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Chanel faces uphill battle trademarking its No. 5 fragrance bottle in the US

By Don-Alvin Adegeest


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Fashion |

Image: Chanel No.5 via Chanel.com

Chanel’s iconic No.5 fragrance is known the world over and is one of all time’s bestselling perfumes, having been founded 1921. The glass bottle it comes in - the unmistakably rectangular glass with bevelled sides - has been deemed less iconic by the US trademark office, who have so far refused to register its packaging as a trademark.

Chanel’s quest to trademark its No. 5 fragrance bottle has been met with responses that it is not sufficiently distinctive. A USPTO examinaing attorney said “the shape of the perfume bottle and bottle stopper is a basic shape that is common in the fields of cosmetics, fragrances and perfumery,” reported Legal Era. “The mark consists of nondistinctive configuration of packagain for the goods that is not registrable on the Principal Register without sufficient proof of acquired distinctiveness.”

While the USPTO is still to make a final decision, Chanel has been asked to provide further evidence of distinctiveness.

The fashion giant saw a similar fate when it attempted to register its No. 5 bottle in Lithuania, where in January 2022 the mark was also denied registration due to lack of distinctiveness. Despite arguing it acquired distinctiveness over time, Chanel’s application was rejected by the courts, even if it successfully trademarked its bottle design in neighbouring countries such as Latvia and Poland.

While Chanel may find itself unsuccessful in trademarking its bottle in the US, laws protecting brands from unfair competition and counterfeiters would see its product designs safeguarded.