WASHINGTON - Lawyers for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival are in a trademark battle with D.C.'s Moechella – a go-go-driven community protest that started in 2019.
Moechella founder Justin "Yaddiya" Johnson filed for a trademark on the name Moechella in 2021.
In June, Coachella's lawyers filed an opposition with the government trademark office. Now, it's up to the government to decide if Moechella gets to keep its name.
In this case, Moechella has registered in connection with providing political information whereas Coachella has registered for providing entertainment services," said Hadley Dreibelbis, a trademark attorney. "But they do look at how the marks are actually used as well, looking at the similarity of the names themselves; looking at whether consumers are likely to be confused by those names or whether there's actual confusion."
Coachella filed its opposition with the United States Patent and Trademark Office last month in the wake of a shooting that happened after Moechella where 15-year-old Chase Poole was shot and killed and a police officer was injured. Coachella even quoted Mayor Bowser's press conference in the filing.
But Moechella founder Johnson says Coachella has it wrong. Moechella is rooted in a 2019 protest in response to a luxury apartment building complaining and shutting down music being played from speakers outside the Metro PCS store in Shaw.
Johnson organized "Long Live Gogo" music protests at the corner of 14th and U Street. The D.C. native says that Moechella has always been about peaceful protesting and rather than challenging the name, Moechella and Coachella should find a way to work together.
"Now that it has become such a prominent thing in the city and on the forefront of our culture, I think we gotta protect it," Johnson told FOX 5. "I think people like Coachella can look deeper into our story and understand why it is important for them to support symbols like ours. If you know anything about Coachella and Golden Voice, they established another division called Golden Voice Black where they're looking to uplift the Black arts and cultural arts, and I feel like this is a perfect opportunity to do so."
The current challenge is about whether Moechella can trademark the name — not whether they can continue to use it. Moechella doesn't have to trademark the name to use it. But Coachella remains able to file a trademark lawsuit if they decide to go that route.