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Can I patent cosmetics?

Cosmetics are patentable. Natural ingredients used in cosmetics cannot be patented by themselves. However, you can patent the use of the natural or organic ingredients in cosmetics. You can also patent a formulation of the natural or organic cosmetics.

For example, L’Oreal filed a patent to protect an extract of the genus chrysanthemum (Australian patent number 739954). The chrysanthemum plant was not patented because it is naturally occurring and not an invention. However, L’Oreal had discovered the plant extract could increase pigmentation of the skin or hair. The use of the plant extract to increase pigmentation was new and inventive and therefore patentable.

An invention can be the idea of formulating your new natural ingredient or extract into a cosmetic formulation. A method of making a pre-existing formulation more stable or more effective than previous formulations can also be an invention. A formulation as a whole is not naturally occurring so it can be an invention. The formulation could be for a natural extract in a synthetic formulation.