Friday, June 17, 2016

JOE CUERVO - A Jose Cuervo Beer?

Jose Cuervo, the world's largest producer of tequila, might be moving into the beer market according to a recent trademark application filed by the company.

On June 13th, the tequila company filed a federal trademark application for JOE CUERVO in Class 032 for "[b]eer; brewed malt based alcoholic beverage in the nature of a beer; malt beer and non-alcholic malt beverages; non-alcoholic malt coolers." The company also filed this application in Class 033 for "[a]lcoholic beverages, namely, tequila extracts."
This application seems to indicate Jose Cuervo may be in the process of developing a "Joe Cuervo" beer although the intent-to-use basis of the application does not guarantee a beer will actually be released.

Although an intent-to-use application is only allowed when an applicant "has a bona fide intention, under circumstances showing the good faith of such person, to use a trademark in commerce..." it does not guarantee (or require) that an applicant actually use the trademark in the future. See 15 USC 1051(b). All that it requires is a "bona fide intention" to use the mark, which can be found in the development of markets plans, product specifications, prototypes, etc.

This is not the first time Jose Cuervo has filed a beer-related trademark application. In October 2015, the tequila company filed JOSE CUERVO TRADICIONAL in Class 032 for "[b]eer; malt beverages, namely, ale, ale based cocktails, and beer based cocktails." That application was also filed on an intent-to-use basis and was published for opposition in March 2016.

Additionally, in 2012 Jose Cuervo filed an application for MISTICO in Class 032 for, in part, beer. That application was filed on an intent-to-use basis. The company has requested five extensions to file a statement of use (showing use of the mark in commerce and a required filing before registration can be finalized), which is the maximum number of extensions available. See TMEP 1108. If the company does not start using this trademark by November 2016, the MISTICO application will be abandoned.

Although Jose Cuervo has filed three different trademarks for beer in the past four years, none have reached registration yet. Will JOE CUERVO be the first?

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