Kendall Jenner’s tequila brand in the clear after settling area code lawsuit

Kendall looking at the camera and smiling
Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila brand has fended off a copyright lawsuit. Pic credit: © Collin/ImagePressAgency

Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila brand appears to be in the clear.

On Thursday, the 27-year-old model and entrepreneur settled a copyright infringement lawsuit brought against her company by the owners of competitor Tequila 512.

Tequila 512 was named for the Austin, Texas, area code in which the company is based. Jenner’s 818 label refers to the area code for Los Angeles’s San Fernando Valley, which includes Calabasas, where Jenner grew up.

In February, Tequila 512 filed suit against Jenner’s company, claiming that 818 Tequila was a “blatant” rip-off. The suit argued that 818 had copied 512’s area code schtick and that the two bottles’ branding was so similar – both feature their respective codes on yellow-and-black labels – that consumers would be easily confused.  

512 sought a judge to halt the production and sale of 818 Tequila until changes to that branding – potentially including Jenner’s company’s name – had been made.

But early on Thursday, TMZ reported that the two had reached a settlement.

818 Tequila vs. Tequila 512. Pic credit: (left); (right)

Kendall Jenner’s 818 Tequila fends off area-code lawsuit

On Thursday, Nick Matzorkis, CEO of Tequila 512, told TMZ: “Tequila 512’s lawsuit against 818 Tequila has been resolved. The parties have agreed that they will each have the right to use their existing names and they will both make changes to their labels to clarify that they are not related to each other.”

“Tequila 512,” he added, “has dismissed its case.”

Under the terms of the settlement, 512 will add “Est. 2012” to its labels. It’s still unclear what changes will be made to 818.

818 Tequila has faced controversy before

This isn’t the first time Jenner has found herself in hot water over the tequila brand.

Almost immediately after announcing the venture, Jenner was caught up in a cultural-appropriation controversy. Critics took issue with Jenner naming her company after Calabasas, arguing that this diminished the spirit’s deep-rooted cultural significance for the Latinx community.

“There was just a lack of respect to the culture and the importance of tequila to Mexico,” bartender Lucas Assis told Yahoo! Life last February. “She didn’t even know how to properly drink tequila.”

‘Using Mexico’s culture and history for nothing other than capital gain,” Assis continued, “is [cultural] appropriation.”  

Last September, in response to the accusations, the brand launched an initiative to help support local agave farmers in Jalisco, Mexico, where its tequila is made.

On The Tonight Show, Jenner spoke about her company’s commitment to environmental causes, explaining that 1 percent of its revenue will be donated to “planet-saving initiatives.”

For now, Jenner’s 818 Tequila appears to be in the clear – but she may want to watch out for Greta Thunberg.

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