Urban Outfitters is coming to town. It already has about 200 other stores across the nation, and now it will call Malibu home.
What would the Navajo Nation say about our new neighbor?
According to NPR, “The Navajo Nation is accusing the retailer of trademark infringement. Members say Urban Outfitters sold goods that used the Navajo name and symbols without permission. [S]ome Native Americans find certain uses of the Navajo name offensive.” Sasha Houston Brown, a member of the Santee Sioux Nation, wrote a letter which claims there’s nothing honorable or historically appreciative in selling items such as the Navajo Print Fabric-Wrapped Flask, Peace Treaty Feather Necklace, Staring at Stars Skull Native Headdress, or the Navajo Hipster Panties.” (NPR story can be found here: http://www.npr.org/2012/04/05/150062611/navajo-nation-sues-urban-outfitters-over-trademark)
The New Mexico U.S. District Judge C. LeRoy Hansen on March 26 held that the Navajo Nation alleged adequate facts under the Lanham Act to show that Urban Outfitters has been using the term ‘Navajo” in a trademark sense, and that the retailer didn’t accompany the term with other distinguishing marks so that a buyer wouldn’t be deceived into thinking they were a purchasing a Navajo Nation product.
“The factual allegations are … sufficient to show that the mark is likely to create confusion in the marketplace,” according to Judge LeRoy. (http://www.law360.com/articles/429688/urban-outfitters-loses-bid-to-toss-navajo-trademark-suit)
For many years people have tried to convince Councilmembers to start a local “City of Malibu” branding campaign which could raise funds to benefit various needs of the City from non-profits to safety on PCH. It seems like everyone from car makers to liquor producers to t-shirt designers have cashed in on the Malibu to benefit their bottom line, maybe the City of Malibu could sell merchandise that would reflect the Malibu “Way of Life” to benefit and serve all people who live and visit Malibu.
Recently, the City Council spent $90,000 to hire a New York firm called Excel to “develop an official logo, and also to pay expenses when he [Excel's vice president of licensing, Rob Stone Robert Stone] approaches manufacturers at events like the apparel show in Las Vegas.”
Stone also stated “The first collection we are going to be doing is sort of a lifestyle fashion line,” he said. “Envision Hollister meets Abercrombie meets the Gap, and then mix all those together and sell them at Urban Outfitters.” (http://www.cnbc.com/id/100519582)
What is wrong with the logo designed by local Ray Singer when the City became official in 1991? Even if the logo is “old school”, why couldn’t the City of Malibu give local artists the opportunity to design the logo just like the City did for the Malibu song? What is wrong with selling Malibu merchandise at Pinnacle, Sunlife or other local stores in Malibu which give back to the Malibu community?
I wonder how the Navajo Nation would feel if they learned the City of Malibu was going to sell our new New York designed logo brand at Urban Outfitters?
How do you feel about this Malibu?