New Law Allows Smell and Touch Feeling to Become Trademark

Jun 20, 2012 Ι Industry In-Focus Ι Furniture Ι By Philip Liu, CENS
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Taipei, June 20, 2012 (CENS)--Revised Trademark Law will take effect on July 1, allowing trademark applications for mobile image, full graph (laser graph), and smell or touch feeling.

Wang Mei-hua, director general of Intellectual Property Office, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, explained that presently, the U.S., European Union, and Singapore all allow applications for the aforementioned trademarks. However, due to difficulty in written description, there have been few cases for approval of smell or touch-feeling trademarks internationally. Some approved cases include engine oil with cherry odor, thread with flower aroma, and tennis ball with grass aroma. In the U.S., two wine bottles with leather and velvet feeling have been approved to be used as trademark.

The inherent smell of some commodities cannot be used as trademark, such as flower aroma for perfume, leather smell for leather products. Smell frequently added to commodities also cannot become a trademark, such as lemon aroma for detergent. In addition, functional smell cannot be used for applying trademark, such as the lemon smell or lavender smell added to bleach to cover the latter's offensive odor.

For mobile image and full graph, the Intellectual Property Office cites the example of mobile film for turning on mobile phone, or roaring lion or the Stature of Liberty at the beginning of movie. Other examples include bird image or laser image of world map on credit card, which can help consumers identify the sources of the commodities or specific service suppliers.
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