Why Hasbro Trademarked the Smell Of Play-Doh

People have tried to trademark a lot of weird stuff over the years, so it’s kind of surprising that it took Hasbro 27 years of owning the Play-Doh brand before the company attempted to corner the market on that weird, yeasty, almost-food smell that has compelled generations of children to tentatively lick their non-toxic mush toy over the years. That’s right: the smell of Play-Doh is actually trademarked. In order to trademark the smell, Hasbro had to first define it. Now we know that the doughy smell has a little extra something mixed in to elevate it from your average DIY salt-and-flour map dough: “a sweet, slightly musky, vanilla fragrance, with slight overtones of cherry, combined with the smell of a salted, wheat-based dough.” The Play-Doh scent falls under the category of a “sensory mark” — that is, not a physical product, but a sound, feel, or scent that a company might leverage for licensing opportunities. What that means is that unless you want to fork over an undisclosed but likely hefty fee, you’re going to have to find some other toy smell for your Etsy-based candle shop.