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This Week in 2007

Honoring Angelina Jolie's Bonkers Suit Against a Perfume Named 'Shiloh'

In one of the strangest lawsuits of 2007, Angelina sued over a perfume that happened to share her daughter's name.

Mitchell Sunderland

Mitchell Sunderland

Photo by James Devaney via Getty Images

This Week in 2007 is a weekly column looking back on Lindsay Lohan, the first iPhone, George W. Bush, and everything else we loved about the year 2007.

Pop culture devotees have remembered mid-2000s Angelina Jolie as a symbol of virtuosity amongst the notorious antics of Lindsay Lohan and Nicole Richie, but ten years ago this month, Angelina concluded a legal scuffle against an amateur perfumer who had filed a patent for a perfume called Shiloh (the same name as Angelina's first biological child with her then paramour Brad Pitt).

From Angelina's accusations to the perfumer herself, the Shiloh lawsuit remains one of the strangest fights of 2007, yet pop culture devotees oft ignore Jolie's personal life when reminiscing about the 2000s. Her blockbuster action spectacles like Tomb Raider and Oscar films like Girl, Interrupted have overshadowed her notorious 2000 fashion accessory (a vial of Billy Bob Thornton's blood on a necklace) and mid-aughts relationship with Brad Pitt. Fans have relished Mr and Mrs Smith over Brangelina's awkward photo ops in African orphanages. But the Shiloh lawsuit deserves its place in the Internet's history of Hollywood's most infamous year.

At the time, every outlet from Fox News to the French tabloid Le Gossip picked up Angelina's bizarre lawsuit. According to a Washington Post feature by Joe Bargmann, Angelina's legal saga began on January 31, 2007, when she filed a lawsuit against Symine Salimpour, a 31-year-old budding perfume inventor who had christened her scent Shiloh. D-Listed reported that Angelina accused her of naming the perfume after her daughter and profiting off her kid, but Salimpour rebuffed her claims and denied any association between the baby and the scent.

"The name is completely unrelated," a friend of Salimpour's told Life and Style according to Fox News. "Symine is a citizen of both France and Israel, but she identifies strongly with her Israeli roots—it's a spiritual thing for her. Shiloh is a Hebrew name that means 'his gift.'"

Read more: How 2007 Became a Meme

If Jolie had refrained from filing a lawsuit, we would likely not be discussing Salimpour today. Shiloh, and the rest of her perfume products, never became household names. The daughter of a well-off Iranian psychiatrist, Salimpour was an aspirational Hollywood bit-player who moved to Los Angeles to become a perfume star in 2005.

She deemed her company Hors Là Monde, and after her original scent bombed, Bargmann says Salimpour started developing Shiloh with Michel Roudnitska, the son of Hermes perfume legend Edmond Roudnitska. "It's like Beethoven, the Beethoven of perfume," Salimpour told the Post of the younger Roudnitska's designs.

Salimpour chose Shiloh as the scent's name in 2005. Roughly a year later on May 27, 2006, Shiloh Jolie-Pitt entered the world (and tabloids). According to the Post, Salimpour waited till June 19, 2006 to file a patent, but she denied any correlation between her perfume and the first biological heir to the Jolie-Pitt name.

"In Hebrew, Shiloh means 'his gift,'" Salimpour reiterated to the newspaper. "And I will use the perfume to give something back to the children of Israel and the Middle East." She vowed to donate five percent of profits to Beit Issie Shapiro, an Israeli organization helping children with disabilities.

This did not sit well with Angelina, who embarked on her lawsuit six months later. "I was so scared," Salimpour told the Post.

But after five months, Angelina dropped the suit on June 15. The news went public ten years ago this week with Bargmann's profile of Salimpour, which went viral on pop culture forums like Oh No They Didn't.

Salimpour told Bargmann the lawsuit "was just a huge misunderstanding… And besides having a baby named Shiloh—because this perfume, it is my baby—we can say we have two other things in common: We believe in human rights, and we love Brad Pitt!" Thanks to their legal battle, Jolie and Salimpour also share a bizarre moment in 2007 pop culture history.