How to protect your signature scent

Elaine O’Hare and Grace Merry discuss the challenges of protecting scents under intellectual property rights

When you detect the “combination of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough” does it evoke nostalgic childhood memories of moulding whimsical creations out of Play-Doh?

There’s a distinct possibility it does – and that is why Hasbro has recently filed an application to register the scent of Play-Doh as a trademark in the US, aiming to protect it as a well-known and recognisable scent. And if someone walks past you in the street and you identify a “scent of aldehydic-floral fragrance product… an elegant floral fragrance… and a sensual feminine note” surely you immediately recognise Chanel No.5?

So why isn’t it on the trademark register? This article will consider some of the challenges of registering scent trademarks and how intellectual property law may be used to protect the unique fragrance of a perfume.

Toy giant Hasbro claims that for over six decades the iconic scent . . .

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