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Perfume Name Usage

Posted: Sun Sep 03, 2017 9:52 pm
by neilb
Hi there

I am looking to market some cosmetics which contain fragrance oils based around popular perfumes.

I purchase these oils online and all have the relevant safety certificates etc but I was not quite sure of the legality of using the actual perfume name.

I think I am right in saying that I could not put for instance "Armani Code" on the bottle as Armani would be trademarked but I was not sure of the legalities of using "code" or less common words such flowerbomb.

To use the likes of flowerbomb would I have to put something like inspired by flowerbomb or flowerbomb type?

I am a little confused as I purchase the oils with the names clearly written on the bottles and I am not sure that it right.

Any advice would be great fully received.


Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:13 am
by AndyJ
Hi neilb

You are right that the main obstacle you face is that of registered trade marks. But there is also the matter of passing off which I will cover in a moment.

You can be sure that almost all perfume brands will be registered as trade marks. That certainly applies to the words Code and Flowerbomb as well as phrases containing variations (eg Flowerbomb Velvet Sensation and Nature's Code), or words which sound similar such as Kode.

The question you need to ask yourself is why you want to use a name which is similar to an existing brand that uses the same scent. If it is in order to associate the two perfumes in the mind of the potential purchaser, then you will almost certainly run the danger of being sued for passing off. Or at the very least, of having any listings for your product on sites like ebay or Amazon removed at the request of the bona fide perfume manufacturer.

Perfume manufacturers are renowned for taking action of this kind because they know the importance of protecting their brand image and sales. Indeed in some cases they have been successful in getting their own genuine product removed from ebay sellers' listings because they deem this sort of discounted sale undermines the cachet of their brand.

Some companies have gone as far as trying to register the actual scent used in their perfumes as trade marks, given how distinctive they can be. However to date, I believe all such attempts have failed within the EU because there is no objective way to describe a smell in order for it to meet the rules surrounding trade mark registrations. That said, there have been succesful attempts to do this in the USA.

Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 2:58 pm
by neilb
Thanks very much Andy

I did suspect that this was the case but thanks for confirming it.

I just wonder how the numerous sites selling designer fragrance oil get round this?
Do you think it helps putting "inspired by" on their bottles and having a disclaimer on their site that they are not affiliated with the original brand or are they just changing their arm?

Posted: Mon Sep 04, 2017 7:57 pm
by AndyJ
Hi again neilb,

Putting a disclaimer in their advertising is unlikely to protect them against schemes like Ebay's VERO or Amazon's equivalent, so I suspect that they are prepared for a certain amount of attrition and hide behind a succession of throw-away email addresses and URLs registered in countries which don't have strong IP enforcement, making it difficult for the perfume manufacturers to do more than shut them down, rather than get prosecutions which hurt them.

Posted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:06 am
by neilb
Thanks again Andy. Much appreciated.