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IP's Next Big Wave - Taste & Smell Patents

samzenpus posted more than 9 years ago | from the I-believe-that-stink-is-mine dept.

Patents 193

Magnavox writes "Futurist Thomas Frey has written an article about Monday's Nobel Prize in medicine opening the door for taste & smell patents. Dr. Richard Axel and Dr. Linda B. Buck won the prize for scientifically describing how odor-sensing proteins in the nose translate specific tastes and smells into information in the brain. Patenting smells in the past was limited to describing the chemical composition of the substance. Receptor patterning opens the door for a variety of new patenting possibilities... Perhaps more important will be the decision as to whether smells can be trademarked as symbols of the products or services they represent. Sounds and colors are commonly trademarked today because of the commercial impression they leave on consumers. Smells cannot be far behind. Now I'm wondering if we can patent the smell of money."

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Patent office here I come (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457179)

The patent for the smell of teen spirit is going to make me rich once the 90's become fashionable again!

Patents are getting ridiculous (2)

antivoid (751399) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457435)

Really, patents are getting old. Everyone is patenting things! I feel that stopping other people from improving upon things by patenting them stifles research and drastically slows any improvement or technological forwarding of humanity in general. There should be a GPL-like patent - i.e. almost like an anti-patent. Just to screw those people who want to patent something, the GPL-patent should "patent" things under the name of the entire human population. How's that? :)

Re:Patents are getting ridiculous (2, Interesting)

mirko (198274) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457460)

It should be taken as an opportunity to just consider if it's better to let corporations patent smell or not to : I mean that if it doesn't prevent them from making money on smells, then why should they patent these ?
Because they're about to make smells 100% reproductible ?
In the latter case, though I do not agree with the whole patenting system, I might agree that some would like their "smell" to be protected from this 100% perfect-clonability... even though I guess there's a chemical involved from which the smell originates and which could be patented without changing a word in the patent office charter.

Re:Patents are getting ridiculous (2, Informative)

CrackerJack9 (819843) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457525)

If you improve upon something that is already patented, you can apply for a new patent...its called patent law.

FP!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457182)

FP!!

here we go again (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457185)

oh boy...

My first patent (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457192)

Is the smell of my ass!

Any buyers?

Re:My first patent (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457215)

You'll be rich! Just walk through a park with an attorney and sue dog owners!

MICHAEL SIMS IS A WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457193)

I WANT A PATENT ON THE SMELL OF MY SHIT TRAVELLING DOWN MICHAEL SIMS' THROAT.

3.1415926535897932384626433832795028841971693993 75 1058209749445923078164062862
08998628034825342117 067982148086513282306647093844 6095505822317253594081284811
17450284102701938521 105559644622948954930381964428 8109756659334461284756482337
86783165271201909145 648566923460348610454326648213 3936072602491412737245870066
06315588174881520920 962829254091715364367892590360 0113305305488204665213841469
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02179860943702770539 217176293176752384674818467669 4051320005681271452635608277
85771342757789609173 637178721468440901224953430146 5495853710507922796892589235
42019956112129021960 864034418159813629774771309960 5187072113499999983729780499
51059731732816096318 595024459455346908302642522308 2533446850352619311881710100
03137838752886587533 208381420617177669147303598253 4904287554687311595628638823
53787593751957781857 780532171226806613001927876611 1959092164201989380952572010
65485863278865936153 381827968230301952035301852968 9957736225994138912497217752
83479131515574857242 454150695950829533116861727855 8890750983817546374649393192
55060400927701671139 009848824012858361603563707660 1047101819429555961989467678
37449448255379774726 847104047534646208046684259069 4912933136770289891521047521
62056966024058038150 193511253382430035587640247496 4732639141992726042699227967
82354781636009341721 641219924586315030286182974555 7067498385054945885869269956
90927210797509302955 321165344987202755960236480665 4991198818347977535663698074
26542527862551818417 574672890977772793800081647060 0161452491921732172147723501
41441973568548161361 157352552133475741849468438523 3239073941433345477624168625
18983569485562099219 222184272550254256887671790494 6016534668049886272327917860
85784383827967976681 454100953883786360950680064225 1252051173929848960841284886
26945604241965285022 210661186306744278622039194945 0471237137869609563643719172

Re:MICHAEL SIMS IS A WORTHLESS PIECE OF SHIT (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457450)

you should have stopped here :
3.141592653589793238462643383279502884197169399375 1058209749445923078164062862
08998628034825342117 067982148086513282306647093844 6095505822317253594081284811
17450284102701938521 105559644622948954930381964428 8109756659334461284756482337
86783165271201909145 648566923460348610454326648213 3936072602491412737245870066
06315588174881520920 962829254091715364367892590360 0113305305488204665213841469
51941511609433057270 365759591953092186117381932611 7931051185480744623799627495
67351885752724891227 938183011949129833673362440656 6430860213949463952247371907
02179860943702770539 217176293176752384674818467669 4051320005681271452635608277
85771342757789609173 637178721468440901224953430146 5495853710507922796892589235
42019956112129021960 864034418159813629774771309960 51870721134999999

Quick, buy a car. (1)

Evil Poot Cat (69870) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457197)

Seal it up somewhere, for prior art on New Car Smell. ;-)

next time i releave gas.... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457199)

you better get a patent if you eat limi beans and hot dogs, cuz that patent is mine!

Re:next time i releave gas.... (1, Funny)

BottleCup (691335) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457234)

Its weird how, in reaction to this article, everyone wants to patent stuff that goes out their own rear end.

Re:next time i releave gas.... (1)

slarshdot (211836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457286)

My cats breath smells like cat food!

Best of luck collecting.... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457528)

if you catch me infringing on your patent, intellectual property will be the least of your worries.

Maybe I should patent the smell of gunpowder... (2, Funny)

mrchaotica (681592) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457205)

...so I can profit when the people revolt against the insane corporate-controlled government!

Re:Maybe I should patent the smell of gunpowder... (1)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457255)

"I love the smell of napalm in the morning"

Obligatory quote from Apocalypse Now

Re:Maybe I should patent the smell of gunpowder... (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457508)

OMFG!!!1 I thought that quote was from the Muppets go to the Moon!

Thanks for clearing that up Bull999999!

As an aside - were you hoping for a +1 Insightful or a -1 Offtopic with that post?

Patent This (1)

illuminata (668963) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457208)

Now I'm wondering if we can patent the smell of money.

Only if we can patent the smell of liberal.

*Whiff Whiff*

Little bit of dirt.

*Whiff Whiff*

Flowers.

*Whiff Whiff*

Some sweat.

*Whiff Whiff*

Hmm, something kinda watery, maybe a few tears.

Re:Patent This (-1, Offtopic)

Fjornir (516960) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457227)

...you forgot the bleeding heart!

Re:Patent This (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457305)

What does this have to do with anything? Is the word "liberal" the "nigger" of the 1950's?

Stinking patents... (4, Funny)

n54 (807502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457210)

...will hasten patent reforms ;)

A few beefs (5, Interesting)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457218)

I'm an IP attorney, and I have a few beefs with this article.

1. In one sentence Frey refers to trademarks of smells, and then in the next sentence wonders if smell patents can be close behind. For the last f'ing time, patents != trademarks.

Patent: protects an invention (but not an idea itself)
Trademark: identifies a source of goods or services (usually through a name or logo)

Patents and trademark are quite different, so please stop confusing them- especially people writing scholarly articles.

2. There are not "many" color or sound trademarks. There are very few sound trademarks- the NBC chime comes to mind, and Harley Davidson recently lost their attempt to trademark the Harley engine sound. As for colors, you can get your trademark in a specific color (to distinguish it from similar marks, but there are very few color only trademarks. The only one I know of is Orange, which gets the color orange for cell phones. Using colors for trademarks is more of a European thing, as the US only within the last year began accepting color drawings in trademark applications.

3. I think Frey is going too far. Sure patent attorneys like to stretch the limits of the law for their clients (like all attorneys), but there needs to be something codified in the law to allow patenting of a smell. Currently a smell by itself does not reach the minimum definition of patentable subject matter. To have something that is patentable, you need a physical invention that does something useful, and I don't see how a smell in itself provides this usefulness. I can see smell as part of an invention, such as a fire alarm system or adding smells to movies. Throwing out wild hypotheticals, I guess you could patent a smell that makes the person inhaling it do a specific reaction- but then that raises ethical questions that the patent office might use as a rejection.

There is something called a design patent, which protects the ornamental features of an invention (like the propeller people put on their trailer hitches). With a design patent, you do not have claim any useful features, you just show drawings. This could logically be extended to smells, but you need to have a change in the laws.

Re:A few beefs (2, Interesting)

ChuckSchwab (813568) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457259)

2. There are not "many" color or sound trademarks. There are very few sound trademarks- the NBC chime comes to mind, and Harley Davidson recently lost their attempt to trademark the Harley engine sound. As for colors, you can get your trademark in a specific color (to distinguish it from similar marks, but there are very few color only trademarks. The only one I know of is Orange, which gets the color orange for cell phones. Using colors for trademarks is more of a European thing, as the US only within the last year began accepting color drawings in trademark applications.

I think he meant that there are trademarks of logos that involve colors and trademarks of jingles that involve sounds, not that a solitary color or sound itself can be trademarked. (the implication being that there would be trademarks that are partly smell)

Re:A few beefs (3, Insightful)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457285)

I think he meant that there are trademarks of logos that involve colors and trademarks of jingles that involve sounds, not that a solitary color or sound itself can be trademarked. (the implication being that there would be trademarks that are partly smell)

Adding colors to logos and marks expands the amount of marks available. It expands the possible permutations available, and gives you a way to differentiate marks that might be considered similar. You cannot trademark a sound & words- that would be covered by copyright, which is a whole different kettle of fish.

That said, it's taken 100 years for colors to be brought into the international trademark framework, and very few sounds. I doubt smells will be included in our lifetime.

Re:A few beefs (4, Interesting)

lspd (566786) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457374)

That said, it's taken 100 years for colors to be brought into the international trademark framework, and very few sounds. I doubt smells will be included in our lifetime.

But the changes are very recent, and there's every indication that "IP Rights" will continue to be rapidly expanded in the near future.

From Ladas & Parry LLP [ladas.com] an IP law firm.

However, until recently, United States courts were still divided over the issue of single color marks.[8] Finally, on March 28, 1995 the United States Supreme Court resolved unanimously that, "sometimes, a color will meet ordinary legal trademark requirements. And, when it does so, no special rule prevents color alone from serving as a trademark."[9] However, the Court held implicitly that single colors may not be inherently distinctive, but like descriptive marks or words, may only be protected when they have acquired a secondary meaning through use. The Court also found that the green-gold color at issue served no function other than as an identifier and the Court dismissed the "color depletion" problem raised by the plaintiffs.

...

Marks consisting of scents are the most problematic. In addition to the practical difficulties of describing such marks sufficiently to determine where conflicts may exist, there is little legislation or jurisprudence on the subject. A scent mark was first recognized in 1990 in the United States, where a scent, described as a high impact, fresh, floral fragrance reminiscent of plumeria blossoms, applied to sewing thread, was deemed a registrable trademark.

So it seems that we already have smells incorporated into trademarks in the US. The original assertion that a precise system of describing smell may cause the doors to swing wide open.

Re:A few beefs (2, Interesting)

arctan1701 (635900) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457353)

not that a solitary color or sound itself can be trademarked.

IIRC, some 3M marketing postit notes claimed that the "Canary Yellow" color was a trademark. this was printed on the back of each note.

Re:A few beefs (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457427)

They might have a trademark on "canary yellow adhesive notes", but they couldn't trademark the colour itself.

Re:A few beefs (1)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457432)

"Canary Yellow" may be trademarked, but the color is not, just the name for it.

Re:A few beefs (2)

Bull999999 (652264) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457296)

I think Frey is going too far.

It's not suprising that he thinks that way considering at in the past, he also stated that;

Within the next ten years the income tax system in the United States will be dismantled. A number of emerging new forces coupled with the universal dislike of the system will soon gain enough of a toehold to cause it to collapse.

Re:A few beefs (4, Interesting)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457337)

To have something that is patentable, you need a physical invention that does something useful, and I don't see how a smell in itself provides this usefulness.
How about perfumes? I am sure Chanel would like to patent their Nr. 5 smell... after all this is the only useful feature you get when you buy an expensive bottle of the stuff. Currently the smell itself is not protected; and you can buy very similar copycat perfumes, the only thing they are not allowed to do is sell it under the name of Chanel.

Then again, manufacturers should be able to protect designer smells like perfumes. Not sure whether patents are the way to do this... and we don't want any 'one click'-like patents. Else I'd patent the smell of manure as a way to keep unwanted visitors off my land... and then give every farmer the choice of paying me royalties, or invent a manure that does not smell like mine.

Re:A few beefs (1)

Detritus (11846) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457400)

That's why we have trade secrets, which have the advantage of not being time limited.

Re:A few beefs (2, Informative)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457421)

trade secrets are only protected as long as you proteect them, if someone were to do a molecular analysis of chanel 5 and determine exactly what makes it smell the way it does they could easily release a new product indistinguishable from chanel 5, and sell it for $5/bottle.

Re:A few beefs (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457468)

As with many products in that price range (i.e. extremely over-priced to the lay persion), it's not always the product that they're paying for but the brand. Chanel could likely sell a mediocre-grade product with a large price-tag, just so people can brag about owning it.

My favorite example of this is a pair of flip-flops that Gucci sells (or sold at one point) for 120USD. The flip-flop is your standard black rubber sole with cloth thong strap flip-flop. Something that you could by at Wal*Mart (et.al.) for no more than $5. Of course the pair at your local discount store won't say "GUCCI" on them. This Gucci model has no functional or stylistic advantage over the generic version. In fact, it's probably made by the same manufacturer. Nevertheless, the consumer is paying for the brand.

The people that buy things like these flip-flops and Chanel #5 are the type of people who not only have enough money to do so (or have enough credit, at least), but who also like to prove it to people in their own "subtle" ways.

As such, even an chemically duplicated Chanel #5 selling for $5/bottle would undoubtedly not affect Chanel's sales.

Re:A few beefs (4, Insightful)

hazem (472289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457512)

if someone were to do a molecular analysis of chanel 5 and determine exactly what makes it smell the way it does they could easily release a new product indistinguishable from chanel 5, and sell it for $5/bottle

That's where branding becomes so important. Good companies work hard to build and protect their brands because customers will associate the brand with the product.

You could sell your knock-off product, but there will still be plenty of people who will pay more for the *real* Chanel. They *know* they are getting a good product that way.

For some reason, something in the human psyche reacts to branding. It's probably the basis for things like patriotism, racism, jingoism and esprit de corps.

Re:A few beefs (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457569)

I bet they would rather trade mark it.

They could then come after any knock offs no matter what the compound that makes the smell. They could also have the protection perpetually.

In fact, I bet they would not want to patant it, because then it would become public in a relativly short period of time. Unlike many things, the usefulness of that scent will be a very long time.

Re:A few beefs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457395)

To trademark smells, wouldn't you need a way to quantify them first so you can compare if two are similar (and a way to exactly reproduce an original reference smell that never degrades over time). With colors this is fairly easy, sound is harder but you can compare waveforms. Smell seems way out of reach right now.

Re:A few beefs (4, Interesting)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457402)

Patent: protects an invention (but not an idea itself)

What does that mean exactly? Why use a term that conveys no meaning like that unless you're deliberately trying to mislead people. Call a spade a spade man.

Patent: restricts what others can do with an invention (which can be an idea, cause that's all software is and it's patentable)

Slimey lawyer scum.

Sick of this crap (3, Funny)

mboverload (657893) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457222)

Next thing you know they will be patenting plants...

Oh....wait...

In other news.. (4, Funny)

euxneks (516538) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457223)

McDonald's patents the smell of grease! (+1 Insightful)

Microsoft patents the smell of money! (+1 Funny)

Your local movie theatre patents the smell of urine! (+1 Informative)

SCO patents the smell of shit! (-1 redundant)

Bah... I won't quit my day job.. Wait! I don't have one!

Re:In other news.. (1)

superpulpsicle (533373) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457310)

Now what if you can smell that blue screen of death before it hits you. Hmmm....

Re:In other news.. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457492)

Bah... I won't quit my day job.. Wait! I don't have one!

I was just honestly thinking "He dosn't need a day job, he just got modded up to +5 funny!"

Then I realized the flaw in my plan.

Re:In other news.. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457595)

Yeah, doofus, Funny mods don't give you any karma!

Prior Art (2, Informative)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457236)

Wouldn't everything that can be thought of already be covered under prior art?

God, nature, what have you, will already have all the prior art claims he/she/it wants.

From TFA:

Enter the October 4, 2004 announcement that two Americans were awarded the Nobel Prize in medicine for discovering how people can recognize and remember an estimated 10,000 smells, ranging from smelly garbage to expensive perfume.

The two researchers, Dr. Richard Axel and Linda B. Buck, won the prize for scientifically describing how odor-sensing proteins in the nose translate specific tastes and smells into information in the brain.

Their breakthrough stemmed from a 1991 discovery of a family of genes devoted to producing different odor-sensing proteins, called receptors, in the nose. Their work showed that people have a few hundred types of odor receptors, each of which can detect only a limited number of odors.

When a person sniffs cologne or fresh chocolate chip cookies, for example, a mix of different types of molecules flows over the receptors in the back of the nose. That activates an array of the receptors, but only those primed to respond to those particular molecules. The brain notes which receptors are activated, and interprets this pattern as the smell.


Besides... how can you patent my nose and its functions?

Oh, I don't know (5, Insightful)

IBitOBear (410965) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457476)

How can you patent "put it on my tab" (one click shopping) or the division of labor (anything "client server")?

How can you patent parts of the human genome?

Simple, someone with money makse a "persuasive green folding argument" that they should be allowed to...

Here here (1, Funny)

aarku (151823) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457241)

I, for one, will be searching the stars tonight using my smelloscope [gotfuturama.com] to find new odors to patent.

Patents...bah, worry about Trademarks. (5, Insightful)

example42 (760044) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457244)

The patenting of smells doesn't worry me so much since patents expire quickly (14 years IIRC). Trademarks on the other hand are perpetual and pose another intellectual property land mine. I'm sure we are all familiar with the International Olympic Committee being totally evil in "protecting" their trademarks. It would be most unfortunate to have Starbucks swing a huge legal hammer at small coffee vendors whose coffee smells similar.

Re:off topic (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457449)

Hey biff,

It's intellectual property _mine field_.

Now I'll make like a tree and go...

Will be interesting to digitize smell. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457249)

Imagine receiving a smell bomb in your email, or a printer that print a type of scent.

Will be good to smell homecook food 1000 miles away, over the internet.

Re:Will be interesting to digitize smell. (2, Funny)

Lehk228 (705449) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457441)

ahh, the smell of goatse in the morning.

It's an interesting idea (4, Interesting)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457252)

The most objectionable software patents are so dumb because they seem to fail the "obviousness" test. To be patented, a thing (it used to be a device) had to be useful, novel, and non-obvious. Online shopping carts and one-click shopping strike everybody here as obvious; the ones with the patent aren't the first ones with the idea but merely the first ones with the money to put together a patent.

But not everybody can create a new smell. Well, given the hygiene and dietary standards famous to Slashdotters I'm sure that new smells are created all the time, but I assure you nobody wants those smells. To create a new perfume requires a highly expert skill set. The same applies to food; blending the right chocolate, wine, or coffee is a job for an expert.

I assume that means coming up with a reproduceable smell. I can't imagine you could walk in with something you threw together and say, "I patent this! Nobody else can have it!" without at least being able to describe what it is and how you got it.

I don't know how they're going to judge "distance". In copyrights I imagine that they have some sort of measurement for when a new work is derivative of an old one. I can't pick up a copy of John Grisham's The Jury and change a few letters and copyright it. Similarly I hope nobody would be able to walk in with "This is just like Chanel No. 5 except I added some vanilla extract".

Actually, that would smell kind of nice. But there are getting to be some potentially stupid gray areas, where things are similar, but it's hard to quantify how similar because smells and tastes are a lot harder to examine than inventions and books.

Ridiculous (-1, Redundant)

Neo-Rio-101 (700494) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457254)

This is absolutely ridiculous.

I mean, say I have a hot cookie, and the smell of that is patented by the cookie company.
Now, if I bake a cookie which smells like the patented cookie smell, could I be sued?

Furthermore, how do you prove that a smell infringes on a patented smell?

This is crazy. To me, this whole concept seems useless to society, but potential ammo to a company who can't innovate anything, but instead wants to strangle money out of people on some weird legal precedent.

I may as well patent my own body odour.

Re:Ridiculous (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457303)

I'd imagine that "hot cookies" constitute prior art. I can't imagine that any variant on the recipe is going to be considered sufficiently novel unless you wanted to start putting, I dunno, motor oil or anchovies in it. I'm perfectly content to permit you the patent on the smell of chocolate cookies with anchovies.

I think I'll go make some prior art right now.

Re:Ridiculous (0)

hazem (472289) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457533)

I can't imagine that any variant on the recipe is going to be considered sufficiently novel unless you wanted to start putting, I dunno, motor oil or anchovies in it.

I don't know... I think my ex-girlfriend has you on that one. I don't know if she actually used motor oil and anchovies in her cooking, but it sure as hell tasted like she did!

Prior art (1)

KitFox (712780) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457258)

Hopefully, prior art will begin to be more important. But honestly, I can't see the wonderful folks at the USPTO trying to figure out whether a certain smell is "McDonald's French Fries" or "Wendy's French Fries". This worries me on so many levels, as it just sems to open up the door for more rediculous litigation.

And of course, the patents will go through regardless of prior art, because, honestly, how are those patent stampers supposed to know that the patent description in technical terms just happens to cover every sweet smell there is?

. o O {OMG... How long until people get sued for patent infringement for farting?}... Is it insightful or funny? Or neither? Dunno. It's too late at night to tell.

Re:Prior art (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457506)

So if it appears in the lyrics of a song, is that evidence of prior art?

Specifically thinking about Marcy Playground's "I smell sex and candy"

Oh, just great... (1, Funny)

Tokerat (150341) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457273)


...I guess that means while I won't spend much at the Taco Bell drive-thru, I'll get nailed on the royalty payments about 2-3 hours later!

*rimshot*

I declare your patent invalid... (2, Funny)

Skevin (16048) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457497)

because I claim Prior Fart.

Solomon

*nauseated* (1)

johansalk (818687) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457274)

All this talk of IP frenzy makes me feel queazy!

Smell trademark already in EU (2, Interesting)

alannon (54117) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457277)

Smell Trademark [inter-lawyer.com] I remember reading about this a year or two ago.

Re:Smell trademark already in EU (3, Interesting)

lothar97 (768215) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457348)

European law and US law obviously are different. According to the article you cited, there's an interesting tidbit. To register a trademark in the EU, you need a graphical representation. You have to show the mark, and describe it if need be (such as the case for the color orange for cell phones, you just describe the color). I'm not sure how you graphically represent a smell. TFA mentions describing "rose scent for tyres [UK]," but rejects Chanel No. 5, since although they did describe the general smell and its ingredients, you could not get a full idea of the smell.

No patents for everyone (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457291)

For the love of god, no smell or taste patents on Goatse.

Coffee (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457292)

One of my friends that works for a large multinational food company told me that the nice "fresh coffee" smell you get when you open up a brand new jar of instant coffee is actually sprayed on at the last stage of the production process.

Seems like that particular signature would be a likely candiate for a trademark.

Don't even think about it. (1)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457299)

There are thousands of years of prior art for the taste of saliva and the smell of all bodily functions.

LK

Re:Don't even think about it. (1)

DAldredge (2353) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457321)

Prior art will not stop them. Hell, expecting the USPTO to honor prior art is about as likely as a politician honoring his campaign promises. ;->

Taste Patent (1, Funny)

tomsuchy (813628) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457300)

Tastes like chicken, patent pending...

Bacon Smell (-1, Troll)

Danos (819836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457306)

If I patented the smell of bacon, I'd own every fatass linux nerd on the planet. Unless they found ham.

Do we have a big enough variety of smells? (1)

r6144 (544027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457312)

Copyright and trademark works with relatively little objection, because there are very many ways to write a novel, compose a piece of music, and (to a lesser extent) design a trademark, so even if one of the ways is monopolized by copyright/trademark, the scope for innovation does not decrease significantly.

And the problem many have with most software patents (and many in other fields too) is that they cover one of very few good ways of doing something, or the idea of doing some obvious thing itself, so others have no way around it no matter how good they are. Some people might find it fair, but many do not, and find it counterproductive.

For patents/trademarks on smells and tastes, the same thing applies --- I won't object much if and only if the smell/taste must be extremely special (but do we have such a good nose/tongue?), in other words, it must contain a large amount of information.

Money... (1, Funny)

ms1234 (211056) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457313)

...doesn't smell, it talks. It may even sing and dance if you let it.

Re:Money... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457407)

money doesnt talk, it swears. (bob dylan)

please patent farts (3, Funny)

weighn (578357) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457324)

so my colleagues can be issued with a cease and desist

ridiculous. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457344)

Ok, it's one thing to give someone credit for their hard work, but the patent system is becoming ridiculous. Patenting smell? WTF, d*mn, people what are wrong with you, am I the only person that thinks this whole patent system is bordering on madness.

stupid slashdotters (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457349)

here we go again, some more barraging of the patent system. YOu can all suck RMS off.

We all know you can't invent, and are merely users.

Reward people for innovation.

DOn't hate the playa, hate the game.

From your friendly patent attorney

mod Up (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457351)

Legitimise doing States that t;here Under the GPL. shout the loudest maggot, vomi7, shit consistent with the Moans and groans

brings a whole new meaning to (1)

planetjeffy (818139) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457389)

pull my finger

My own patent plan (1)

rscrawford (311046) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457397)

I'm planning on patenting a method of using moist surface membranes in an interior environment to transfer oxygen from a gaseous environment to a liquid medium which can transport the oxygen to widespread locations throughout a biological organisms. The trick is that waste gases will also be transferred in the same mechanism, so that the same mechanism can be used to bring in oxygen yet also expel waste products such as carbon dioxide.

All I need now is a name. Suggestions?

Re:My own patent plan (1)

n54 (807502) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457561)

LungsTM

store and read certain smells (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457398)

A digicam could do this pretty easily... once a smell is patented it could be assigned a smell id or something... detected and stored by the cam when you roll... then another device would output that smell... kinda like a speaker i guess

Some patents to do with smell (1)

vinukr (796210) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457408)

Here [mit.edu] are some patents that have something to do with smell... But none are awarded to a smell itself. They are mostly devices that emit some smell.

IP, the only thing left for the US (3, Insightful)

nolife (233813) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457410)

Considering the US only produces a small fraction of the physical goods that it used to, the only thing businesses and our economy can compete with for actual generation of money in the global economy is IP (copyright, tradmark, patents etc). I see it as a big gamble or some type of last ditch attempt to give the US some type of advantage over the rest of the world as the manufactoring of real products is all but gone and not coming back. Can the US actually create and secure more IP then the rest of the world and sustain itself from the money that might flow in with it? I see the IP laws following this trend and I assume it will get much worse in the power grab. As I see it, IP can only support a much smaller crowd or group of people then real property does as you do not a large support structure to create it and maintain it.

Will be used in unforseen ways (1)

zaxios (776027) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457415)

Like my wife patenting the smell of my body odour and then suing me into the shower.

Farts (1)

Lord_Dweomer (648696) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457416)

I'm investing everything in whichever the hell company it is that makes those whoopy cushions.

lp (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457419)

last post

Darwing confirmes, publishing is dying. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457452)

Yet another crippling bombshell hit the beleaguered "IP" community when Darwing recently confirmed that the common PC has outevoluted the publishing bussines. "Those who produce some "intelectual property" themselves might survive, but the parasites have their days numbered. Nothing short of a goverment backed tax can save you, ad if that happens I have a lot of spinning to do me," concluded the monk.

You can't patent colors or soundwaves. (2, Interesting)

Lightning Hopkins (817142) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457454)

This is a really bad idea. Simply because a taste or smell can be clearly defined doesn't make it patentable. You can't patent colors or sounds, which can both be clearly defined, so why should you be able to patent smells or tastes? Eventually, this may lead to the patenting of feelings or sensations, or, stretching it a bit, emotions or thoughts. Ridiculous. Just because something is quantifiable doesn't make it patentable. (ps: I also think gene patenting is a bad idea, but that's a whole other can of worms.)

Re:You can't patent colors or soundwaves. (2, Interesting)

Lightning Hopkins (817142) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457489)

...And nor can you trademark colors or soundwaves. You can trademark specific patterns of colors or soundwaves that are distinguishable as distinct and recognizable symbols, but smell and taste are both far too vague to have similar applications. Taste and smell are too rudimentary a pair of senses to function as specific symbols (to an unaided human not using this newly-discovered technique), and thus should not be considered viable as trademarks or copyrights, or any sort of intellectual property.

Phewww!!!! (1)

ImTwoSlick (723185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457478)

For a second there, I thought it said:

IP's Next Big Wave - Taste & Smell P.... eehh... nevermind.

I've got dibs on the patent (0, Redundant)

ImTwoSlick (723185) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457490)

for the smell of Natalie Portman covered in hot grits.

A message to these companies (1)

fireman sam (662213) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457495)

who base their whole business model on patent, search and sue.

How about patenting the phrase F*CK YOU.

Maybe I should patent a rotten egg smell. Then every time someone farts, they will owe me $50 or I'll sue their ass, litterally.

Fast Food (0, Redundant)

unixbugs (654234) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457501)

I didnt RTFA, or any posts, so this is MY IDEA, got it?

Im going to patent the taste of "shit". This means:

1) I am going to sue ALL FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS for patent infringement.

And in other news... (1, Funny)

jd (1658) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457503)

SCO announced today that it now holds the patent for the sweet smell of success. When asked if this meant they were going to bring a new product to market, using this, a spokesman was quoted as saying "Hell no - we just want to sue the pants off anybody who might be infringing on it."

Lookuout here comes SIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457527)

And very soon we will have SIAA (Smell Industry Artists Association) and very soon this organization will be suing scores of people for unauthorized illegal sharing of fart smell that the SIAA has patented and copy-protected..... It will be illegal to fart...

and SIAA will granty the RIAA honorary license to freely use fart and other shitty smells

Great... (1)

EvilCabbage (589836) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457531)

... here come the "tastes like chicken" jokes..

An essay on IP's (0, Offtopic)

scruffymcgee (819818) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457538)

An essay on IP's

The subject of IP's is a controversial issue. Underestimate IP's at your peril. Cited by many as the single most important influence on post modern micro eco compartmentalism, its influence on western cinema has not been given proper recognition. Often it is seen as both a help and a hinderence to global commercial enterprises, who are yet to grow accustomed to its disombobulating nature. At the heart of the subject are a number of key factors. I plan to examine each of these factors in detail and and asses their importance.

Social Factors

There is cultural and institutional interdependence between members of any community. When Sir Bernard Chivilary said 'hounds will feast on society' [1] he, contrary to my learned colleague Sir George Allen's recent publication 'Into the eye of , could not have been referring to eighteenth century beliefs regarding society. Difference among people, race, culture and society is essential on the survival of our world, however IP's demonstrates a coherent approach, something so lacking in our culture, that it is not recognised by all.

When one is faced with people of today a central theme emerges - IP's is either adored or despised, it leaves no one undecided. Clearly it promotes higher individualism and obeyence of instinct. As soon as a child meets IP's they are changed.

Economic Factors

The dictionary defines economics as 'the social science concerned with the production, distribution, exchange, and consumption of goods and services'. Of course, IP's fits perfectly into the Custard-Not-Mustard model of economics. Interest

IP's

When displayed this way it becomes very clear that IP's is of great importance. Of course interest has always depended upon IP's to a certain extent, but now more that ever. In the light of this free trade must be examined.

Political Factors

Politics - smolitics! Comparing IP's and much of what has been written of it can be like comparing IP'sism and post-IP'sism.

To quote jazz singer Francis T. Time 'The success of any political system can only truly be assessed once the fat lady has sung.' [2] Considered by many to be one of the 'Founding Fathers' of IP's, his words cannot be over-looked. It is a well known 'secret' that what prompted many politicians to first strive for power was IP's.

I wait anxiously. What will the next few years bring for IP's?

Conclusion

How much responsibility lies with IP's? We can say that IP's has a special place in the heart of mankind. It inspires, brought up a generation and most importantly it perseveres.

I shall give the final word to star Macaulay Schwarzenegger: 'I wouldn't be where I am today without IP's.' [3]

[1] Sir Bernard Chivilary - Interestingly... - 1904 Badger Books

[2] Time - Yes Indeed - 1987 Indegro Books

[3] My IP's! - Issue 4 - BFG Publishing

Forget patenting smells, patent smelling (2, Funny)

gbulmash (688770) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457562)

The real bit is when someone takes that Nobel-winning work and patents the act of smelling things. Every unlicensed nasal inhalation, also known as a "sniff" will be a violation of their patent.

Mouth breathers will be exempt.

- Greg

Nothing surprises me... (1, Funny)

SetupWeasel (54062) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457580)

Now that people have patented genes. Someone maght as well patent urine, and have us pay royalities everytime we make it.

Here's one (3, Funny)

Klowner (145731) | more than 9 years ago | (#10457584)

I'll call it "Hobo Stink" and slap all those guys on street corners with IP infringement lawsuits, then I'll yank the bucket of change out of their hands and split, it'll rule. And I'll invest in cardboard signs before I start doing that too, oh and, money buckets.

What this really means... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#10457609)

Now the Professor can invent the smelloscope.
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