Going to court about underpants that are supposedly made by Indians, or not. IP is cool, no?
The Indian Navajo tribe in the United States sues American clothing company Urban Outfitters, because it is using the Navajo name on a line of underwear.
According to the Navajo tribe, the company violates the tribe’s trademark. The so-called Indian Arts and Crafts Act states that it is illegal to sell art or clothing, suggesting that it is made by Indians.
The tribe, surprisingly, owns a dozen of registered trademarks, including the trademark NAVAJO for apparel, textile and household products. A tribal chief – the indian equivalent of an IP attorney – had earlier sent a letter to the company, but got no response. Through a lawsuitthe Navajo tribe hopes to keep the Navajo from being used by Urban Outfitters.
The Navajo are a commercial tribe though; they have different deals with other companies. In exchange for a share of the profits these companies may use the name of the tribe.