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AEG and Live Nation settle trademark dispute over New Year’s event in Coachella

By | Published on Monday 15 August 2022

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The legal battle between live giants AEG and Live Nation over a New Year’s Eve event in the city of Coachella in California has been settled.

That event was originally billed as Coachella Day One 22. However, AEG’s Goldenvoice subsidiary was not impressed with that branding, reckoning it implied a formal connection to its Coachella Valley Music And Arts Festival. And that, it added, infringed the trademarks it owns in relation to its famous Coachella event.

However, both Coachella Day One 22 and the Coachella Crossroads venue hosting it were run by the Twenty-Nine Palms Band of Mission Indians. And the leadership of that tribe are arguably shielded from a trademark infringement lawsuit under US federal law due to so called sovereign immunity.

So who could AEG and Goldenvoice sue? Well, Live Nation’s Ticketmaster had been handling the ticketing for – and therefore helping publicise – Coachella Day One 22. So AEG went legal against its main competitor. And that litigation continued even after the offending NYE event was renamed as ‘Day One 22 NYE at Coachella Crossroads’.

Live Nation attempted to have the lawsuit dismissed by arguing that the legal action was really a dispute between Goldenvoice and the Twenty-Nine Palms tribe over the name of the latter’s “ancestral land”, and that Goldenvoice suing Live Nation was a “transparent attempt to end-run the protections afforded to the tribe by longstanding federal law”.

However, the judge overseeing the case decided that Goldenvoice’s litigation against Live Nation could proceed without risking the interests and rights of Twenty-Nine Palms. As a result, out of court negotiations subsequently began, with both sides in the dispute agreeing to mediation, which began on 9 Aug and seemingly resulted in a settlement being agreed.

Terms of said settlement are not known, but in a court filing last week AEG and Live Nation stated: “Please take notice that the parties attended mediation on 9 Aug 2022 and executed a binding term sheet agreement to settle this matter. A stipulated Notice Of Dismissal of all claims with prejudice will be filed no later than 19 Aug 2022”.