By Zandra Baskin
On Tuesday, March 14th, the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival filed a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters, Inc. The lawsuit was filed for using the festival’s name in order to sell apparel.
The Urban Outfitters-affiliated brand Free People has been selling bohemian-inspired clothing with the names of “ Coachella Mini Dress”, “Coachella Boot,” and a “Coachella Valley Tunic.” Not only do they use the Coachella trademark, but the clothes that they sell are also closely affiliated with the Coachella brand itself. Free people has also used Coachella as a search keyword to advertise its products online, as well as placing the brand name in Free People’s display without their permission. Coachella’s brand states that it was forced to act and protect their public name.
Coachella found itself with a problem, for they also have their own clothing brand in collaboration with H&M stores and Pandora Jewelry. These competitive brands were seen selling similar clothing and accessories. And Coachella states that some patterns and designs were stolen directly from their brand.
Coachella feels that Urban Outfitters is trying to misdirect their customers, and they feel threatened by the fact that their name can lead to unnecessary competition with their partnership with other companies. Additionally, Coachella claims that they have previously asked Urban Outfitters numerous times to take down any products that include their name, and Urban Outfitters has just ignored them. Urban Outfitters has stated back that the word “Coachella” is only found in items that have the word “festival” in them but never directly mention the music event by name.
Coachella is asking the courts for unspecified damages in addition to an order that requires Urban Outfitters to take down any items which include their brand name. Also for Urban Outfitters to come out with an advertisement stating that they are not affiliated in any way with the brand.