Apr 8, 2024 2 min read

Coachella secures preliminary injunction against Moechella festival

Coachella owner Goldenvoice has convinced a judge to hand out a preliminary injunction blocking the use of the name Moechella by a Washington DC-based festival. The company originally sued in early 2023, but last month argued that the infringement of its trademark had only increased since then

Coachella secures preliminary injunction against Moechella festival

AEG’s Goldenvoice - owner of the Coachella festival - has secured a preliminary injunction to stop Washington DC-based Moechella from using that name for a music festival in the city.

Goldenvoice sued Moechella organisers Justin Johnson and Kelsye Adams in February 2023, accusing them of “intentionally trading on the goodwill” built up by the Coachella brand by using a “confusingly similar” name for their event. 

Last week, district judge Reggie B Walton agreed, saying that “it appears that the defendants intentionally selected Moechella to imitate the Coachella marks”, according to Law360.

First staged in 2019, Moechella is the name given to musical protests staged by Johnson’s Long Live GoGo activist organisation, which grew out of the funk sub-genre GoGo, which originated in the US capital. The group describes Moechella as “an advocacy festival that is the intersection of culture and politics in DC”. 

Responding to Goldenvoice’s lawsuit in December, Johnson and Adams argued that they had not in fact come up with the Moechella name, insisting that it had been adopted by other members of the Long Live GoGo community. 

Following this submission, Goldenvoice requested the preliminary injunction in March, claiming that since it initially filed its lawsuit, Johnson and Adams had “actually increased the size and scope of their infringement”, despite them saying otherwise.

They had “intentionally misled the court”, the company said, by claiming to have ceased using the Moechella name “when in reality they were increasing the level of their infringing activity by the day”. This included Johnson’s opening of a pop-up restaurant that “prominently featured” the Moechella logo and handing out free Moechella keyrings. 

This is one of a number of legal challenges that Goldenvoice has launched against other events using ‘chella’ in their names in recent years. This one was initially prompted after an attempt by Johnson to trademark the Moechella name. 

As well as simply not wanting the DC event to trade on the goodwill and brand recognition of Coachella, Goldenvoice also cited a shooting incident at the 2022 Moechella festival, which resulted in the death of a fifteen year old, as a reason to not want the two events linked.

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