Side Note

Someone who is not Elon Musk has trademarked the name “Elon Musk”

Now is not a great time to be Elon Musk. His electric vehicle company Tesla is facing a $2 billion lawsuit for allegedly ripping off an electric truck design from one of its competitors — a company that, in an odd stroke of symbolism, is called Nikola. His long-threatened Hyperloop transportation system looks like it’s going to come to market soon, but Richard Branson is building it, not him. And after Musk blew up at investors on an earnings call, Tesla’s stock dipped down, and the ensuing public relations kerfuffle caused Musk to get all defensive about it on Twitter.

Meanwhile, in in the unknown depths of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, there rests a document that could deal a subtle but undoubtedly sucky blow to Musk’s ego: an application for the rights to print t-shirts with the name “Elon Musk” on them, filed by... not Elon Musk. In case you were wondering what the t-shirts looked like, here’s the design the applicants submitted to the USPTO.

According to the application, the Georgia company filing the application plans on selling the Elon Musk t-shirts on,,, and and has already registered the domain names for the sites (the pages aren’t up yet, but if you visit their URLs you’ll find notes indicating that they were recently registered). Though the trademark is currently live, this only means the filers have jumped through the requisite hoops to apply for a trademark — it won’t be permanent until the application itself has been examined by a USPTO attorney, who could very well reject it, seeing as it’s a pretty blatant attempt by some randos to trick people into buying Elon Musk merchandise.

But until that happens, Elon Musk does not own the rights to sell t-shirts with his own name on it, and that is very funny.