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TRADEMARK FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions on Trademarks

A trademark or service mark includes any word, name, symbol, device, or any combination, used or intended to be used to identify and distinguish the goods/services of one seller or provider from those of others, and to indicate the source of the goods/services. Trademark registration offers legal protection for a word, symbol, phrase, logo, design, or combination of those that represent a source of goods or services.

A trademark application may not be refused according to subparagraph (ç) of the first paragraph of the Turkish IP Code (existence of identical to or indistinguishably similar prior TM application) if a notarized and legalized or Apostilled document indicating the clear consent of the prior trademark proprietor for the registration of the application is submitted to the Office.

The sworn translation of the notarized and legalized LoC into Turkish should be submitted online to the Office either at the time of application or before the decision on the refusal of the TM due to the similar TM is finalized following an appeal (in this case appeal against the decision should be filed).

The LoC cannot be withdrawn after it is submitted to the Office.

Separate LoCs should be submitted for each new trademark application.

Click here to access the Single Owner LoC form.

Click here to access the Multiple Owner LoC form.

Regarding oppositions filed in the scope of the first paragraph of Article 6, provided that the trademark, which is the ground for opposition, has been registered for at least five years at the date of application or date of priority of the application for which the opposition is filed, upon the request of the applicant, it shall be requested from the opponent to submit evidence proving that he had genuinely used his trademark on the goods and services relating to the opposition during the five-year period before the date of application or the date of priority of the latter application or whether he has a proper reason for not using his trademark during that period.

In case the opponent fails to prove aforesaid, the opposition shall be refused.

If it is proven that the trademark, which is the ground for opposition, has been used only for some of the goods or services which are covered by registration, then the opposition shall be examined taking into account the goods or services whose use is proven.

Any natural or legal person, or person assimilated to these persons under the national law applicable to them, including authorities established under public law, maybe proprietor of a trademark.

Although there are no regulations for the use of this symbol in Turkey, in many other countries, the ® symbol can only be used when a trademark is registered, you have received the certificate of registration.

There are no regulations regarding the use of this symbol in Turkey, therefore it can be used any time anywhere. But the ® symbol is typically placed in the upper right-hand corner or lower right-hand corner of a registered mark.

The TM symbol is used to show that a trademark filing is under process. There are no regulations regarding the use of this symbol in Turkey.

In the absolute, if you are not a resident or citizen of a country then you should assign a local lawyer or agent to file a trademark on your behalf.

A trademark search is usually cheaper than a trademark filing, so it provides you with visibility on whether or not the trademark will proceed to accept or not. Even though a trademark search is not as extensive as an examination at the trademark office, it still gives insights on – who is using a similar mark, what the risks involved with using or registered the trademark are.

When applying for trademark registration, certain information and documents need to be submitted to the TurkPatent:

  • Name and address of the applicant
  • Representation of trademark in JPEG format
  • List of goods and services
  • Latin transliteration of trademark representation if any letters or words are used other than Latin alphabet
  • Information about letter of consent, if any
  • Information about priority (date, number, country of origin), if any

When registering a trademark in a jurisdiction signatory of the Paris Convention, an applicant is allowed to “claim priority” to an earlier mark, therefore, using the details and effective date of an earlier mark as long as the earlier mark is filed no later than 6 months prior.

A trademark is considered abandoned if not all formal requirements and deadlines have been met such as submission of documents, or not all the fees were settled; or if the trademark was not renewed within the grace period.

Trademark watching entails monitoring official gazettes and flagging potentially conflicting applications that are either Identical or similar which may confuse the average consumer. Trademark watching is a cost-effective way to scan the market and enforce trademark rights before going to courts, through oppositions at the trademark office.

Goodwill can be described as follows:

  • The favor or advantage that a business has acquired especially through its brands and its good reputation;
  • The value of projected earnings, increases of a business especially as part of its purchase price;
  • The excess of the purchase price of a company over its book value represents the value of goodwill as an intangible asset for accounting purposes.

From a trademark perspective, goodwill is interchanged with reputation and represents the consumer’s willingness to purchase a good or service over and over again.

A wordmark is a trademark that is simply typed in standard characters without regard to the font, style, size, or color. In a trademark application for a wordmark, you are essentially seeking registration of the wording (or lettering) without regard to its style, design, font, or any graphic features. In other words, you are protecting the wording and not the logo.

Registration of a wordmark provides broader rights and basically protects the wording of the mark regardless of its style. Thus, applications for wordmarks do not claim rights to any particular font, style, size, or color.

Applying for a wordmark means you can vary the design aspects of the mark (e.g., style, upper/lower case, font) in use without causing a conflict with your trademark application, so long as the wording (e.g., spelling, number of words/terms, etc.) remains the same.

Many countries accept color to be registered as a trademark, such as Milka purple, Tiffany blue, Galaxy silk brown, and Valentino red. Color marks are much harder to register and require fame to succeed in registration.

If you want to protect a design whether graphic or image, whether it includes wording or not, such as a stylized logo, then you would apply for a design mark. A design mark provides protection for the exact design being protected. Therefore, changing the design may warrant the filing of a new trademark application.

Registering your logo as a trademark is important because in some instances your customers will be able to identify your brand from your logo alone. A good logo can aid in creating brand awareness and recognition in the marketplace. Protecting your logo with a trademark is crucial in maintaining and increasing brand equity.

A slogan is a memorable phrase used to persuade customers and ensure they remember the product/service being sold.

A slogan can be registered, however, due to the nature of the words being generic, it may take longer to protect and may face office action unless the below conditions are met:

  • The slogan being registered as a trademark is fundamentally creative and distinctive.
  • The slogan has been extensively used and has another meaning that immediately calls a product or service to mind.

You can trademark your name if you intend to use it in selling goods and services. However, even if you registered your name as a trademark, in most instances you are not able to stop others from registering or using the name as it is theirs. Therefore, it would be a good idea to come up with a more distinctive and unique trademark when setting up a business. Some common names may not registrable and therefore you cannot claim rights to them.

You can trademark any word or phrase you would like as long as it is distinctive and unique. Whether it is a company name or a brand name or a domain name. In some countries, you are required to register a trademark locally in word format in order to retrieve the country-level domain name.

A certification mark is a trademark used to demonstrate a particular product or service complies with a certain set of standards.

A collective mark is a trademark used or intended to be used, in relation to goods or services in the course of trade by members of an association, to distinguish those goods or services from others provided by persons not members of the association.

A generic trademark is a trademark or a brand that has become a generic term or synonymous with, a general class of product or service. Usually, trademarks become generic when they become famous and widely used – such as (escalator, or band-aid).

The Nice Classification (NCL), established by the Nice Agreement (1957), is an international classification of goods and services applied for the registration of marks.

When protecting trademarks, an applicant has to decide what specific goods and services to protect the trademark will be applied on. These gods and services have been grouped into 45 classes based on the Nice Agreement. The international classification of goods and services for trademarks is composed of 45 classes. Classes 1 to class 34 relate to goods and classes 35 to 45 relate to services. Trademark classification serves two functions: it provides a guideline for registering trademarks, and it can help you identify potential trademark infringers. When you file your trademark application, you must select the class of goods or services that your trademark will protect, and you must also identify the goods or services you provide. Your trademark will only protect the goods, services, and classes that you name in your application.

It is a good idea to register your trademark to be able to use the mark freely and stop others from using it, to build brand equity and value. In many countries, trademark registration is important and in many cases a prerequisite for any enforcement action. The investment to register a mark is minimal compared to the potential cost of not registering, and compared to the potential benefits registration will bring to your business.

For a startup or an entrepreneur going into a brand new business, registering a trademark would turn out to be very beneficial in the future, registering your trademark when starting a business and from the get-go ensure that your mark is safe and cannot be infringed on; and therefore you will be protecting your mark from any theft, infringements or impositions. Registering your mark means you have the license to use this trademark on the registered goods and services in the jurisdictions that it was registered in.

Selling or transferring ownership if your mark is to be decided by the individual/company that owns the mark. There are no law restrictions to selling a mark, it just needs to be alive and registered with a registration certificate, a deed of the assignment needs to be signed, and you can proceed with submitting the application of transfer of ownership of a mark.

For trademark searching to be effective, you have to have a couple of trademarks you are interested in.

You also have to have an idea of what you will be using the trademark on what class meaning the goods or services you are interested in.

Finally, you should know what jurisdiction or country you would like to protect your trademark in.

It is also advisable to complete a trademark search right before you would like to file for protection.

A delay in filing a trademark means that the time frame between the time you searched for the trademark and the time you filed the trademark leaves room for others to have filed the trademark.

In general, you can search by image or logo or word or phrase or number or symbol, however, due to limitations in technology searching by image does not yield accurate or necessarily usable results.

Besides being too expensive to register a trademark on all classes, to remain effective, the registered trademark should be used. therefore, if you have registered a trademark and have not used it other parties can file a claim to cancel the registration because you are not using the trademark.

Trademark infringement is the use of a trademark without authorization from the owner. Trademark Infringement may occur when one party, the “infringer”, uses a trademark that is identical or confusingly similar to a trademark owned by another party, in relation to products or services which are identical or similar to the products or services which the registration covers.

Trademark disputes are all types of quarrels whether taking place at court, at the trademark office, or privately between a trademark owner and another party.

Trademark disputes may relate to who the rightful successor of a trademark is (whether because of inheritance or otherwise), who the rightful economic beneficiary of a trademark is, or whether the use of a certain mark constitutes an infringement or not.

Trademark disputes may either be resolved at the trademark office, at court, or through out-of-court settlements.

One of the most beneficial rights associated with trademark rights is the fact that trademark rights can be renewed indefinitely. There is no cap on how many times you can renew a contract. But a trademark needs to be renewed every ten years. Renewal applications must be submitted prior to the deadlines. In order to renew a trademark, it should be an active trademark and still in use.

The registered trademark protected from the date of filing. However as trademarks are jurisdictional rights, this depends on the country.