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What’s that smell?

Perfume and fragrance counterfeiting poses a real threat to consumers

Commercial fragrances and perfumes are big business, and the multibillion-dollar industry attracts its fair share of dodgy practices and outright fraudulent activity. Here we look at the difference between knockoffs and counterfeit products, and why the big perfume houses have such difficulty protecting their brands.

In the 1990s, a Belgian fragrance manufacturer called Bellure began producing replica fragrances of several perfumes made by French cosmetic giant L’Oreal. The idea was to sell fragrances that smelled like some of L’Oreal’s top brands to consumers who lacked the funds to buy the more luxurious French names. Bellure marketed the perfumes in supermarkets and discount stores. The company even said they were imitations of L’Oreal perfumes and used similar packaging. 

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