Turkey: Possibilities And The Results Of Trademark Confusion

Last Updated: 21 May 2018
Article by Yesim Tokgoz

Most Read Contributor in Turkey, April 2019

Trademarks are the vehicles that are used to differentiate companies one from the other. They help to capture the consumers' attention. It is essential and necessary to protect trademarks that are created and improved with capital and effort, from unrightful use by third parties, and to prevent the encroachment of trademarks through confusion. One of the most efficient functions of intellectual property law is to encumber imitations, and to halt improper benefit by using the popularity of the trademarks to their consumers. On the other hand, in our daily lives, we often see trademarks that are similar, and may wonder how they co-exist at the same time. In this article, we will shed light on the reasons why similar trademarks can be registered, the criteria that cause trademark confusion, and the remedies to prevent and/or remove these infringements.


In trademark law, confusion means the similarity of the common points of two things. Within this scope, the confusion of the trademarks is to create sameness or similarity in order to confuse the consumers. The likelihood of confusion is sufficient for the rightholders, who registered their trademarks first, to request the removal of the act. An intentional act or damage is not necessary in the existence of this type of confusion.

The Criteria of Trademark Confusion

In order to evaluate trademark confusion, there should be a similarity or sameness formed in the average consumer's mind. The average consumer is determined in line with the collocutor that the trademark addresses. The collocutor of goods that are utilizable in daily life, shall be the public; whereas, the collocutor of a glass cutting machine shall be the glass producers.

Within this scope, the evaluation is not related only to appearance. The time and the money that consumers spend in the purchase of the goods also play an important role. The sectoral consumers' possibility to confuse trademarks is considered as low since it is accepted that they conduct more research before they prefer one trademark over another, and they are, on the whole, more conscious. For the trademarks whose collocutors are the public, the likelihood of confusion is rather high, because it is accepted that the public purchases goods through impressions that are made in their minds and, thus, they do not spend much time in research and, so, the items are easily confused.

On the other hand, the likelihood of confusion increases when the trademark is distinctive or unique. The originality of the trademarks is determined in line with their base element. Auxiliary elements are not taken into account in this evaluation. The protection shall be far-reaching and powerful, so long as the base elements' meaning, words, shape, sound, color, and combination of these issues are distinctive. Thus, if the distinctiveness of the common element of the trademarks is weak, the likelihood of confusion decreases, and the protection sphere lessens.

Finally, in order that the likelihood of confusion exists, the goods that are subject to confusion shall be in the same or similar goods or services class. In other words, if the base element of the trademark that belongs to a different goods or services class are the same or similar, the likelihood of confusion does not occur. For instance, even if the common elements used in a motor vehicle and perfume are similar, this cannot be deemed as confusion, unless the trademark is well-known.

If the earlier registered trademark is well-known, the evaluation of confusion can be made even if the trademarks are for use in connection with the goods or services that are not similar to those for which the earlier trademark is registered. However, if this is the case, one of the following conditions shall be met: the use without due cause of the subsequent trademark i) would take unfair advantage of, ii) be detrimental, or there is a possibility that it may be detrimental to its distinctive character, or iii) reputation of the registered trademark.

Determination of the Sameness and Similarity at the Time of the Registration

The determination of sameness and similarity of an application with a trademark registered earlier is absolute grounds for refusal pursuant to Article 5.1.ç of Intellectual Property Law No. 6769 ("IPL").

Within this scope, the Turkish Patent and Trademark Institution ("TPTI") publishes the applications that are not the same, or similar to, the trademarks registered earlier. The rightholders who believe that their trademark and their goods or services class are same, or similar to, those that have just been published, are entitled to object to the registry of the published trademark in line with the relative grounds for refusal, pursuant to Article 6.1 of the IPL. In this manner, the likelihood of confusion is disposed of from the very beginning.

Furthermore, the rightholders whose trademarks are internationally well-known within the scope of the first bis of Article 6 of the Paris Convention, are entitled to apply this relative ground of refusal for those publications that belong to the same or similar goods or services class, even though their trademarks are not registered in Turkey.

In addition, upon the existence of one of i, ii, iii conditions that are mentioned in the previous section, well-known trademark holders whose marks are already registered in Turkey, are entitled to object to the applications that have the likelihood of confusion, even though the publications belong to other goods or services class, pursuant to Article 6.5.

Remedies for Removal of the Confusion

Removal of the Trespass

Causing confusion is deemed as trespass of trademark rights. Rightholders are entitled to prevent the usage of a symbol that is used in the same or similar goods or services class, and which has the likelihood of confusion, including even the possibility to be associated with their own trademarks, pursuant to Article 7.2.b of the IPL. In addition, the IPL, with its Article 7.2.c, grants rights to the proprietors of well-known trademarks that are registered in Turkey in order to prevent third parties from using any symbol that is identical or similar to their well-known trademarks in relation to the goods or services that are not similar to those for which their trademarks are registered, if one of the above-mentioned conditions i, ii, iii exist. Within this scope, the rightholders are entitled to forbid the placement of the symbol on the goods or packages, its usage on business papers and/or advertisements etc.


If the above-noted absolute or relative grounds of refusal exist, the earlier registered trademark's rightholder is entitled to request from the court to decide upon the invalidity of the trademark that is subject to confusion. In this case, the court's decision shall be effective, retrospectively, from the date of the application of the subsequent trademark, and the protection provided by the IPL shall be deemed as though it never had been registered.

Penal Remedies

Pursuant to Article 30, a person who produces goods, or provides services, exposes them to sale, or sells them, exports or imports them, purchases, owns, transfers, or keeps to commercial purposes by creating confusion to a trademark that belongs to others, shall be sentenced to between one and three years of imprisonment, and twenty thousand days of judicial fines. If this crime is committed by legal entities, then safety measures can be applied. Investigation and prosecution of this crime begins upon complaint. In order to apply penal remedies, the trademarks must be registered in Turkey.

Provisions of Unfair Competition

Pursuant to the established Court of Cassation decisions, the rights of the trademark proprietors are protected under Turkish Commercial Law numbered. 6100, as well. In line with the provisions of unfair competition, unregistered trademarks and foreign trademarks that are not registered in Turkey may request the removal of trespass, initiate a case in order to prohibit the usage of the symbol, request the removal of financial situation, and the disposal of the equipment and goods are being used to create the confusion. Meanwhile, the rightholders may request to take preliminary precautions, such as protecting the current situation, preventing further occurrences of confusion, and correcting the incorrect or confusing declarations. If a fault of the owner of the symbol that is subject to confusion exists, then compensation of the damages may be demanded, as well as moral compensation, if the conditions set forth in Article 58 of the Turkish Law on Obligations exist.

Finally, upon the complaint of the persons who have right to initiate an action of unfair competition, persons who have caused the likelihood of confusion will be subject to a fine of imprisonment, or judicial fine of up to 2 years. If the crime is committed through the performance of a legal entity, the fines will be imposed on the person who is in charge, the members of the competent organ, or the shareholders of the legal entity, and safety measures will be applied.


The registry or the usage of the symbols that are identical or similar to the trademarks which are deemed as the meeting point of the companies with the consumers, and which are the vehicles that provide the preferability of the consumers, will not be accepted. However, the protection sphere of the earlier registered trademark against the similarities in the symbols requires a detailed evaluation. Within this scope, all of the solid cases should be evaluated in accordance with the criteria explained, above, in order to determine the likelihood of confusion and, afterwards, the remedies to prevent or remove the infringements should apply.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Gokce Attorney Partnership
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Gokce Attorney Partnership
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions