A nearly five-year legal battle has finally come to a close as Urban Outfitters reaches an agreement with the Navajo Nation.
Back in February of 2012, the Nation initiated a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters for its repeated use of the term “Navajo” to describe generic, Native American-styled prints featured on merchandise like flasks, socks, underwear and t-shirts.
Since then, the group has been ensnared in an ongoing legal battle with the hipster retailer. In 2015, a New Mexico judge ruled that the case could go forward based on the Indian Arts and Crafts Act, which prohibits the sale of items that appear to be made by a particular tribe, but aren’t. Urban Outfitters countered by claiming that the name Navajo is a “generic term” like “lite beer.” The fashion giant’s legal team also argued that use of names like Navajo serve “as indicators of a fashion style or trend.”
While the overall outlook for the case seemed to favor the Navajo Nation, back in May of this year, it was reported that the group had lost two counts against Urban Outfitters, on the grounds of not being “famous enough.” At that point, 6 counts in the lawsuit were still pending.
According the Farmington Daily Times, the two groups have finally settled — on undisclosed terms.
The Navajo Nation was seeking revenue from products that were sold by Urban Outfitters going back to 2008, meaning that millions of dollars were at stake. The lawsuit was filed after a group brought the items to the Nation’s attention in 2011.
As the Daily Times reports, the case was dismissed with “extreme prejudice,” meaning whatever the terms of the settlement, it’s permanent and binding.
“We are a proud nation with talented artisans, scientists, lawyers and professionals who together represent the Navajo Nation,” said Russell Begaye, President of the Navajo Nation. “We believe in protecting our Nation, our artisans, designs, prayers and way of life. We applaud URBN for acknowledging the validity of the Navajo Nation trademark and are glad we have settled this matter.”
The Navajo Nation also plans to collaborate with Urban Outfitters on a jewelry collection sometime in the near future. The new partnership is unrelated to the terms of the lawsuit.