Coachella is suing a nearby California business park that has been using the name “Coachillin,” marking the latest in a string of such legal actions filed against companies allegedly riffing on the festival’s name.
In a complaint filed Wednesday (Oct. 26) in Los Angeles federal court, Coachella Music Festival LLC said that the owners of the Coachillin Business Park – a planned development site located just a few miles north of the Empire Polo Club – is clearly violating the festival’s trademarks.
“The public has come to associate the phrase ‘Coachillin’ to refer to the Coachella Festival and plaintiffs, not merely to refer to the Coachella Valley—and certainly not Coachillin Holdings or its Coachillin Business Park,” wrote attorneys for the festival, which is owned AEG and its subisidiary Goldenvoice.
The case is just the trademark clash for Coachella. Last year, the festival sued Live Nation for selling tickets to a New Year’s Eve concert held on a nearby Native American reservation called “Coachella Day One 22.” Then last month, Coachella sued a West African company over an event called “Afrochella.”
On its website, Coachillin details plans for an “Industrial Cultivation & Ancillary Canna-Business Park,” a proposed 160-acre site aimed at businesses in the cannabis industry. In addition to cultivation spaces, the group says the site will also feature a hotel, an amphitheater and other amenities.
In its new lawsuit, Coachella says it has no problem with any of that – except for the name, which they say is commonly used on social media as slang term for spending time at the yearly festival.
“Plaintiffs have no objection to defendants’ agricultural cultivation business, merchandise business, hotel operations, or entertainment complex, including defendants hosting live music and entertainment,” the festival’s lawyers wrote. “However, defendants must use a distinctive name that does not infringe or trade on the goodwill of plaintiffs’ reputation.”
Coachella’s lawyers say they’ve been trying to get Coachillin to stop using the name since 2018, but that the company and its principals have feigned ignorance, arguing they did not know the term “Coachillin” was linked to Coachella.
Yet the lawsuit says Coachillin “has not been shy about” about making references to the festival, like an Instagram post that directly referenced it, or an advertisement listing the nearby presence of the festival among the “Location Benefits” of the planned business park.
“Despite repeated requests from plaintiffs to defendants to change the Coachillin mark to one which avoids confusion and a false association with the famous Coachella Festival, defendants have failed to do so,” the festival’s lawyers wrote. “Accordingly, plaintiffs have been forced to file this action.”
Coachillin did not immediately return a request for comment on the accusations.