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Hasbro Has Officially Trademarked the Smell of Your Childhood: Play-Doh

Illustration for article titled Hasbro Has Officially Trademarked the Smell of Your Childhood: Play-Doh
Photo: Hasbro

I have some bad news if you’ve created a perfume that has a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla-like fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, and the natural smell of a salted, wheat-based dough. That’s exactly how Hasbro describes the scent of Play-Doh, a smell that many of us associate with out childhoods, and a smell that the toy maker has officially now trademarked.

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Illustration for article titled Hasbro Has Officially Trademarked the Smell of Your Childhood: Play-Doh
Image: United States Patent and Trademark Office

Although various forms of modelling clay predate Play-Doh by many years, the toy, which was created in 1956 and patented in 1965, has become the “Kleenex” or “Velcro” of nondescript blobs of malleable material. Kids don’t ask to play with clay, they ask to play with Play-Doh, which is probably one of the reasons Hasbro decided to trademark and protect one of the toy’s recognizable features.

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The company has assured us there are currently no plans for litigation now that the trademark is official. “Registering the iconic Play-Doh scent as a trademark gives Hasbro a whole host of fun and creative opportunities in the future, but in the present moment, plans are not currently set,” a Hasbro representative told Gizmodo. Does this mean that Play-Doh-scented fragrances on the horizon?

[BusinessWire]

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DISCUSSION

Well, learned something new. I thought you couldn’t trademark a scent at all, but you can as long as the scent applies to your brand as a whole (for the most part), not an individual product. So, a perfume maker can’t trademark a scent since most of their products smell different, but Play-Doh can since all their products smell the same. Another example would be making all your stores smell the same. If you aren’t selling the scent itself as a product (like a perfume), you could, in theory, trademark the scent of the store.

That said, there’s a reason no one bothers trademarking scents and that’s because it’s very hard to prove someone is violating your trademark (unless they’re using the same formula as you, in which case, that would be better covered by copyright, not trademark). A US official would need to sniff both scents and determine if there is a violation or not.