A French perfume and clothing company has failed at the European Court of Justice (ECJ) to trademark the “smell of ripe strawberries”, because judges deemed this insufficiently precise to serve as a unique identifier.

Eden SARL, of Paris, cited a previous case, where the ECJ had ruled non-visual signs, such as sounds or odours, could become trademarks “provided that they can be represented graphically”. However, judges said Eden’s proposed graphical sign did not adequately depict ripe strawberries.

Furthermore, the court found strawberries can “have a different smell according to their variety”, meaning it would be impossible to “identify…the olfactory sign… with clarity and precision.”