First olfactory marks registered
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The Trademark Office of Argentina has allowed the registration of olfactory trademarks for the first time.
In 2004 an Argentine court held that smells may be registered as trademarks. The case involved French cosmetics company L'Oréal, which sought to register fruit smells as trademarks for L'Oréal Kids shampoo containers. The court stated that such marks must be described in detail, which would normally require an applicant to specify the chemical components of the fragrance. It concluded that effective protection of olfactory trademarks could be achieved only once the Trademark Office had determined the necessary steps for accurately describing such marks (for further details please see "Court rules for the first time that smells are registrable as trademarks").
Having been notified of the decision, the Trademark Office required that L'Oréal provide:
- the chemical composition of the fragrances;
- labels bearing the fragrances;
- samples of the shampoo containers; and
- any other document that might help identify the fragrances.
L'Oréal provided a sample of each fragrance, as well as a detailed description of the marks for each container. The Trademark Office considered that L'Oréal had complied with the requirements and granted the applications in January 2009. The certificates of registration were subsequently issued in August 2009.
Fernando Noetinger, Noetinger & Armando, Buenos Aires
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