It appears the desire to trade mark a scent is becoming increasingly important to companies and brands. Hasbro, the American multinational toy company, are the most recent company to attempt this with an application to trade mark the scent of their famous Play-doh.
Despite the lack of successful trade mark applications in the past for scents, it appears that for some companies, the scent of a particular product is an extremely important factor to them. This is the reason why Hasbro are now trying to trade mark the scent of their Play-doh product. They have described this scent of the Play-Doh as, "a unique scent formed through 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".
Hasbro have worked alongside various other companies to develop products that use the scent of Play-Doh. In 2008 they even created an 'eau de Play-Doh' perfume to commemorate their 50th anniversary.
The trade mark application has been made to the US Patent and Trademark Office who will ultimately be deciding on the fate of the success of the application. Although, it has been historically difficult to trade mark a scent it is not impossible. In fact, in 1990 a scent based on yarn and described as flowery was successfully trade marked.
In the UK and the EU, however, it is very difficult to trade mark a scent, even though it is theoretically possible now that the requirement for a trade mark to be capable of graphical representation no longer applies. The reason for this difficulty is that it is hard to describe a smell as this is something which is subjective to each person's perceptions. This therefore poses difficulties when it comes to ensuring the trade mark is represented in a manner which enables the public to determine the precise subject matter of the mark.
The recent application by Hasbro to trade mark the scent of their Play-Doh signifies that companies remain attracted to the idea of pairing a particular scent to a product. It will be interesting to see whether Hasbro are successful in this application and whether this leads to further attempts to register smells as trade marks, both in the USA and on this side of the Atlantic.Posted by: in: News, Trade Marks