French leathergoods and perfumery company, Eden SARL, Paris, failed at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to trademark the ‘smell of ripe strawberries’, because judges deemed this insufficiently precise. The firm had cited a case where the ECJ had ruled non-visual signs, such as sounds or odours, could become trademarks if ‘they can be represented graphically’, for instance a ‘scratch-and-sniff’ mark.

However, judges said Eden’s proposed graphical sign, which would have covered leather wallets, purses, bags, harnesses, clothing and shoes, did not adequately depict ripe strawberries. Furthermore, the court found various strawberry varieties can ‘have a different smell’, making it impossible to ‘identify…the olfactory sign…with precision.’