A Texas-based Tequila company took aim at Kendall Jenner’s new tequila - 818 Tequila – for “blatantly copying” the distinctive logo and color scheme of their Tequila 512 brand. Tequila 512’s trademark and trade dress infringement suit was filed last week in Federal Court in California.
Tequila 512 alleges that 818 Tequila incorporates “immaterial tweaks” to its immediately recognizable bold black lettering inside a yellow rectangle. The complaint also cites similarities between the companies' references to a "prominent area code." Tequila 512 nods to Austin, Texas, where the company is based, while 818 Tequila refers to Los Angeles.
Tequila 512 offers that the branding is so similar that an image of Tequila 512 was mistakenly used in Kim Kardashian’s, Jenner’s sister, mobile game instead of the 818 Tequila. The lawsuit alleges that 818 Tequila either intentionally used the wrong image to "blur the lines between the two products" or that the branding is so similar that the company was "confused about the difference between the two brands."
Tequila 512 claims to have been using its 512 mark since 2012, but only applied for a federal trade dress registration for the appearance of their product in July 2021, two months after the launch of 818 Tequila. Their application is still pending.
Jenner, who is only the face of the 818 brand was not named as a defendant in this action. The owner of the 818 brand, K & Soda LLC, stated they are “reviewing the complaint and believe the allegations are without merit.”
This ongoing litigation shows the importance of obtaining Federal trademark protection as early as possible, as well as ensuring that your advertisements, websites, or other platforms do not inadvertently incorporate any third-party marks.