black says there’s no evidence anyone legally associated with the Navajo Nation knew the company used any of the tribe’s trademarks until June 2011.

The ruling applies to Urban Outfitters and one of its subsidiaries, Anthropologie.

Black held off on determining whether it applies to another subsidiary, Free People LLC.