The Top 10 Biggest Trademark Disputes of 2018

Following on from last year's post about the biggest trademark battles of the year, Lawyer Monthly has put together this year's round up.

  1. Elon Musk’s ‘Teslaquila’ Vs Mexican Tequila Producers

Anything that happens to Elon Musk, or anything he says, usually makes the news, so when he filed an application to register ‘Teslaquila’ as a trademark in October 2018, world renown tequila producers swarmed in to stop him.

This trademark dispute was taken up by the Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), the counsel that regulates the manufacturing and production of tequila, and is in charge of who can use the word tequila on their label. The problem, obvious to many in the drinks industry, is that the Tesla’ boss’ drink cannot be denominated as tequila. A spokesperson told Reuters: “If it [Tesla] wants to make Teslaquila viable as a Tequila it would have to associate itself with an authorised tequila producer, comply with certain standards and request authorisation from Mexico’s Industrial Property Institute.”

Tesla’s trademark application is specifically for a “distilled agave liquor” and “distilled blue agave liquor.” Just like Champagne, Prosecco and Scotch, Tequila must also adhere to strict composition and origin standards.

How this plays out is yet to be seen. The likely outcome is that Musk simply won’t be able to launch the product with the words tequila on the label.

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