The Nose Always Knows: Copyright Issues in Perfume Protection 

Ayonee Madhani
Pravin Gandhi College Of Law, India.

Volume II – Issue I, 2020

In the present scenario, Intellectual Property Rights (“IPR”) awareness forms a strong basis to different technological innovations and knowledge-based economy; there is no doubt that the importance of IPR is going to increase in the future endeavors of innovators. Perfume has been described as vocabulary of music. For the longest time in the history of IPR, the possibility of protecting a scent has been a debatable subject as discussed in various decisions of the European Intellectual Property Office (EUIPO), EU courts as well as foreign courts. Originality is the pillar on which IPR stands strong. IPR has the power to boost innovations, give recognition as well as economic benefits to innovators who are constantly attempting to make our lives easier. This article aims to address the issues of faced in copyright application of fragrance, smell, scent as well as perfume and shall highlight the appropriate scope of protection for perfume copyrights. The article begins with a brief introduction of fragrances and perfumes. Next, it scrutinizes for and against arguments for perfume copyright protection and the appropriate scope of such copyright protection. Third, it analyzes the recent Dutch and French decisions on perfume copyright protection and understands the two different set of approaches over the same dispute of perfume protection under IPR laws. Following the extensive issues and benefits of perfume copyright protection, the article will conclude that courts should recognize copyright protection in perfumes, but should also be careful to restrict such protections only to bottled perfumes so as not to unfairly create trade competition barriers in the perfume industry.


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