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The secret is in the cheeses

Question: What do a builder of motorcycles and a chain of pizza shops have in common? (Other than, of course, the fact that both are in business to make money.) Answer: an attempt to trademark byproducts of their - well - products. You may remember that eyebrows went up across the commercial world in 1994 when Harley- Davidson Inc. filed an application with the US Patent and Trademark Office to register the chug of its V-twin engine, a sound sometimes also described as "potato, potato, potato, potato." The move angered the company's competitors, nine of whom formally objected on grounds that their bikes made virtually the same noise. In the end - after years of fruitless litigation - Harley-Davidson withdrew its filing. Now comes word that Cilija UAB, which operates pizza outlets across Lithuania and Latvia, is seeking intellectual property rights for the aroma that its pies give off as they're taken from the oven. Said Cilija's marketing director, "Opinion polls show that many consumers ... identify the pleasure of eating pizza with our [brand]." (And all this time you thought pizza was an Italian specialty.) Lithuania's patent bureau hasn't commented on the matter yet, but analysts say honoring the request would not put other pizzamakers out of business. They just couldn't legally claim that their pizza smell fresh-baked.

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