Ghana’s Afrochella is accused of trademark infringement in a lawsuit brought on by Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival organizers, Goldenvoice.
Court documents filed in a California federal court and obtained by RollingStone allege that the similarity in the names will create confusion.
The lawsuit claims that Afrochella is “intentionally trading on the goodwill of [Coachella and Goldenvoice’s] well-known COACHELLA and CHELLA festivals and trademarks by actively promoting music events in the United States and in Ghana using the confusingly similar mark ‘AFROCHELLA’ and by fraudulently attempting to register Plaintiffs’ actual trademarks as their own.”
The lawsuit also claims that Afrochella tried to patent the names “Coachella” and “Chella” in Ghana. “Defendants even went so far as to apply in Ghana to register Coachella and Chella as their trademarks, using the same stylization as Plaintiffs’ registered Coachella (stylized) mark,” it continues.
Goldenvoice warned the defendant in 2019 about infringing on the trademark, Travel Noire reported.
“We understand that you are using Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival. We note that your event is part of a larger celebration that is designed to attract those living abroad (including those in the United States) to return home to Africa,” AEG (who owns Goldenvoice) wrote at that time.
“Regardless of the celebration or event, your use of Afrochella as the name of a music and arts festival is highly likely to create a likelihood of confusion and mistake as to the affiliation, connection, or association of you with AEG and with Coachella. In particular, the public is likely to believe that you are authorized by, or affiliated with, AEG or Coachella. In fact, you have even admitted that your event name and your event were inspired by Coachella. Similarly, comments about owning your own Facebook page comment that your festival name is merely trading on the goodwill of the Coachella mark.”
It will be interesting to watch the case unfold. Afrochella is still scheduled for December 28 & 29 at the El Wak Stadium in Accra, Ghana.