The Turkish Ministry of Customs and Commerce has published a
Communiqué in the Official Gazette on 14 February 2014 with
the intention of introducing a guideline for the substance of
company trade names and for individual trades people operating
The basic principles for selecting and registering a trade name
are defined in the Turkish Commercial Code (TCC). Under Turkish
law, trade names for incorporated companies and limited liability
companies are made up of three elements: the company's name,
the company's subject, and the company's type (such as
"ABC Technology Limited").
The Communique clarifies the TCC principles and requirements for
trade names as follows:
A trade name cannot be stated in such a way which misleads
third parties and creates the wrong impression about the
company's owner, or about the company's scope, importance,
or financial status;
A trade name cannot contradict public order, morals, national
interests, nor may it bring harm to cultural and historical
The words "Turk", "Turkish",
"Republic" or "National" used on their own can
only be used in a trade name with the consent of the Council of
Ministers about that specific company or tradesperson. The
exception to this is where the mentioned word(s) are the name or
surname of the individual tradesperson;
Companies established for the purpose of merging with other
companies should use the term "holding" in their trade
A trade name containing a country name will only be accepted by
the Council of Ministers if the relevant national authority's
consent is submitted;
The names or abbreviations of Turkish or international
institutions and organizations may only be used as a part of the
trade name where the institutions or organizations own or are the
shareholder of the company;
Trade names which are withdrawn from the corporate registry
cannot be registered by another company or trades person for five
years, starting from the date the withdrawal is published in the
Turkish Corporate Registry Gazette.
Apart from the principles listed above, the Communique clarifies
the cases of confusion as follows:
Any word ("ABC" in the example above) may be
registered as the name element of a company's trade name,
irrespective of the language, provided the subject of the company
and company type are also mentioned in Turkish;
The name element of a trade name
should not be identical with the name element of an existing
registered trade name. If such similarity exists, the TCC states
that the later registered company must add extra word or suffix in
order to differentiate the two trade names. For example, if there
is already a registered company using "ABC" for the name
part of its trade name, ABC Technology Limited must differentiate
the "ABC" part (for example, changing to "ABCXY
The name element of a registered trade name can be identical
with the corresponding part of an existing registered trade name,
provided the areas of activities stated in the two trade names are
different. For example, prior registration of "ABC Clothing
Limited" will not prevent registration of "ABC Technology
Failure to comply with the above principles gives rise to the
right for the existing trade name owner to initiate a lawsuit
within a year of the date it becomes aware of the new trade
Accordingly, the Communique opens the way of using non-Turkish
words within the name element of trade names. Until now, this was
required to also include Turkish words and companies who wished to
use a non-Turkish word were required to seek permission from the
Council of Minister's permission. Obtaining such permission
required companies to meet certain requirements for paid capital or
development strategy (among others) and the process would often
take 2-3 years.
While the Communiqué expands the available scope of trade
names in Turkey for foreign companies, this also introduces a risk
for such companies. That is, foreign companies which are not
operating within Turkey, but do offer goods and services to the
Turkish market will need to be careful about their trade names
since they could become subject to trade name applications by third
parties, potentially even in bad faith.
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.
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