As of now, the scent of an orange simply belongs to nature. But depending on the outcome of a pending decision by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, a particular orange scent could soon belong to Flotek Industries, a Texas producer of hydraulic-fracturing fluids, which they’ve developed to smell like orange juice.
Over at the Wall Street Journal, Jacob Gershman explores how a few companies are trying to trademark their brands’ signature scents. Companies that have recently secured trademarks for their smells include Verizon Wireless, for the “flowery musk” that perfumes their stores, and a U.S. ukulele company, for its instruments’ piña colada aroma. Companies attempting to trademark their scents include United Airlines, which is planning to file a trademark application for its “Landing” fragrance–the heady mix of orange peel, sandalwood, cedar, and leather that gets wafted through the airline’s lounges and boarding bridges at Chicago O’Hare Airport.
These examples point to a larger role scent is taking in contemporary branding. As a company’s scents become more recognizable and important to its brand, they’ll be more likely to be stolen by competitors or imitators.