Famous characters in novels or cartoons often become very well known in a very short period of time reaching extensive recognition status in a number of layers of public. Similarly the trademarks also reach to the status of recognition among number of layers of the public. However generally the characters reach to more layers of public than trademarks and in relatively shorter time and less expense.
Characters would be Subject to Copyright Laws entitling the rights holder the right to exploit them. Such exploitation could be registering or licensing them to be registered as trademarks to be used in connection with various categories of goods and services. As soon as a character is used as a trademark it will have been recognised by not only the actual consumers of the products it has been used on but also by a vast majority of public as they have become familiar with the character earlier and as a copyright subject.
In respect of the recognition of the Trademarks in order for them to have reached on the well known status the mark needs to be recognised in respect of goods that it has been used for. Until the characters are exploited in respect of all types of goods the recognition of the mark by the public out of the relevant group of the mark is not associated with goods. The copyright recognition can not be associated with trademark association. Therefore when the characters are exploited as trademarks their level of recognition should carefully checked and the likely confusion of the public should be eliminated.
For example if you see a famous character on a T-shirt you wish to buy it because you wish to have a copy of that character on your T Shirt rather than because that character distinguishes the products of a certain trader than the others. It could have been by any of the T-shirt producers. Accordingly it is possible to say that the public's recognition of the famous character is not as a trademark but as a copyright material.
The Turkish Trademark Act recognises the Copyright issues during the registration procedures but does not make a specific distinction regarding the copyright recognition and trademarks recognition. However since the copyright is acknowledged and respected by the Act such distinction should be made by the practitioners and the Courts.
It is in our opinion that the exploitation of the characters of copyright subjects should be limited to the copyright protection period.
The content of this article is to provide only a general information on the subject. Legal advice should be sought for any 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.
On 8 September 2016 (C-160/15), the CJEU ruled that the posting of a hyperlink to copyright-protected works located on another website does not constitute copyright infringement when the link poster does not seek financial gain.
The chapter on the UK summarises the IP court and litigation system in the UK, recent developments in relation to IP law and practice, the forms and availability of IP protection and trends and outlook in the IP sphere.
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”
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).