Smith v. Chanel, Inc.
402 F.2d 562, (9th Cir. 1968)
Chanel made a popular,
expensive perfume called "Number 5." Smith started making
perfume that smelled almost exactly the same, and started selling it a lot
In addition, Smith wrote on
the box that his perfume smelled just like Number 5.
Chanel couldn't sue on the
grounds that Smith had copied the 'smell' of their product, because
perfume and fragrances were not copyrightable.
Chanel argued that Smith
couldn't openly advertise that they had made a copy of Chanel's product,
even if it was legal for them to actually make the copy.
The Court found for Smith.
The Court found that it was
legal for Smith to claim in advertisements that its product was the
equivalent of Chanel's.
The Court found that,
"disapproval of the copyist's opportunism may be an understandable
first reaction, but by taking a free ride, the copyist serves an
important public interest by offering comparable goods at lower