Months after pursuing legal action against DJ Envy and his Carchella happening, Coachella and Goldenvoice are officially suing Live Nation for “contributory trademark and service mark infringement,” over the promoter’s alleged failure to cease selling passes to events at a venue called Coachella Crossroads, including a “Coachella Day One 22” festival.
Coachella and Goldenvoice just recently submitted the 29-page-long action to a California federal court, naming as defendants Live Nation and Bluehost, which operates as Unified Layer and is “the service provider” for the Coachella Crossroads website.
The multifaceted complaint relays at the outset that the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians – a non-party to the suit – “is attempting to operate a directly competitive live music event,” in the form of the aforementioned Coachella Day One 22 and the Coachella Crossroads venue.
Twenty-Nine Palms’ Coachella Crossroads is located in Coachella, California – “approximately 5 miles” from where the namesake music festival is held, according to the plaintiffs. Bearing in mind the establishment’s proximity to the Empire Polo Club – as well as Coachella’s plans to remain at the venue for years to come – April of 2018 saw Twenty-Nine Palms move to trademark Coachella Crossroads, the document shows.
The USPTO then issued an office action, “citing a likelihood of confusion” between the Coachella Crossroads trademarks and those of Coachella proper.
A scaled-back application was followed by “informal discussions” between Goldenvoice/Coachella and Twenty-Nine Palms attorneys, at which point the latter individuals “indicated that the venue would only be used for local community events, such as youth soccer and other small sporting events, and that any music or live entertainment would be incidental to those events,” the lawsuit discloses.
This purported statement prompted the plaintiffs to forgo opposing the trademark application, though 2021 has allegedly seen Coachella Crossroads begin “advertising and promoting live music events,” starting with a performance from Toby Keith.
Now, the venue’s website “contains absolutely no information or content about sports facilities for sporting events, or sports and athletic competitions,” the plaintiffs maintain, but does include adverts for the previously noted Coachella Day One 22 happening.
Scheduled to kick off at 8 PM on December 31st, the event is set to feature DJ Diesel (Shaquille O’Neal, that is), Getter, and E-40.
And in promoting the New Year’s outing, which has allegedly caused “actual confusion,” Twenty-Nine Palms purportedly traded “on the goodwill of” Coachella’s trademarks (including by booking similar entertainment as Coachella itself) and allegedly copied the festival’s “distinctive advertising and marketing materials.”
Regarding the suit’s timing, it’s worth mentioning here that last Thursday, December 9th, allegedly saw Twenty-Nine Palms begin offering free tickets to the December 31st function, and the corresponding passes, as highlighted in the complaint, are available on Ticketmaster as “Coachella Complimentary Offer.”
An October 28th cease-and-desist letter that the plaintiffs sent to Twenty-Nine Palms doesn’t appear to have prompted a change in the names (or operational specifics) of the event and venues at the center of the case. Moreover, Coachella attorneys acknowledge in the document that “Twenty-Nine Palms may have sovereign immunity.”
That said, “others contributing to the infringement” – Live Nation and Unified Layer, per the plaintiffs – “do not have the same privilege and are subject to claims for contributory infringement as well as the Court’s jurisdiction,” the all-encompassing suit states.
Consequently, after dedicating several pages to touting Coachella as “one of the country’s premier music and arts festivals” and “one of the most critically acclaimed music festivals in the world” – besides emphasizing the big-name performers and many attendees that the 22-year-old event has attracted – the in-depth suit takes aim at Live Nation’s alleged contributory infringement.
Late October, in addition to bringing a cease-and-desist letter for Twenty-Nine Palms, saw the plaintiffs forward a similar notice to Live Nation, outlining the perceived infringement and demanding that the Ticketmaster parent company “immediately cease all sales of tickets for the COACHELLA DAY ONE 22 event, and any other music festivals, live music performances or similar events.”
But Live Nation only modified the “Coachella Day One 22” Ticketmaster listing to read “Day One 22,” according to the lawsuit and the event’s page on the ticketing platform. The original name remains “in certain Live Nation advertising and in other advertising associated with the event,” per the plaintiffs, and a mid-November follow-up letter from Coachella and Goldenvoice evidently wasn’t enough for the Beverly Hills-based promoter to delist the yearend event outright.
Live Nation’s actions (as well as those of Unified Layer) have “irreparably harmed” Coachella and the “general public who has an inherent interest in being free from confusion, mistake, and deception,” the text relays towards its conclusion, with the defendant event company having allegedly “materially encouraged, enabled, and contributed to the infringing conduct.”
At the time of this piece’s publishing, Live Nation – which is facing a number of lawsuits over the Astroworld tragedy – didn’t seem to have commented publicly on this action from Coachella, which has dropped Travis Scott from its 2022 lineup.