Urban Outfitters isn’t alone in its Navajo branding.
Fermin Navar and his business partner, Phil Brader, signed a 75-year licensing agreement with the Navajo Nation in 2007 that allows them to sell skin care products and clothing under the Navajo name in exchange for a share of the profits. Mr. Navar said they have come up with a list of nearly two dozen companies they think are violating the trademark.
The name appealed to Mr. Navar because the tribe is well-known for its huge reservation that spans 27,000 square miles in Arizona, Mexico and Utah, its membership that ranks among the top two for American Indian tribes, and its cultural beliefs that tie beauty to harmony. Navajos also are known more broadly for using their language to develop a code that confounded the Japanese and helped win World War II.
“The design doesn’t matter; it’s the use of the name Navajo,” said Mr. Navar of Austin, Texas. “They can say it looks like this, but if it has the name Navajo - it’s being branded and sold as Navajo - it’s a violation.”