Fake Coachella Merchandise Banned at the Festival
It’s that time of year again. As a law student, the month before exams begin is a time filled with reading casebooks, outlining, and heading to your professor’s office hours for the first time this semester. Spring exams have been particularly torturous for me because as I’m cracking my books to begin prepping for finals, my friends out West are prepping for a magnificent musical merriment known as Coachella.
Coachella is an annual weekend music festival featuring artists from a variety of musical genres. The festival takes place in Indio, California and notable performers include Jay-Z, Radiohead, Kanye West, and the Black Keys, along with newer artists such as Dawes and AWOLNATION.
This year’s Coachella is bigger and better than ever. With record breaking attendance and arrests up from previous years, the good people who bring us Coachella have their hands full.
Fellow blogger, Brandon Marsh, recently reported on Tupac Shakur’s hologram performance, which stunned Coachella goers earlier this month. The performance implicated a host of intellectual property laws, including copyright and the right of publicity. But the legal woes are not over for Coachella just yet. It’s time to act on some trademark concerns.
Attorneys on behalf of the Coachella Music Festival LLC (“CMF”) are worried about unauthorized sale of merchandise that features Coachella’s logos. The merchandise is being sold near the festival sites and has garnered a lot of attention. The counterfeit goods include hats, T-shirts, and jerseys that all bear the name of Coachella with some goods containing the names of this year’s headliners like Dr. Dre and Snoop Dog. CMF claims that the merchandise “is likely to injure the reputation of the festival and its artists.”
Federal trademark law states that the standard for trademark infringement “is likely to cause confusion, or to cause mistake, or to deceive as to the affiliation, connection, or association of such person with another person.” 15 USC §1125. It seems that this is a clear-cut case of trademark infringement. The accused vendors are selling merchandise close to the festival’s venue. Many purchasers of the merchandise are likely to be confused whether or not the goods are in fact Coachella approved or not.
On April 20th, CMF attorneys asked U.S. District Judge Audrey B. Collins to grant a preliminary injunction on the sale of the unauthorized merchandise. CMF requested the injunction along with a seizure order for the counterfeit merchandise. The seizure order would permit state and local police authorities to seize and impound any counterfeit merchandise.
On Friday, April 21st Judge Collins granted the preliminary injunction and seizure order and directed police to “seize and impound any and all unauthorized merchandise bearing any or all of the festival’s and/or the artists’ trademarks.”