Protecting Intellectual Property in the Age of Transparency


Two years ago the International Fragrance Association (IFRA) took the unprecedented step of publishing a list of all fragrance ingredients used around the world. This list of just over 3,000 ingredients was compiled and updated last year and is available at

The list publication is just the most recent innovation in what IFRA chairman Michel Bongi recently referred to as the “industry’s continuous approach to building trust in the safety of the materials we use.” Publishing this list was an enormous step toward increased transparency and is helping the industry learn more about the ingredients used to make fragrances. However, disclosure of ingredients in individual fragrance compounds is at the heart of the fragrance industry’s concerns with protecting its intellectual property.

Serious questions face the fragrance industry. Will a legislature, perhaps in California or another US state, or even in the US Congress, require the disclosure of individual fragrance ingredients used in a particular consumer product? The impact of such a requirement on the fragrance industry would be significant. This is why the defense of fragrance industry trade secrets is so important, both politically and legally.

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