Smell and touch to become recognised trademarks in Taiwan -

The Taiwanese government has agreed to revise a law to allow trademark applications for
mobile image, full graph (laser graph), and smell or touch feeling.

The move, which is being pushed under the Ministry of Economic Affairs, will now allow it to be on par with other countries.

Wang Mei-hua, director general of Intellectual Property Office, under the Ministry of Economic Affairs told the Taiwan Economic News that the US, European Union, and Singapore all currently allow applications for such trademarks.

However, because of the way the law was phrased and a difficulty in written description, there have only been a few internationally approved cases of smell or touch-feeling trademarks.

Those that had been okayed included those associated with engine oil with cherry odour, thread with a floral scent and a tennis ball with a grass aroma.

The law is rather complicated. Smells traditionally associated with a product cannot be trademarked. For example, floral scents in a perfume and a lemon smell for soap are out of bounds because these have long been used to identify the products.

When it comes to mobile images and full graphs, the Intellectual Property Office said using a bird or laser image of a world map on a credit card, for example, could help consumers identify the sources of the commodities or specific service suppliers.

It said these were currently not covered under the trademark law but this will be changed on 1 July when it comes into place.