If Tesla is serious about its tequila business, it should secure a design patent for the lightning-shaped bottle. When Tesla released its Tesla-branded tequila on November 5, 2020, the entire stock sold out within minutes. This is a remarkable display of branding strength. Especially, considering the $250 price tag and the fact that the purchasers never tasted the product. Even more impressive, is that empty Tesla tequila bottles are getting listed for over $1,000 on eBay.
Protecting the bottle design
Clearly, Tesla brand has an incredibly strong loyal following. However, as we pointed in our last week’s analysis, TESLA trademark alone may be insufficient to protect Elon Musk’s alcoholic beverage venture. In fact, it is possible that Tesla-branded tequila may infringe a third-party SPIRIT TESLA trademark.
So, what is our advice to Tesla? Secure a design patent for the lightning-shaped bottle. This bottle has a distinctive and appealing aesthetic design.
Outlandish prices for empty Tesla bottles will undoubtedly attract eager free-riders. Without IP protection, liquor stores may soon be flooded with all kinds of liquor sold in lightning-shaped bottles. How can Tesla prevent that from happening? A design patent for the bottle shape would enable Tesla to maintain exclusivity for the next 15 years. After that, if Tesla’s tequila business continues to boom, Tesla would be in a position to protect the bottle design as a federally registered trade dress. This protection would last in perpetuity. Strategy for success.
As we discussed in an earlier post, Tesla already owns a hefty design patent portfolio for various car parts ranging from Model 3 door handles to Model S steering wheel design. Currently, our search did not reveal a design patent for the tequila bottle. However, if Elon Must is serious about Tesla tequila, Tesla has one year from November 5, 2020 release date to apply for the bottle design patent, if Tesla has not yet submitted its application.