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Elon Musk’s Tequila faces conflict with trade body

Tesla boss Elon Musk is reportedly facing opposition from the Tequila Regulatory Council after registering a trademark for the ‘Teslaquila’ brand name.

Elon Musk’s new Tequila brand could be halted by the Tequila Regulatory Board

Automotive and energy firm Tesla, where Musk acts as CEO, applied to the US Patent and Trademark Office to register Teslaquila last month as a ‘distilled agave liquor’ and ‘distilled blue agave liquor’.

Last month, Musk sent a tweet that read: ‘Teslaquila coming soon…’ along with a ‘visual approximation’ of the bottle design.

According to reports, Mexico’s Consejo Regulador del Tequila (CRT), otherwise known as the Tequila Regulatory Council, said that the “name ‘Teslaquila’ evokes the word Tequila … (and) Tequila is a protected word”.

In January 2017, the Mexican trade body won the right to register ‘Tequila’ as a certification mark in the US following a legal battle with drinks group Luxco.

The ruling means the CRT can apply for a certification mark from the Patent and Trademark Office, which would give it control over the use of the word ‘Tequila’ in the US market.

“If it 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,” the CRT reportedly said in a statement. “Otherwise it would be making unauthorised use of the denomination of origin for Tequila.”

The Spirits Business has contacted the CRT for further comment and is awaiting clarification on the reports.

Musk is not the first celebrity to jump on the Tequila bandwagon. Most recently, Sex and the City actor Chris Noth acquired a majority stake in ultra-premium brand Ambhar.

Last year, former Van Halen vocalist Sammy Hagar and Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine launched Tequila and mezcal hybrid Santo Puro Mezquila. In 2016, rock band AC/DC partnered with Fabrica de Tequilas Finos to launch Thunderstruck Tequila.

In 2014, Justin Timberlake collaborated with Beam Suntory’s Casa Sauza to create Sauza 901 Tequila. Meanwhile, Hollywood actor George Clooney recently sold his Casamigos Tequila brand to drinks giant Diageo in a deal worth US$1 billion.

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