Coachella sues Urban Outfitters because karma is real

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Is imitation the sincerest form of flattery? Coachella doesn't think so.

The music festival on Tuesday filed a lawsuit against Urban Outfitters and Free People for trademark infringement. Like most of their fast-fashion competitors, Urban Outfitters and Free People sell tunics, shorts, hats and other clothing both inspired by and made for the summer music festival circuit.

But a top from Free People — the chain that, along with Anthropologie, is owned by Urban Outfitters — went a step too far with its designation as the "Coachella Valley Tunic." The tunic's description also referenced a "summer music festival."

That tunic is just one of the items Coachella flagged as trademark infringement in its lawsuit. Free People also has a "Bella Coachella" line sold by third parties like Amazon.

Coachella, which itself is named for the Coachella Valley in California, wants Urban Outfitters and Free People to stop profiting from its name.

Coachella filed the lawsuit in the U.S. Central District Court of California. Along with trademark infringement, Coachella accused the retail chains of false designation of origin, unfair competition and dilution.

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The music festival is demanding that Urban Outfitters stop using its name, pay damages and give Coachella all profits made from Coachella-branded apparel.

The lawsuit is the latest bout of karma for Urban Outfitters, which has been sued for using others' names and designs before — most notably that of the Navajo Nation. Urban Outfitters sold clothing and other products branded as "Navajo" and was hit with a lawsuit in 2012. The company and the Navajo Nation reached a settlement in November.

Ripping off festival wear isn't exactly the same as cultural appropriation, but Urban Outfitters still has a history in this area.

Coachella 2017 starts April 14.

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