Those rascals over at Urban Outfitters have done it again.
The one-stop-shop for hipsters, hippies, retro-heads and lovers of overpriced t-shirts has gotten themselves into some trouble lately with Coachella, whose parent company Goldenvoice recently filed a lawsuit this week against the clothing chain.
While festivals today range far and wide, few carry the weight and significance that Coachella does. The festival has grown from something you probably didn’t know about to one so large that it’s come to embody a certain style of dress—sun-bleached bucket hats, flower-lightweight dresses, skinny jeans, “witty” graphic t-shirts…basically everything Urban Outfitters sells. And Goldenvoice thinks Urban Outfitters is making money off their style.
The lawsuit in the U.S. Central District Court of California alleges that Urban Outfiters—and its subsidiary, Free People—is infringing on Coachella’s trademark and violating trademark law by selling items blatanly sporting the Coachella name.
The lawsuit goes on to claim that Free people has and is currently selling at least for items that sport the name “Coachella” and cites a web page on Free People’s website that lists a “Coachella Valley Tunic.” If that isn’t enough evidence, the item description is pretty damning, calling the tunic “the quintessential summer musical festival piece to throw on and go with.”
The company also apparently owns a “Bella Coachella” line which third-party outlets such as Amazon, Zappos and Macy’s carry.
The lawsuit accuses UO of using the word “Coachella” in their metatags to produce festival-oriented search results on their products. LA Weekly reports that a search for “Coachella” on the Free People website turns up several festival-related items including a “festival survival kit.” The lawsuit also mentions UO purchasing “keyword advertisements” from Google using the festival’s name to lure Google searches to their website.
Goldenvoice claim that UO has ignored previous demands to discontinue using their name, including a cease-and-desist letter that was sent to UO last year on April 16,2016, though neither party has further commented. The lawsuit demands that the court prevent UO from continuing to use their trademark in its products and to award damages to Coachella and Goldenvoice, including 100% of the profits made off of those products.
While both parties pretty much feed into the mutation of hipster/hippie culture that is typical of most millennials these days, it seems that only department store H&M will hold the licensing rights to sell Coachella related products.
Urban Outfitters will hold a special live program at SXSW this year featuring the Internet and D.R.A.M.