Harley-Davidson has sued clothing company Urban Outfitters Inc. for allegedly violating Harley trademarks by buying licensed Harley clothing, shredding it, and then re-branding the apparel before re-selling it.
Harley-Davidson claims that Urban Outfitters violated the federal Lanham Act (which regulates trademarks) and Wisconsin law.
The shredding clothing is part of the Urban Outfitters “Urban Renewal” line. Urban Outfitters allegedly ripped sleeves and necklines off of Harley-Davidson tops to create a tank-top-style garment. Urban Outfitters also allegedly tore the bottoms of Harley shirts into strips to create streamers.
The complaint alleges that Urban Outfitters “cut through and mutilated” the Harley logo and replaced the Harley-Davidson tags and labels with its own.
The Urban Outfitters tags labeled the clothes as “vintage, recycled [and] remade.”
According to the complaint,
Urban Outfitters has used the Harley-Davidson marks in a variety of unauthorized ways that falsely suggest and are likely to create the mistaken impression that [the] reconstructed and materially altered products are authorized, approved and/or licensed by Harley-Davidson, when they are not.
Harley-Davidson claims that the retailer’s actions will likely dilute and tarnish the Harley trademarks, and that its actions constitute unfair competition and false advertising. The value of the Harley-Davidson brand has been estimated at $4.2 billion.
Harley-Davidson is seeking an injunction against further sales of their products by the retail chain.
Urban Outfitters was previously sued by the Navajo Nation for its use of the “Navajo” trademark on clothing, jewelry, and bags. The tribe was particularly concerned about its name being used for an underwear line and a liquor flask. The tribe bans “the sale and consumption of alcohol within its borders and the Navajo Nation does not use its mark in conjunction with alcohol,” according to its attorneys.
If you have questions about the sale and re-sale of products bearing third-party trademarks, contact our office to arrange a free consultation with one of our trademark attorneys.
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