Nauta Dutilh IP partner Charles Gielen helped make history last summer when his client, Lancôme, won its groundbreaking copyright dispute in the Court of Appeal of Den Bosch in the Netherlands. The highly controversial decision for the first time gave perfume the same legal protection as any other copyrighted material.
The dispute centred on whether recipes, including perfumes, were merely the sum of their ingredients, and therefore not capable of gaining copyright protection, or a unique blend amounting to an original work of authorship. A rival and cheaper perfume than Lancôme’s ‘Tresor’, called ‘Female Treasure’, which was produced by the defendant Kecofa, was found to be nothing more than a deliberate imitation.
The case not only recognised the creativity involved in making perfume, but as Gielen said, "shows that IP law is still open to change, and that with thorough legal analysis, in combination with sophisticated research methods, hitherto unthinkable solutions can be reached."