World's Least Cool Feud: Coachella Sues Urban Outfitters to Protect Its Brand

The annual music festival known for its controversial headwear alleges the clothing company is tarnishing its "unquestionable fame."

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Mar 19 2017, 2:20pm

This week in celebrity feuds, Coachella is suing the retailer Urban Outfitters and its subsidiary, Free People, for using the festival's trademarked name to sell their hippie-inflected clothing lines. In a complaint filed in a US District Court, Coachella alleges that the retailers are "trading on the goodwill and fame" of the festival.

After noting extensively how great their music show in the desert is—"An Internet search using the Google search engine for the term 'Coachella music festival' provided over 1 million hits," the lawsuit boasts—Coachella's lawsuit takes issue with Urban Outfitter's marketing tactics. Free People, according to the complaint, sells a lacy shirt called "Coachella Valley Tunic," among other items using the Coachella name.

Read more: How Fashion Brands Like Zara Can Get Away with Stealing Artists' Designs

"Coachella is about more than just music," the lawsuit goes on to allege. In the past few years, the festival has also started licensing its name to clothing and jewelry retailers like H&M and Pandora. Urban Outfitter's marketing, the complaint says, is likely to cause "dilution by blurring or dilution by tarnishment" of the Coachella brand. This would be a shame, since "the Coachella Marks have for many years enjoyed unquestionable fame as a result of the favorable general public acceptance and recognition," the lawsuit states.

Screenshot via court documents. Petty markup is the suit's own.

Other than the risk to the quality of their brand, Coachella doesn't like that Urban Outfitters and Free People are trying to sell to the same people they're trying to sell to. "Defendants' apparel is directly targeting the same consumers who purchase Plaintiffs' goods and/or its licensees and sponsors' goods," the suit states. It also accuses the company of wrongly using the word "Coachella" in its website metatags to filter search results for festival wear.

Read more on Broadly.

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