Kendall Jenner’s tequila brand, 818 Tequila Co., is being sued by Austin-based brand Tequila 512, according to NBC News. Wait, Kendall? Our Kendall? Our sweet, sweet Kendall “Pepsi Fixes Racism” Jenner? Noooo! Noooo. How could this happen? How could this happen.
The lawsuit, filed on February 16, alleges that K & Soda LLC, which owns 818 Tequila Co., copied Tequila 512’s branding, amounting to trademark infringement, false designation of origin, and unfair competition. Basically, Tequila 512 claims that 818 Tequila Co. ripped off its bottle’s shape and labeling, and even the idea to use an area code in the name. (To be fair, the lawsuit does not technically name Jenner as a defendant, but like, come on.)
Side-by-side, the bottles do look kind of similar. But you could argue that it’s not unheard of for tequila containers to look similar. I mean, it has to be a bottle shape of some kind, right? Unless it’s Dan Aykroyd’s weird skull-shaped vodka bottle, which cannot be logistically easy to carry around. And the area code thing doesn’t necessarily belong to Tequila 512 (ahem, Goose Island would like a word).
But bringing both of these elements together in one product? That’s kind of fishy, especially since this isn’t the first time Jenner’s brand has been notified of the similarities between the two. Last year, Tequila 512’s CEO Nick Matzorkis asked Jenner to change either the labeling or the name of the tequila to avoid confusion. Jenner responded (arguably… ARGUABLY) by making the Spanish text on the bottles grammatically incorrect.
It doesn’t help that Kim Kardashian’s own mobile game used an image of Tequila 512’s bottle in May 2021 for an in-app purchase. According to the lawsuit, the plaintiff believes that 818 Tequila either used the wrong image on purpose to “blur the lines between the two products,” or because the brand was genuinely “confused about the difference between the two brands.” Okay, that does sound pretty suspicious!
“We are reviewing the complaint and believe the allegations are without merit,” a company representative for 818 Tequila told TMZ.
But here’s the fun part: According to CultureMap Austin, the same distillery in Jalisco produces both Tequila 512 and 818 Tequila, but Jenner’s variety is distilled one less time than the Austin brand. So in a way, there’s already a winner here. Woohoo!