Coachella Organizers Suing Urban Outfitters for Trademark Infringement
Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and promoters Goldenvoice are suing Urban Outfitters for trademark infringement and unfair competition, among other claims. In a complaint filed Tuesday in the U.S. Central District Court of California, the companies assert that the retail chain improperly used variations of the long-running fest’s name and trademark branding design for clothes sold by Urban Outfitters’ Free People line.
The suit, obtained by Rolling Stone, claims the Free People website, a subsidiary of the company, offered “at least four products” incorporating what the plaintiffs labeled the “Coachella Marks” into product names. “Defendants are using the Coachella Marks to offer goods that are directly competitive with those offered by Coachella, its licensees and/or its sponsors,” the complaint reads, describing the Urban Outfitters look as being drawn from “bohemian, hipster, ironically humorous, kitschy, retro and vintage styles.”
One highlighted product is the “Coachella Valley Tunic,” which included “summer music festival” in its product description. (LA Weekly reports that the link was live as of Wednesday evening, but the product has since been removed.) The suit also specifies infringement from the Bella Coachella apparel line, sold through both online and physical retailers.
Further, the suit accuses Urban Outfitters of “trading on the goodwill and fame” of the Coachella brand by using the festival name as a keyword in online advertising and for website meta-data and using a font “evocative” of the Coachella logo.
A rep for Urban Outfitters declined to comment, as the litigation is pending. A rep for Goldenvoice did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The complaint argues that Urban Outfitters’ use of the Coachella name is “likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive consumers that Defendants are sponsors or licensees authorized by Plaintiffs to use the Coachella Marks, or that the apparel they sell originates from, or is affiliated, connected or associated with Plaintiffs.”
In total, the suit cites “trademark infringement; false designation of origin and unfair competition; dilution; common law tortious interference of contractual relationships; violation of California trademark law and violation of California unfair competition and law.”
Coachella is seeking damages for “trademark infringement and unfair competition,” punitive damages and attorney fees. The company is also demanding that Urban Outfitters discontinue using the trademark, remove and recall the offending items, issue corrective advertising and “inform consumers that Defendants are not authorized sponsors … or authorized licensees” of the “Coachella Marks.”
The plaintiffs claim they sent the defendants multiple demands to discontinue the infringement, including a cease-and-desist letter sent on April 14th, 2016.
Meanwhile, Coachella 2017 is set to take place April 14th through 16th and 21st through 23rd. Radiohead, Kendrick Lamar and Lady Gaga will headline the festival, with the Joanne singer replacing the pregnant Beyoncé.