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.
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