Why is Coachella taking Afrochella to court? [Pulse Explainer]


Details: The Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival and Goldenvoice have launched a lawsuit against Afrochealla, the Ghanaian concert brand for copyright infringements.

The action was initiated in California Federal Court on Wednesday, October 5, 2022, and the plaintiffs alleged that Afrochealla (the defendant) is “intentionally trading in the goodwill of Coachella and Goldenvoice,” which is an established concert and festival brand. in the United States for using the suffix ”Chella” to promote shows in Ghana and the United States.

Reason for the demand: the subject of the lawsuit is reduced to the similarity in the name of both brands. Afrochella is very similar to Coachella as “Afro” was simply prepended to “Chella”.

Coachella is a registered trademark in the United States and any attempt to use the name, its likeness, or a derivation of its construction without the express permission of the trademark holders will result in copyright infringement under the American Trademark Law.

For context, plaintiffs Coachella Music Festival and Goldenvoice last year filed a lawsuit against Live Nation Entertainment for contributory trademark infringement for use of the name “Coachella” in promotion of a show they labeled “Band of Mission Indians called Coachella Day One 22”. .

Readers will remember that BNXN has had their name changed from Buju to Jamaica. Buju banton instituted a trademark violation due to similarities in names.

Similarly, the Nigerian Alternative Law cruel saint had his name changed from santi after a creative from Spain confronted him with a trademark lawsuit.

Considering the obvious similarity in name and the established nature of the Coachella brand, Afrochella organizers could easily get ahead of the lawsuit, especially since they were marketing the brand in the US where Coachella is a registered trademark.

The implication of suit: After the lawsuit, the plaintiffs sought a number of remedies from the court including:

“That the Court issue a temporary restraining order, preliminary injunction, and permanent injunction ordering and restraining Defendants and their officers, agents, servants, employees, and attorneys, and all other persons in active concert with or engage with any of them, to engage in any infringing activity, including advertising, promotion, marketing, franchising, selling and offering for sale of goods or services in connection with the COACHELLA Marks or any mark similar, including but not limited to AFROCHELLA”.

If the above sentences are granted among other sentences in court, Afrochella will be temporarily prohibited from using the name “Afrochella” in event promotion or marketing of any products under the name until the lawsuit is resolved.

The next Afrochella festival is scheduled for December 28-29, 2022 at El Wak Stadium in Accra, Ghana. The event is announced to be headlined by megastar Burna Boy and superstars including stonebwoy, Fireboy DML, Ayra Starr and Black SherifAmong others.

It remains to be seen how the lawsuit instituted by Coachella will affect this event. Whether the case will be dismissed before that date, whether the lawsuit will be determined by the court or settled out of court. Or if Afrochella, as it is currently known, will opt for a new nomenclature pending resolution of the lawsuit.


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