Coachella settles trademark dispute with Urban Outfitters

The organisers of music festival Coachella have settled a trademark dispute with Urban Outfitters. Coachella accused Urban Outfitters and its subsidiary Free People of selling ‘Coachella’-branded apparel in March this year.

Coachella owns a number of ‘Coachella’ trademarks which have been used in connection with the festival and related goods and services since the first event in 1999.

In a claim filed at the US District Court for the Central District of California, Western Division, Coachella also claimed that Urban Outfitters had used the trademarks in webpage titles, meta description tags, meta keyword tags and URLs for pages containing the “directly competitive goods”.

The festival organisers said that the defendants were attempting to trade off the marks’ goodwill through selling goods such as the Coachella Valley Tunic.

Urban Outfitters then filed a motion for dismissal in June, claiming that it does “not belong” in the case as Urban Outfitters and Free People are “recognised as distinct legal entities”.

In its complaint, Coachella stated that Urban Outfitters wholly owns and controls its Free People subsidiary and “mandates an overall business and budget strategy” for it. On September 22, the parties filed a notice of settlement with the court, stating that they were working to finalise the agreement.

On September 29, District Judge John Kronstadt dismissed the case without prejudice. Coachella has also clashed with a Californian resident running a film festival called ‘Filmchella’, stating that although it “appreciates the enthusiasm” shown by the defendant, it wants the film festival to use a “distinctive name of their own”.

The capacity of Coachella, which is held every April in California, was extended from 99,000 to 125,000 for this year’s event.  Urban Outfitters itself is no stranger to IP clashes. In August, Kim Kardashian West and the company found themselves at the centre of a dispute over selfies cases—smartphone cases that provide bright lighting.

And in January, motorcycle manufacturer Harley-Davidson sued the company over bodysuits which allegedly had been “altered and reconstructed” from genuine Harley-Davidson products.


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