Did you know you can federally register a scent as a brand? Hasbro, Inc.’s recent registration of the smell of Play-Doh “toy modeling compounds” has highlighted one of the lesser-known brand categories: scents.
The United States defines a trademark as any “word, name, symbol, or device, or any combination thereof…to identify and distinguish his or her goods.” Trademark attorneys usually short-hand this explanation and note that trademarks are source identifiers – something unique that consumers associate solely with one source. Source identifiers can be words (MCDONALD’S), logos (the Nike Swoosh), colors (pink for Owens-Corning fiberglass insulation), packaging designs (the Coca-Cola glass bottle shape), product designs (the Lego person figurine), store layouts (the Apple Store layout and features), motion (the MGM lion roaring), sounds (the NBC chimes), scents (the Le Vian chocolate smell in jewelry stores), and even flavors (the Original Rainbow Cone, Inc. owns a registration for five flavors of ice cream, arranged in a particular order and sold on a cone). In each case, consumers recognize the visual, auditory, or olfactory reference with a specific provider. Continue Reading