Elon Musk could soon need a lemon wedge for a salty trademark battle with Mexico’s tequila industry.
The founder and CEO of Tesla announced a new brand of tequila called “Teslaquila” in October, vaguely tweeting it was “coming soon.”
But it may not be that straightforward for Musk if the intensely no-nonsense Mexican tequila industry has anything to say about it.
According to Reuters, the billionaire’s attempts to trademark the word “Teslaquila” with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office are being opposed by Mexico’s Tequila Regulatory Council (CRT).
The national industry group, which works to protect the prestige of the agave-based spirit, said the “name ‘Teslaquila’ evokes the word Tequila … (and) Tequila is a protected word.”
According to the trademark application filed by Tesla, “Teslaquila” has been described as a “distilled agave liquor.” Reuters reports that similar applications have been filed in Mexico itself, as well as the European Union and Jamaica.
Run by the Mexican Government, the CRT takes tequila very seriously. In fact, their main mission is to maintain producer compliance with the official Mexican standard for tequila, and that includes incredibly strict adherence to rules of origin.
Like Champagne in France, to pass the official standard, and to legally use the name “tequila,” the spirit must be made in the Mexican states of Jalisco, Guanajuato, Tamaulipas, Michoacan, or Nayarit.
And yes, U.S. federal law stipulates that tequila sold in the U.S, manufactured in Mexico, must comply with the country’s strict tequila manufacturing laws.
That’s not to say Musk won’t adhere to these requirements – in fact, there are limited details on “Teslaquila” so far, with Musk merely tweeting a “visual approximation” of what a bottle of the spirit could look like.
Though, if Musk’s supremely keen on using the word “Teslaquila” for the spirit, he’ll need to play ball with Mexico’s government-appointed tequila guardians.
Hey, it could be very worth it — just look at George Clooney‘s profits.