The law protects the creations of individuals through patents, copyrights, and trademarks so they can benefit of the economic gains of their efforts and defend the use of their intellectual property by other entities, businesses or individuals.
The most common trademarks are visual, such as logos, slogans, which distinguish a product or service but is important to note that not only graphics or visuals can be trademarked.
Recently, the courts in Europe are moving in the direction of granting copyrights and trademarks to certain products that may seem hard to protect such as sounds, scents or gustatory items.
Since the late 1990s, the courts have moved to recognize trademarks such as sounds (here is a list of trademarked sounds you can surely recognize, including Intel bong) taste, and smells.
The European Union (EU) courts have recognized olfactory items such perfumes as economic assets and are moving to protect them by creating new rules to consider olfactory marks, even making changes to adapt the computer and procedural systems to accept the new rules effectively.
There is a good reason for doing that: the global fragrance market is valued at 46 billion dollars and European companies have some of the most recognized assets in the perfume industry.
The biggest change announced was the elimination of the requirement of graphic representation as one of the biggest roadblocks to non-visual marks.
In 2006, the Dutch Court in the case Lancôme v. Kecofa agreed that a perfume Tresor can be protected by copyright, but not by trademark. This was a not a total victory for Lancome, which sought a trademark, but the courts granted a copyright, recognizing its value.
The intellectual property court system across the world still struggles to trademark perfumes, scents, and olfactory products, but lawyers and courts agree to their strong global presence of the industry. Courts and lawyers are working actively changing the landscape of trademark and copyright for the future.
This blog is only for informational purposes. Please click the links embedded in the article for more information about the topic. Always consult your specific case with an experienced attorney.
Marcos E. Garciaacosta Esq. will help you to navigate the complexities of intellectual property and business law.