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Apr 9, 2019

Can You Trademark a Smell?

Article By Patent Attorney Stephen Bullock
It may not be the type of smell that perfumes a room. However, the smell of Play-Doh is a distinctive one that has conjured up playful memories from over 3 billion cannisters over the past 60 years. The "scent of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough" overcame rejections from the U.S. Trademark Office to become registered as a non-visual scent mark. Very few such marks have been registered by the Trademark Office because of the difficult task of concretely describing an abstract concept and attaching it to a product. Furthermore, the smell cannot be a part of the product's functionality. It will be interesting to see how the company enforces its Trademark.
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