Brand loyalty is the holy grail of every marketing campaign. When consumers develop a sense of loyalty toward a brand, they anxiously await the release of new products and, often, wait in long lines to acquire them on the day of the release. In turn, such display of devotion attracts attention of other consumers, creating a snowball effect. Companies that effectively cultivate brand loyalty, become immensely valuable. Their trademarks wield significant power to attract consumers, quite often based on the trademark alone. Perhaps, one of the best examples is Tesla. Last week, Tesla released a new product that had nothing to do with electric vehicles–tequila. Yet, largely due to the notoriety of Tesla’s brand, this pricey tequila sold out in minutes–without purchasers ever tasting the product. This is a textbook example of the power of brand loyalty.
Tesla Tequila Trademark Infringement?
We previously wrote about Tesla’s failed attempt to secure a federal trademark registration for the brand TESLAQUILA. The United States Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) rejected TESLAQUILA trademark application based on an existing registration owned by a man named George Bozic for SPIRIT TESLA. In trademark law, every trademark is tied to a specific product or service. Although Tesla Inc. owns a strong trademark for electric vehicles, there are many other TESLA trademark registrations for other products. Accordingly, because Mr. Bozic registered his SPIRIT TESLA trademark first, he has an exclusive nationwide right to this trademark for alcoholic beverages.
Thus, based on the USPTO’s official finding that TESLAQUILA is confusingly similar with SPIRIT TESLA, Mr. Bozic may have a strong trademark infringement case against Tesla for selling tequila under its TESLA brand. It will be interesting to see whether Mr. Bozic asserts his IP rights against Tesla. Perhaps, Elon Musk and George Bozic can arrange a mutually beneficial deal?