Smells Like Trademark Protection: Copycat Perfumes Cannot Engage in Comparative Advertising, on Odor of the Court

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L’Oreal scored a major victory in trademark protection against smell-alike perfumes this past month in England's Court of Appeal. In L’Oréal v. Bellure, the court held that Bellure's use of lists in its advertising that compared its perfumes' scents to those of well-known L'Oréal perfumes constituted trademark infringement. This widely-reported decision indicates a sea change in European trademark law, which is now recognizing the marketing and monetary effort a company expends when creating and maintaining trademarks. It also is a broad decision, perhaps having wide-ranging effects in other industries. This decision implements judgment in the European Court of Justice – the highest court in the European Union. Thus, the decision in this case applies to all of Europe.

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