How Harley-Davidson got Urban Outfitters to stop selling rip-off merchandise once and for all

Source: Urban Outfitters
Source: Urban Outfitters

There's no short supply of mega-brands who have faced — or are currently facing — copyright and trademark infringement litigation. Whether it be Puma SE v. Forever 21, Inc. or Aquazzura Italia SRL v. Trump et al, the ownership of design continues to be a hot-button debate, often escalating to lawsuits and in some cases settlements.

The latest case of dueling brands comes from Harley-Davidson and Urban Outfitters. As of Tuesday, according to Women's Wear Daily, Harley-Davidson has agreed to end ongoing litigation against Urban Outfitters, Inc. under one firm condition: UO must cease production and distribution of any clothing bearing H-D's logo.

The lawsuit (the second between the two brands) stems from a "Vintage Revival" line from Free People — an Urban Outfitters, Inc. subsidiary — that featured deconstructed T-shirts with Harley's logo emblazoned on the front.

Free People's "Vintage Revival" line
Source: Urban Outfitters

If you visit the "Vintage Harley Davidson Tee" section of Urban's website, you'll be met with the following message: "We're sorry. This product is no longer available."

The new defunct landing page for Urban Outfitters' Vintage Harley Davidson Tee
Source: Urban Outfitters

As WWD noted, the settlement will prohibit Urban Outfitters from producing and selling any merchandise bearing not only the famous Harley-Davidson logo, but any of Harley-Davidson's nearly two dozen registered trademarks. 

This settlement comes on the heels of another lawsuit facing the clothing corp: In March, Goldenvoice, the company behind the Coachella music festival, filed litigation alleging trademark infringement by another Free People line due to the use of the festival's name on merchandise. Before that, in 2012, Navajo Nation also sued Urban for trademark infringement.

Will Urban Outfitters learn from past mistakes? If history is any indicator: no way, no how.

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Evan Ross Katz

Evan Ross Katz is Mic's style editor. He previously served as managing editor for Logo's NewNowNext. Bylines: The Advocate, Refinery29, Men's Health, Thrillist, Out, Men's Fitness, Instinct, F*cking Young, Schön, Essential Homme, The Manual, and WetPaint.

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