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Vintage Perfumes For Sale

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Snob by Le Galion c1937

Snob by Le Galion:  launched in 1937 and created by Paul Vacher. The fragrance was available in Parfum, Parfum de Toilette and Eau de Snob Cologne.

Fragrance Composition:

So what does it smell like? It was a floral aldehyde fragrance for women, warm and heavy with a slight oriental base. It has been said that Snob is a copy of Jean Patou's Joy perfume, in that it makes use of jasmine and rose de mai. The perfume opens with a blast of sharp aldehydes, fresh hyacinth, the green note of tarragon, citrus notes of bergamot, lemon and neroli. The heart marries classic florals such as rose de Mai, lush jasmine, intoxicating tuberose, lilac, tropical ylang ylang, spicy carnation and delicate lily of the valley. The base closes with earthy vetiver, velvety musk, animalic civet, sweet sandalwood, soft tonka bean, pungent cedar and dusty orris.

  • Top notes: aldehydes, hyacinth, tarragon, bergamot, narcissus, lemon and neroli
  • Middle notes: Bulgarian rose, carnation, lily of the valley, jasmine,  tuberose, lilac, ylang ylang and rose de mai
  • Base notes: ambergris, vetiver, musk, civet, sandalwood, tonka bean, cedar and orris


Le Galion, a French perfume company had for years sold its perfume under the trademark SNOB in a number of foreign countries. While the sales were substantial, Le Galion had been unable to sell SNOB in the USA because in 1951, Jean Patou, Inc, an American perfume manufacturer, obtained a trademark registration for SNOB in this country.

Customs officials subsequently refused to permit Le Galion to import its SNOB perfume because of the conflict with Patou’s registered mark. So Le Galion was forced to rename the perfume Cub in 1953 so that the perfume could be sold in the United States.

The evidence indicated that in spite of the registration, Patou had never made a serious effort to merchandise SNOB. For example, between 1950 and 1971 it sold only some 89 bottles and engaged in no advertising or other sales efforts on behalf of the product. Patou’s sales of SNOB between 1951 and 1969 generated a “gross profit” of only about one hundred dollars on retail sales of less than 600 dollars .

In a series of legal efforts Le Galion sought relief that would permit it to import its SNOB brand and give it trademark rights in the name. Le Galion claimed, in essence, that Patou had never used the SNOB trademark sufficiently to sustain its claim of ownership. The case was overseen by a secondary court and Le Galion was given the go ahead to use the mark in 1974.

Court Documents: Le Galion vs. Jean Patou (1972):

"In 1946, Le Galion, a small French perfumer, adopted and registered the name SNOB for its perfumes in France. Thereafter, Le Galion promoted, distributed and obtained trademark rights to SNOB perfume in many countries in Europe, Africa and South America. Some sales of Le Galion's SNOB were made in the United States during the period of 1948 to 1953 but no application to register the name was filed in this country.

In 1954, a Frenchman named Roig advised Le Galion of possible trademark infringement, claiming to have registered the name SNOB in 1945 in France. After investigation and negotiation, Le Galion purchased all Roig's rights to the SNOB mark. Jean Patou, Inc., a famous perfumer with French and American corporate entities, had also sought the SNOB name from Roig in 1954. Le Galion had no previous knowledge of Patou's interest in the name until the Roig assignment.

Patou registered the name SNOB with the United States Patent Office in 1951. It produced and sold in the United States in a very limited amount a perfume called SNOB since 1950 or 1951, with total sales from 1951 to 1969 of 72 bottles and a gross profit of $100.00. Seventeen bottles were sold to retail stores between 1969 and 1971. The SNOB line was produced in only 1/3 ounce bottles and the sales were made to well-known retail stores throughout the nation. Although there was testimony that the sales approximated 10 bottles a year since 1950, the sale of only 89 bottles was documented and proved with certainty.

In 1953, Patou deposited the registration of SNOB with the Bureau of Customs thereby blocking the importation of any infringing trademark. In 1955 a shipment of Le Galion's SNOB perfume was barred by the Commissioner of Customs. Immediately, Le Galion sued in this court seeking the same relief as in the instant action. The case was dismissed for lack of prosecution in 1958. In 1965 Le Galion started an action in the Patent Office to cancel Patou's registration of SNOB. This administrative action was dropped in 1967 upon advice of counsel that the present action, commenced in 1966, was the stronger case to pursue. The instant action, however, has not been actively prosecuted while pending in this court.

Since 1957, Le Galion has imported a SNOB substitute called CUB. A small note inside a box of CUB explains to the purchaser that the CUB bottle contains Le Galion's SNOB perfume."


Because the court found favor of Jean Patou, Le Galion was forced to rename the Snob perfume Cub in 1957.  Le Galion claimed, in essence, that Patou had never used the SNOB trademark sufficiently to sustain its claim of ownership. The case was overseen by a secondary court and Le Galion was given the go ahead to use the Snob mark in 1974. So if your bottle is labeled Cub, it dates from 1957-1974.

The Fate of the Fragrance:

By 1975, Snob by Le Galion was being sold in US department stores, but by the late 1980s, it seems to have been discontinued as Le Galion was defunct by 1990.

Inspired by the beloved original scent, perfumer Thomas Fontaine reformulated the composition with modern ingredients. Today's version of Snob had to conform with the regulations of IFRA, so oak moss was excluded and many of the raw materials that were originally used are no longer available. Snob was relaunched in 2014, following the successful resurrection of the house of Le Galion with Nicolas Chabot in collaboration with Paul Vacher's granddaughter Dominique Vacher.

You may visit their website at http://www.legalionparfums.com

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