Friday, August 04, 2006

The Sweet Smell of Infringement

Here is a link to an article about a ruling from the Dutch Supreme Court ruling that there is copyright protection for a fragrance, and that it was infringed. Plaintiff L'Oreal has a fragrance "Tresor." Defendant Dutch company Kecofa put out a supposedly similar fragrance "Female Treasure." (No comment from me about that).

According to L'Oreal, 23 of the 26 most important chemicals used to create Tresor were used in Female Treasure. Tresor not surprisingly retails for a much higher amount. Leon Meels, a spokesman for Kecofa, is reported as saying: “Everybody who knows anything about this thinks it is ridiculous. Where are the boundaries? Are companies going to claim that they have the rights to the taste of vanilla or the smell of lilies? L’OrĂ©al’s real problem with us is that we are offering a product that is too inexpensive and they have to protect their profits.”

There would be no claim under U.S. copyright law, so does this mean we Americans will be able to smell better for less internationally, finally?

3 comments:

Crosbie Fitch said...

I'm surprised you didn't entitle your piece: "A rose by any other name"

:-)

joshua wattles said...

There would be no claim under U.S. copyright law, so does this mean we Americans will be able to smell better for less internationally, finally?

No, it means that the USTR and the Copyright Office will respond favorably to an American subsidiary of an EU company engaged in the perfume business that hired a K-Street lobbying outfit to hit all the major players in the House and Senate Judiciary committees and a DC law firm to draft a proposed Olfactory Copyright Act of 2006. The OCA will waft through to passage and will be signed quickly into law (Laura Bush has a guilty penchant for small vials of very expensive parfums). So fueled, the State Department will push for a WIPO treaty change and the EU parent company will find itself in the catbird seat, newly empowered to the same level of its pharmaceutical cousins in Switzerland with their patented medicines except that the perfumes get life of the author-plus-70 protection. NASDAQ listings will follow with some friends and family shares to the friends and family of their legislative team. And before you know it, the perfumers will become diversified into gaming, films and Internet properties distracted by the promise of new smell-o-rama technologies after initial successes with the X-Box 360-3D offering “Halo 3 - - Alien Sweat.”

William Patry said...

PU!