Smellmarks: Trademarking Scents

I just got to a press release from a couple of weeks ago from the Scent Marketing Institute announcing winners of their first round of awards called SMItties. Interesting stuff. ScentSational Technologies make scented and flavored packaging. Scentys got recognized for "unique implementation of scent marketing technology by incorporating scent delivery systems in state of the art digital presentation devices."

Anyway, from there, I somehow ended up on a two-year-old article in New Scientist about attempts in Europe to trademark scents: "Applicants face a difficulty: they must attach a "graphic representation" of their smell to the 8 centimetre square box on the trademark application form."

"The French Institute for the Protection of Fragrances tried the most sciency-looking pitch: a green square with coloured stripes on it that is supposed to represent "a lawn-green note, citrus (bergamot, lemon), pink floral (orange blossom, hyacinth), musky". It was refused."

Which is also the answer to yesterday's riddle. For more details, go to this page and select "Olfactory" in the "Trademark type" drop-down.

And here's a 2006 article in NYTimes about legal issues of recognizing scents as intellectual property.

Earlier on AdLab: a bottle of new car scent and other smelly articles.


  1. Ilya, visualizations of scents -- curious idea. In case anyone is interested, looked up the man who filed for the scentmark you posted.

    His name is Maitre Yann Kerlau, and he worked for Balenciaga Perfumes at the time the scent was filed. Here's a scentscription of the perfume:

    A rich woody oriental edt with notes of cinnamon, pepper, thyme, coriander, cardamom, galbunum, laurel, bergamot, Cyprinum vitae, patchouli, oak moss, honey, labdanum, vanilla and sandalwood, classified E4m. Discontinued (date unknown)

    thanks, interesting riddle.


  2. That's an interesting assignment, the transposition of senses. Reminds me of working with a music producer one time who said he heard colors. Our jingle turned out to be yellow.

  3. It's possible to trademark colors and sounds as well, not just smells.


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