Originally posted 2014-11-21 11:00:03.
By Gloria Han | amdlawgroup.com
Kimiya Shams argues that intellectual property law should protect fragrances. Competition between fragrance companies, mainly in Europe, is on the rise. In 2012, the global fragrance market was valued at $28 billion dollars and companies spend around 7 to 12 percent of their revenues from perfume sales in research alone. If a brand sells the most popular fragrance, its revenue can easily exceed one billion dollars per year. Chanel’s famous No. 5, which is sold every 55 seconds, is not protected by intellectual property rights. In 2006, the French Supreme Court deemed perfumes couldn’t be protected under French copyright law because the combination of essences is not necessarily a creation. Ironically, Holland’s High Court held that perfumes could be protected under copyright laws. Even the European Court concluded that perfumes constituted trademark infringement. However, intellectual property protection for fragrances is still not clear and may result in consequences that will harm many companies.
How? Today’s fragrance industry is overrun with large companies whose products imitators can’t wait to counterfeit and make a profit off of. The perfume industry is interdependent on the relationships among suppliers, perfumers, consumer brands, and fragrance houses. With no protection for originality or creativity, the fragrance industry is susceptible to less new products and more copycats at lower costs. This will evidently lower production in the European Union and increase production in markets with lower labor costs. European Union’s Trade Marks Directive is changing to allow trademark registrations of non-visual forms. We need intellectual property in order to protect creativity and not lose innovative ideas.