Coachella promoter Goldenvoice is suing live entertainment giant Live Nation in the US, for the alleged ‘contributory trademark infringement’ of the Coachella name.
According to a lawsuit, filed in California on Monday (December 13), Goldenvoice is taking legal action over an event called Coachella Day One 22, which is being organized by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, operating as Coachella Crossroads LLC.
The event, as the lawsuit points out, is being advertised by Live Nation-owned ticketing company Ticketmaster.
Live Nation and Bluehost Inc., the service provider for the coachellacrossroads.com website, are named as two of the defendants.
Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, and Coachella Crossroads LLC, have not been named as defendants, because, according to the lawsuit, “both have asserted through their counsel that they are entitled to sovereign immunity, and not subject to suit”.
The lawsuit notes however, that they may be added at a later date and that “although Twenty-Nine Palms may have sovereign immunity, others contributing to the infringement do not have the same privilege and are subject to claims for contributory infringement as well as the Court’s jurisdiction”.
In the lawsuit, Goldenvoice claims that the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians’ company Coachella Crossroads is “intentionally trading on the goodwill of plaintiffs’ well-known Coachella festival” and that they are “attempting to operate a directly competitive live music event” using the Coachella name.
Goldenvoice adds that it has “no objection to Twenty-Nine Palms holding a festival of their own or hosting events at their venue, but it must adopt and use an event name and mark, as well as a venue name and mark, that avoid a likelihood of consumer confusion and false association” with the original Coachella festival.
The promoter adds that “Twenty-Nine Palms has refused” to change its name in spite of “repeated requests” to do so.
In addition to using a similar name, Goldenvoice claims that Twenty-Nine Palms has also copied its “advertising, promotional and marketing materials, including incorporating similar color schemes along with design elements”.
Those design elements include a Ferris wheel, and silhouettes of palm trees and mountains around the Coachella Valley that Coachella regularly uses on its posters.
The filing, which you can read in full here, explains that the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that Goldenvoice promotes, “is one of the most critically acclaimed music festivals in the world”.
“Twenty-Nine Palms has gone to great lengths to imitate Plaintiffs and Coachella, as well as the Coachella Marks associated with Plaintiffs’ festival.”
Adds the filing: “Twenty-Nine Palms has gone to great lengths to imitate Plaintiffs and Coachella, as well as the Coachella Marks associated with Plaintiffs’ festival.
“To begin with, Coachella is well-known for its prominent music artists, and consumers who enjoy live music attend Coachella. Twenty-Nine Palms is offering a directly competitive live music event and directly competes with Plaintiffs’ fan base.
“Moreover, just as COACHELLA separates its festival into Coachella 10 Weekend One and Coachella weekend Two, and similarly refers to individual days as Day One, Day Two, and Day Three, Twenty-Nine Palms refers to its event 12 as Coachella Day One.”
Goldenvoice is requesting relief in the form of “damages for trademark infringement and unfair competition”.
It also requests to be awarded “all profits resulting from Defendants’ contributory infringement of Plaintiffs’ rights and by means of Defendants’ unfair competition with Plaintiffs”.Music Business Worldwide