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Mar 25, 2022Legal
Can Perfumes or Fragrances Be Patented?

From its origins in France, the perfume industry has had a reputation for secrecy since the sixteenth century where the masters carefully guarded their formulas. This has probably influenced the perfumes to be protected usually by trade secrets. However nowadays with technological advancements such as Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry have made things difficult. With this method you can separate the components in a fragrance and then deduct the chemical formula with a high accuracy. Once this information has been acquired legally using these reverse engineering methods, you aren’t protected anymore.
All of the above has made the fragrance industries to see for other methods of IP protection. Perfume making as a method cannot be patented, it’s composition surely can. As a matter of fact, there is an entire class named as Class 512 on USPTO patent system that is dedicated to perfume compositions. However even when it comes to patents, many big names in fragrance industry are reluctant to get patent protection for their fragrances. Not only a patent forces them to disclose the formula but also it provides them only 20 years of protection. This may be a long time for other industries but in perfume industry, the more longevity a product has, the more its value.

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