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  1. #1

    Default Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Someone posted an interesting question regarding Creed fragrances that have yet to be "copied". I've often wondered what the legal restrictions are on scents. Can someone patent a scent? Can I patent the scent of a strawberry, for instance? Or if I take out some mold from my fridge, can I patent that?

    How can one realistically prevent someone from copying a scent? If I can copy Creed MI, for instance, using a totally different chemical formulation, doesn't that bypass any copyright infringement? Is there a court of scenteurs that compares two scents? This entire process is intriguing to me.

    TNMA
    "Why not seize the pleasure at once?"
    -- Jane Austen (Sun, and Mercury in Sagittarius)

  2. #2

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    This came up a while ago in a thread, can't remember why. Basically, this is what I remember.

    The perfume industry tried to instate some standards of copy rights. They then conducted a study to find out the impostors and help the original nose get credit or something. They found that some of the classics were copies of lesser known but extremely similar perfumes. So, they threw that out.

    Think of it like this. Rose (as a note) = Rock.
    How many bands play rock that is extremely similar, but just barely different? Is Chuck Berry going to sue because he has the first documented hit of a rock song? He could, but he wouldn't win, because the copies are just different enough. There are numerous differences between Mabelline and Crazy Bitch, but at first listen, they're both rock, and the names are similar (Chuck Berry, Buck Cherry). It's really too complex an issue to say CW is a clone of GIT when GIT was a copy of something else.
    - Rich
    As always, disregard most of what I say. It's not worth your heart health to actually worry about what a 23 year old guy from Kansas thinks. Even if he is really ridiculously good looking.

  3. #3

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    You can patent a process, like a new way to extract scent from organic materials, or a way to create a new chemical, but you can't patent new perfumes. Can't copyright them either; scent isn't something you can "publish". In theory you could try to trademark a scent, I guess, but I can't imagine anyone actually successfully defending a scent trademark in court.

    So basically the only protection perfume formulations have is secrecy.

  4. #4

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    There must be some sort of restrictions. I remember some years back when Molinard was selling a scent that was very, very similar to Mugler's Angel. Legal action was taken and the formula for the Molinard was changed.

  5. #5

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by opalsdad View Post
    There must be some sort of restrictions. I remember some years back when Molinard was selling a scent that was very, very similar to Mugler's Angel. Legal action was taken and the formula for the Molinard was changed.
    Yes... the scent was called Nirmala, and was pretty much identical to Angel.
    Top 5 for Fall:
    1) Straight to Heaven - By Kilian
    2) New York - Nicolai
    3) Terre d'Hermes
    4) Aventus - Creed
    5)
    Flower of Immortality - By Kilian
    My mission statement: "I am not afraid to keep on living - I am not afraid to walk this world alone."

  6. #6

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    There must be some sort of restrictions. I remember some years back when Molinard was selling a scent that was very, very similar to Mugler's Angel. Legal action was taken and the formula for the Molinard was changed.
    I don't think that there is any restriction in the U.S.; perhaps in France. In the U.S. I believe that I could formulate something that smelled just like Mugler's Angel and even sell it under the name: "Smells Just Like Mugler's Angel".
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  7. #7

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    -

  8. #8

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    I have something for you to see:

    Copy of Eternity
    http://www.pramool.com/cgi-bin/dispitem.cgi?3204686

    And other scents here:
    Chanel No. 5: http://www.pramool.com/cgi-bin/dispitem.cgi?3204731

    Polo Sport: http://www.pramool.com/cgi-bin/dispitem.cgi?3204749

    Tommy Boy: http://www.pramool.com/cgi-bin/dispitem.cgi?3204979

    Recently I have seen a 150-ml plastic bottle of copies made in Malaysia, sold at USD4 in the Guardian shop (Malaysian drug store) in Bangkok. It says the same--our version of........
    Current Top 5

    1. Creed Aventus
    2. A*Men Pure Malt
    3. L'instant Extreme
    4. Nasomatto Duro
    5. CDG - Kyoto

  9. #9

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    In the United States, almost all drugstores sell "Designer Impostors" fragrances that have bylines such as, "If you like Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, you'll love BABE!"

    As far as I know, these are legal. A girl that I knew in college always smelled great, and when we went on a trip to a convention I noticed a bottle of Clinique Happy knockoff in her bag!



  10. #10

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by linnea View Post
    In the United States, almost all drugstores sell "Designer Impostors" fragrances that have bylines such as, "If you like Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, you'll love BABE!"

    As far as I know, these are legal. A girl that I knew in college always smelled great, and when we went on a trip to a convention I noticed a bottle of Clinique Happy knockoff in her bag!

    Imposters must be legal, they are everywhere. They are hardly ever as good as the original though.

    Another question is if imposters are legal then can we sell decants in this way? Ebay has some lame rules but I don't know how they could justify not allowing me to sell a decant of an imposter fragrance. Or just list it as an imposter and put the real juice in it.
    Oriscent, AgarAura Pure Ouds, Creed, LIDGE, Patou Pour Homme, tons of niche and rare stuff for sale!
    http://www.basenotes.net/threads/253...er-100-items!!

  11. #11

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    I remember my friend having something that says "Our Version of Paris Hilton" and like "Our version of Curious", it smelt like them with a "cheap" note thrown in.

    Also I know in eBay it's like "We paid millions and millions of dollars for documents to get the scents" and like the perfume would be called "Paris Fashion" and be told it smells exactly like it or something.
    Looking for Partial or Full Bottles Of:
    Silver Mountain Water
    Green Irish Tweed
    Scent of Peace


    PM me please.

  12. #12

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by linnea View Post
    In the United States, almost all drugstores sell "Designer Impostors" fragrances that have bylines such as, "If you like Tommy Hilfiger Tommy Girl, you'll love BABE!"

    As far as I know, these are legal. A girl that I knew in college always smelled great, and when we went on a trip to a convention I noticed a bottle of Clinique Happy knockoff in her bag!
    Yeah, I remember they used to have those commercials....If you like Obsession, you will love Stalker, or something to that effect.

    I also remember a desiger impostors commercial that was a big hit for a while where a nude girl had the black out bars covering her and they were mentioning where she could spray the wonderful Desiger Impostor frag.
    Last edited by snakesandladders; 31st May 2007 at 04:18 AM.

  13. #13

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    I remember those designer imposter frags. But for some reason, I was under the impression that they came out because the original designer frags "copyright" expired. Much like new medicines, I thought that each new scent had some sort of duration that no one was allowed to make "generics".

    TNMA
    "Why not seize the pleasure at once?"
    -- Jane Austen (Sun, and Mercury in Sagittarius)

  14. #14

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    I thought that each new scent had some sort of duration that no one was allowed to make "generics".
    No, I don't think so.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  15. #15

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    the fragrance companies (like IFF) often patent molecules, but these are single notes; a typical frag will have many tens of different fragrance molecules in it.

    other than that (a single molecule, which is fairly straightforward to identify and IP protect), i can't imagine how a company would be able to define nor enforce IP protection for a blended frag.
    baald

    Buy my extra scents - mainly niche - over 50 items (tiny bottles)

  16. #16

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    No, I don't think so.
    I understand that it may be difficult to maintain and protect the basic product identity (the formula) but I would still think that exact copies of the cologne, even under a different name are, and must be protected. Why should colognes be regarded as something different from pharmaceutical and cosmetic products legally? And what's with those licenses the industry buys when a competitor discontinues a cologne or line? So much can happen behind the stage while the bottles and boxes stay unchanged.
    Last edited by narcus; 1st June 2007 at 10:03 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  17. #17

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    I remember a lovely little shop in New Orleans' French Quarter that sold natural renditions of popular perfumes- no synthetic ingredients allowed. They were oil roll-ons and often smelled better, though different, than the scents they mimicked. Not cheap, but a good shop.

  18. #18

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    but I would still think that exact copies of the cologne, even under a different name are, and must be protected.
    They are not.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    They are not.
    Thank you dcampen, that is a clear answer, and I am ready to believe you. The way I was built and educated, I always like to get to the bottom of things (as much as an amateur can do this). Is there anything I could find on the internet regarding the matter ?

    I have received a box with 40 samples from a Swiss seller of copies of popular perfumes. Some of these are really convincing, others are not, or I have no clue what the originals are. I suppose that modern technology allows to identify the ingredients of any perfume almost completely in some cases, and at 100% in others. That would eliminate the myth of secret formulas. If it's legal to produce exact copies of famous brands I am surprised that Paris wouldn't have a number of small boutiques where you can buy your Chanel, Bandit, the old formula Mitsoukos with real oakmoss, etc. either cheaper or in better qualities. Or am I the only innocente not having web addresses for Villoresi's Best, reassembled, sold in plain bottles at half price? Turin would have a ball!
    Last edited by narcus; 2nd June 2007 at 08:02 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  20. #20

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    When it comes to fragrances, you can patent a name but you can't patent ingredients. Unless you invented the ingredient yourself.

    An example would be Mrs. Fields cookies.
    She wasn’t the first to sell chocolate chip cookies. It’s basically flour, sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate chips etc. She just added more of this and less of that and sold it under her own name. Anyone of us, given an entrepreneurial spirit, could do the same.
    Last edited by mason; 2nd June 2007 at 03:52 PM.

  21. #21

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by mason View Post
    When it comes to fragrances, you can patent a name but you can't patent ingredients. Unless you invented the ingredient yourself. An example would be Mrs. Fields cookies.
    She wasn’t the first to sell chocolate chip cookies. It’s basically flour, sugar, eggs, butter, chocolate chips etc. She just added more of this and less of that and sold it under her own name. Anyone of us, given an entrepreneurial spirit, could do the same.
    I agree. There was no 'original' to be copied.The recipe was common knowledge, and baking cookies is a craft, not an art. Tabac Blond however, or Chanel 5 (plus a huge lot of others) are original perfumes.They are not remakes of something that had existed as some kind of 'common property' before.

    The thinking about the nature of perfume production (art or craft) is changing in Europe. Turin and many experts today believe that perfume design is an art, and major parfumeurs receive more recognition now than probably was the case during the past three centuries. In analogy to music, fragrant compositions could soon be considered worth legal protection as intellectual property.

    There had obviously been legal issues in France (around 2002-04) when the industry discussed possible criteria for detecting copies, and standards to avoid them. But too many big companies had been involved in copying, and so the matter was dropped like a hot potato, and no results were published.More about this in Turins 'Base Notes' and his blog. Key: 'copy'.

    In 2006, the Tresor-Lancome case in the Netherlands caused some attention. Find details here (a lot more can be found on the internet):
    “Copyright in the Courts: Perfume as Artistic Expression?” http://www.wipo.int/wipo_magazine/en...icle_0001.html

    And further back here:
    “The sweet smell of success: copyright in perfumes established in the Netherlands" http://ipkitten.blogspot.com/2004/07/guest-blog-sweet-smell-of-success.html
    The very latest I found on this matter is dated June2, 07: "Perfume is Now Covered by Copyright" http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/art...=1456&deptid=7

    Last edited by narcus; 4th June 2007 at 06:16 PM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  22. #22

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    The very latest I found on this matter is dated June2, 07: "Perfume is Now Covered by Copyright" http://www.ipfrontline.com/depts/art...=1456&deptid=7
    And the penultimate sentence of this article is:
    "This decision seem likely to be reversed, ..."

    This decision by some Dutch court is the height of absurdity.
    All these moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

  23. #23

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    Quote Originally Posted by dcampen View Post
    And the penultimate sentence of this article is:
    "This decision seem likely to be reversed, ..." This decision by some Dutch court is the height of absurdity.
    Well, L'Oreal has won another case (also subject to appeal, of course) this time in France.http://www.managingip.com/default.as...02&LS=EMS77676 I think the time for Kecofa to revert the decision has elapsed a while a go.
    Stakes will get higher with quickly growing industrialization and competition in other parts of the world. Legislation also may change before long in Europe. The position of a perfumer is much stronger these days. It will be interesting to see what happens when copies of Musk Ravageur and Ambre Sultan will flood the markets simultaneously.

    I just saw an article on the LesNez Website (The Unicorn Spell, Lion .../ Isabelle Doyen) that sheds a light on this from another angle: http://lesnez.com/Neue_Dateien/SandrineArt1(E).html
    The idea of a change in law and/or jurisdiction is being seriously considered, in Europe at least, and it may not be as absurd as some still see it. Kecofa originally proclaimed to carry this to the European court. Something must have made them revert that decision.
    Last edited by narcus; 6th June 2007 at 10:46 AM.
    'Il mondo dei profumi è un universo senza limiti: una fraganza puo rievocare sensazioni, luoghi, persone o ancora condurre in uno spazio di nuove dimensioni emozionali' L. V.

  24. #24

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    As I see it - and hear it discussed:

    The perfumers (independents and at the respected companies) would like to be protected a little better.

    At the L'Oreal-case a perfume was, I think, withdrawn from the market. But then L'Oreal is a strong company who can flush down a lot of cash in a legal case.

    Particularly the independents feel they are at the wrong end of the stick because their stuff is on the desks of the copyists and nothing can be done.

    From the artistic side the "Parfumeurs - Créateurs" should, in my opinion, be regarded as artists. There is a copyright in literature, art and music. I feel it should be the same. for them.

    Creating a perfume is not only hard work but the result of long studies and in some cases a long life. Inspired perfumes are the product of inspired mind. So inspiration plays a large part in it. Remember Marcellos Article last week. He was amazed at what goes in a perfume. Basically the perfumers whole life is in his perfumes.

    He should be rewarded accordingly.

    Best - René Schifferle - LesNez

  25. #25

    Default Re: Scent copying: what are the legal restrictions?

    As they are cosmetic materials their consistency should be known by departments like FDA or else. I had a friend who was working at TSE ( Turkish Standarts Institution) in Turkey. Once I asked her about this matter, because there are lot of free fragrance shop in Turkey where you can buy replica of a lot of wel known brands. She told me that they know the consistency and amount of each notes on all of the imported products and if you ask for it you can get the information for a little price. No once can stop you reproducing it. It is just like making beer or wine. The only difference is that they use cheap artifical/synthetic versicon of some expensive notes, they don't pay a lot of money for the bottle design, for the advertisement and for the brand name. That is why they are cheaper than the original fragrances.

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