American clothing company Urban Outfitters are being sued by The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival over a whole host of alleged intellectual property infringements. Coachella are the organisers behind the famous multiday music festival of the same name in California which now draws in estimated crowds of over 600,000.
Coachella are seeking an unspecified amount of damages and an order requiring Urban Outfitters to remove any infringing items which they have up for sale. They also seek an order that Urban Outfitters engage in advertising to inform customers that the Coachella festival is not affiliated with Urban Outfitters or any of its subsidiaries.
In their lawsuit, Coachella have made several allegations against Urban Outfitters. These include trade mark infringement and accusations that the clothing company is trading on the goodwill of the music festival when selling various articles of clothing.
The trade mark infringement allegation stems from the fact that Free People, a subsidiary of Urban Outfitters, have been using the term 'Coachella' in relation to the description of their clothing. Coachella have also complained that Urban Outfitters have been using the 'Coachella' term to misdirect internet search users to Free People clothing, rather that Coachella's own branded merchandise.
The overarching argument behind all of Coachella's complaints is that to allow Urban Outfitters to continue to use the 'Coachella' term in such a way would cause confusion amongst the public and would be likely to deceive them. It would also tarnish the brand and reputation which Coachella has built up since its inaugural festival in 1999.
It is unclear how Urban Outfitters will respond since the lawsuit was only launched in response to the clothing company failing to comply with a cease and desist request from Coachella. The defence of Urban Outfitters is likely to point out that as Coachella is both the name of a city and valley in Southern California, use of the name by Free People does not relate to the music festival but rather the geographic location.
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