May 2018. Toy manufacturer Hasbro has registered the smell of its well-known Play Doh modelling clay as a trademark in the US. The United States Patent and Trademark Office accepted the registration on 15 May.

‘Slightly musky’

According to Hasbro, the distinctive smell of Play Doh is known and loved by fans around the world. ‘The distinctive smell has consistently served as a hallmark of the brand, and after more than six decades providing children with a source of imaginative and creative play, the scent has become increasingly recognizable among children, parents and grandparents alike’ according to a press release of the company. In its application, the company described the smell as follows: ‘The mark is the scent of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough’.

Not in the EU

Although the EU Trademark Office also accepts a wide range of unusual and exotic trademarks from sound marks to movement and gesture marks, it isn’t likely to extend protection to scent marks. The description registered in the US for the scent mark would probably not qualify for registration as it is not precise, self-contained, intelligible and objective (the so-called Sieckmann criteria).

Bas Kist