Elon Musk’s ‘Teslaquila’ stalls on its journey

Written by Adrienne Wallace | November 30, 2018

Trade Marks

It looks like Tesla Inc’s founder could be heading for another head on crash. This time instead of with US regulators and short sellers of Tesla’s stock it’s with Mexico’s tequila council. This potential collision is as a result of Musk’s attempts (through Tesla Inc) to gain trade mark protection for the mark ‘Teslaquila’ for use on “distilled agave liquor” goods.

Musk has spoken publically about his plans to launch a tequila drink tweeting (when isn’t he) “Teslaquila coming soon” with a picture of red and white label including the Tesla logo and the words “100 percent Puro de Agave”.

However, the Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT) have expressed their opposition to Musk’s proposed use of ‘Teslaquila’ arguing that the “name ‘Teslaquila’ evolved the word tequila…(and) tequila is a protected word”.

This is because use of the term “tequila” is protected under Mexican law as a certification mark, which means that the CRT can control who can and who can’t use the term.

The CRT have said that if Tesla ” wants to make Teslaquila viable as a tequila it would have to associate itself with an authorized tequila producer, comply with certain standards and request authorization from Mexico’s Industrial Property Institute,”

We will wait and see if Tesla manages to get the CRT’s approval to go ahead with ‘Teslaquila’ or whether a rocky road awaits.

Briffa comment:

Certification trade marks are marks that do not function as ordinary trade marks. The use of the mark is governed by the owner of the certification mark (generally governmental departments, trade organisations etc.) who outline specifics standards and characteristics that have to be met in order for the mark to be used on a product or connection with a service. The intention is that this guarantees the goods or services bearing the mark meet a certain defined standard or possess a particular characteristic.

Briffa advises on all aspects of trade mark law and practice and offers free 30-minute consultations to all new clients. If you would like to book a call or a meeting with one of our specialist IP lawyers, please contact info@briffa.com or 020 7096 2779.


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