Elon Musk’s ‘Teslaquila’ legal team pushes back on patent examiner’s naming concerns

Elon Musk shares an image of a Teslaquila bottle. (Credit: Elon Musk/Instagram)

It appears that Elon Musk and Tesla’s legal team are not ready to give up on the idea of making “Teslaquila” just yet. In a response to a patent examiner who rejected Tesla’s trademark application, Tesla’s legal team called on the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) to allow the company to proceed with its trademark application for Teslaquila, an alcoholic beverage teased by Elon Musk on Twitter.

While Teslaquila started off as a dark-humored April Fool’s joke from Musk, the CEO has noted that Tesla will indeed release the beverage in the future. Sure enough, Tesla eventually filed an application with the USPTO to trademark the alcoholic beverage on October 2018, listing the product as “distilled agave liquor” and “distilled blue agave liquor.” 

Unfortunately for the electric car maker, the trademark application was rejected by a patent examiner on account of Spirit Tesla, another liquor brand whose name would allegedly be confusingly similar to Teslaquila. The trademark for Spirit Tesla, whose bottles showcase a portrait of Nikola Tesla, is owned by Serbian brewing company Valjevsko. In its response to the patent examiner, Tesla’s legal team argued that Teslaquila will likely not be confused with Spirit Tesla. 

Explaining their points, Tesla’s legal team argued that the name “Teslaquila” is instantly recognizable as a drink related to the electric car maker, both for buyers of the beverage in the United States and other regions. In contrast, Spirit Tesla notably invokes a connection between the liquor and the “spirit” of Nikola Tesla. Tesla’s legal team also pointed out that Teslaquila and Spirit Tesla are not similar products, considering that the former is listed as distilled agave liquor/distilled blue agave liquor and the latter is used in connection with plum brandy, also known as Slivovitz. 

With these points in mind, Tesla’s legal team noted that confusion between Teslaquila and Spirit Tesla will be unlikely. “Accordingly, the likelihood of confusion between Applicant’s mark and the cited mark is de minimis, if not altogether absent, and Applicant requests the refusal be withdrawn,” Tesla’s legal team wrote in its reseponse. 

It should be noted that Tesaquila is not the first themed alcoholic beverage that will be released by an Elon Musk-led company. Back in 2016, SpaceX offered a limited-release SpaceX Wine in celebration of the Falcon 9’s successful landing. With this in mind, a whimsical, alcoholic drink named after the electric car maker does seem to be in character for Elon Musk and his disruptive auto and energy company.

Read Tesla’s response to the rejection of Teslaquila’s trademark application below.

Teslaquila Patent Response by Simon Alvarez on Scribd

Simon Alvarez: Simon is a reporter with a passion for electric cars and clean energy. Fascinated by the world envisioned by Elon Musk, he hopes to make it to Mars (at least as a tourist) someday.
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