Hasbro® recently received a registration for “a scent of a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough.”
Yup, the smell of Play-Doh® is now a registered trademark. It wasn’t easy, but Hasbro did it. Here are two of the hurdles Hasbro faced and met:
Prove the Scent Doesn’t Come From Anything Functional
You can register a scent (or other non-traditional) trademark only if it’s non-functional: You can’t register the scent of a perfume because the scent is the product.
Hasbro had to prove that the ingredients that cause the scent didn’t help Play-Doh remain hydrated or improve its texture or pliability. Hasbro had to send in a sample of Play-Doh without the added scent so the examiner could compare Play-Doh’s natural scent and other characteristics to the scented product.
Prove the Scent Is Recognized By Consumers As Play-Doh
The examiner also made Hasbro prove that consumers recognize the scent as being particular to Play-Doh. Hasbro responded with facts, figures, and hundreds of pages of evidence about the distinctiveness and recognizability of the scent, including quotes from Fortune magazine, ABC News and the New York Times. Hasbro also submitted evidence of its “Stop and Smell the Play-Doh” ad campaign.
The impressive list of questions Hasbro had to answer and requests Hasbro had to fulfill is below.
It’s totally cool that Hasbro got this registration. It deserves it.
Big shout out to Eric B. for the idea for this post!
Here is a list of the questions that the Trademark Office examiner required Hasbro to answer:
(1) A written statement as to whether the applied-for mark, or any feature(s) thereof, is or has been the subject of a design or utility patent or patent application, including expired patents and abandoned patent applications. Applicant must also provide copies of the patent and/or patent application documentation.
(2) Advertising, promotional, and/or materials concerning the applied-for mark, specifically promoting or referencing the applied-for scent in the applied-for mark.
(3) A written explanation and evidence as to whether there are alternative compositions available for the ingredients in the scent in the applied-for mark, and whether such alternative compositions are equally efficient and/or competitive. Applicant must also provide a written explanation and documentation concerning similar scents used by competitors.
(4) A written explanation as to whether the ingredients in the applied-for scent are naturally occurring in the modeling compound or whether applicant has added these ingredients to its product.
(5) If applicant has added this scent, applicant should describe or submit a sample of what the product smells like without this additive.
(6) A written explanation as to whether there are any functional advantages to the ingredients in the applied-for scent over other scents.
(7) A written explanation as to whether the ingredients in scent allows applicant’s modeling compound to remain hydrated longer.
(8) A written explanation as to whether the ingredients in applicant’s scent allows the modeling compound to be more easily dyed or better hold its color.
(9) A written explanation as to whether the texture of applicant’s modeling compound is effected by the ingredients in the applied-for scent.
(10) A written explanation as to whether the pliability of applicant’s modeling compound is effected by the ingredients in the applied-for scent.
(11) If the applied-for scent allows the modeling compound to remain hydrated longer, be more easily dyed, hold its color better, provides a more consistent texture, affects the pliability of the goods or provides any other benefit to the goods, then applicant must provide a written explanation as to whether another scent would be as effective as the applied-for scent.
(12) A written explanation as to whether the applied-for scent has any advantage over other scents in applicant’s field.
(13) A written explanation as to whether applicant is aware of any competitors using a scent in toy modeling compounds.
(14) A written explanation as to whether the applied-for scent is the result of the use of wheat or winter wheat in the applied-for goods.
(15) A written explanation as to whether the applied-for goods come in various colors. If they do, do all the colors have the same scent or do particular colors have specific scents? If the applied-for goods are sold in white, does it also have the same scent?