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HOUSTON — Phillips 66 and the Coachella Music and Arts Festival have found themselves singing different tunes following the end of last week’s festivities.
Coachella — an annual festival that draws hundreds of thousands of music fans to the Indio polo grounds of California — is suing Phillips 66 over its promotional contest giveaway of wristbands for next year’s festival, The Desert Sun reported.
The lawsuit accuses Houston-based Phillips 66 of violating the festival’s trademark by using the Coachella name while advertising its “76 Coachella Countdown” promotion. The lawsuit claims these violations happened in online advertisements, tweets and skywriting directly over the festival grounds.
The lawsuit also alleges that Phillips 66 plans to buy VIP wristbands for the 2017 festival and then give those wristbands to the winners of the contest. However, Coachella rules forbid the transfer of wristbands, and anyone caught with a wristband they didn’t purchase themselves can be denied entry to the festival.
“By using a false and unauthorized endorsement to offer to transfer Coachella passes, defendants are causing members of the public to be confused or deceived into believing that plaintiffs have authorized defendants to engage in such conduct when, in fact, they have not,” the lawsuit states.
Phillips 66 is the fourth company Coachella has sued for trademark infringement this year; however, this is the first time Coachella has targeted a company bigger than itself, the news outlet reported.
Prior suits were filed against Hoodchella, a small Los Angeles music festival, and two companies that were accused of scalping exclusive wristbands meant for musicians and their guests. Coachella typically turns a blind eye to the scalping of general admission wristbands, but said the resale of exclusive wristbands creates a security risk to attendees, according to the news report.
The Hoodchella lawsuit was dropped when the concert changed its name. The suits against the scalpers are pending.
Phillips 66 declined to comment, saying it has a policy to not discuss ongoing litigation. David Steele, an attorney for Coachella, also declined to comment.
Phillips 66 is a diversified energy manufacturing and logistics company with a portfolio of midstream, chemicals, refining and marketing, and specialties businesses. Its fuel retail banners include Phillips 66, 76 and Conoco.