updated 10/27/2005 8:21:19 AM ET 2005-10-27T12:21:19

What’s in a smell? Well, a lot, but you can’t own it.

A European Union court ruled Wednesday that a French firm cannot trademark the aroma of ripe strawberries.

Paris-based Eden SARL wanted to add strawberry smell to its product line, including soaps, face creams, clothing and even leather goods.

The EU trademark agency had rejected a scent registration request. And the appeals panel agreed, noting not all strawberries smell alike.

As the court puts it: “There is no generally accepted international classification of smells which would make it possible to identify an olfactory sign.”

One scent has been granted trademark protection by the European Union: the smell of freshly cut grass. A Dutch perfume company uses it for tennis balls.

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