nettime's_roving_reporter on Fri, 26 May 2000 20:10:44 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime> First European Patent on Smells Granted

Game, scent and match for grassy tennis balls

THE scent of freshly mown grass could soon be smeared on tennis balls after
a landmark European ruling.

The Dutch marketing firm Senta has secured the first EU-wide trademark for
a fragrance and registered the "smell of fresh cut grass". Senta is
planning to name the tennis balls Scenter Court and it tested 14 grass
fragrances - including clay court and hay - before opting for the freshly
cut grass odour. None of the scented balls has, however, yet been produced.

Senta first applied to the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market
for permission to register rights to a smell in 1998, but the application
was rejected. Yesterday the verdict overturned. "Everybody said it wouldn't
work, now they are amazed," said Deseree Stryk of Senta.

Now the company hopes that its victory will lead to businesses being
allowed to register rights for smells linked with products - a matter of
particular interest to the perfume industry, which at present can
trademarking only its name or logo rather than the fragrance itself.

The body governing British trademarks has already granted exclusive rights
over two smells - the whiff of beer on dart flights and the scent of roses
on tyres. America and other individual European countries have also granted
smells trademark status, and lawyers are now hoping for more EU-wide

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