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Coachella Wins Restraining Order Against Live Nation Over Copycat Festival

A judge says Live Nation is likely infringing trademarks by selling tickets to a "Coachella Day One 22" concert nearby.

Siding with the organizers of the Coachella music festival, a federal judge issued a restraining order Monday prohibiting Live Nation from selling tickets to a rival event nearby under the planned name “Coachella Day One 22.”

Less than a week after AEG-owned Goldenvoice sued Live Nation for trademark infringement, U.S. District Judge R. Gary Klausner ruled that the use of “Coachella Day One 22” – for a planned New Year’s Eve concert – would likely confuse concertgoers into thinking the event was connected to the giant yearly festival.

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The ruling was not on the final merits of the lawsuit, but on whether to issue a so-called temporary restraining order, which will bar Live Nation from selling or advertising the event under the original name while the case is litigated.

Live Nation had argued that such a restraining order was not needed because Coachella was unlikely to suffer much harm from the similar-sounding event, but Judge Klausner saw things differently.

“Live Nation advances only one, uncompelling argument [that] Coachella’s incredible success demonstrates that its reputation will not suffer material harm from [a] ‘one-night New Year’s celebration,’” the judge wrote. “This argument is simply unpersuasive.”

The judge’s order shouldn’t cause much disruption. Though it bars the use of “Coachella” in the name, the restraining order will not prevent the rival event from being held. And Live Nation had already rebranded the event on Ticketmaster as simply “Day One 22” well before Monday’s decision.

Goldenvoice has hosted the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival at Empire Polo Field in Indio, Calif. since 1999. The yearly event is one of the biggest festivals in America, drawing a slew of A-list artists and roughly 750,000 guests over two weekends each April.

Coachella Day One 22, meanwhile, is a one-off event scheduled for Dec. 31 and hosted by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians, a Native American tribe that owns a nearby venue called Coachella Crossroads. The list of performers includes Lil Wayne, Shaquille O’Neal (performing as DJ Diesel), E-40 and Getter.

Goldenvoice sued Live Nation last week, accusing the company of infringing its trademark rights to the “Coachella” name. Live Nation is not the promoter of the event, but the lawsuit did not name Twenty-Nine Palms as a defendant because the tribe is shielded from legal action due to sovereign immunity. Instead, it accused Live Nation of so-called contributory infringement, for its role in advertising and selling tickets to the event on TicketMaster.

In Monday’s order, Judge Klausner ruled that Goldenvoice was likely to eventually win those accusations against Live Nation – and that it would suffer “irreparable harm” in the meantime if the festival went ahead under the name “Coachella Day One 22.”

An attorney for Goldenvoice did not immediately return a request for comment on Monday. A spokeswoman for Live Nation declined to comment.