On January 10, 2016, advertisers in Turkey will for the first
time be permitted to suggest the superiority of their products and
services using direct references to a competitor's trademark or
Comparative advertising is already permitted in Turkey under the
Consumer Protection Law and the Regulation on Commercial
Advertisements and Unfair Commercial Practices but direct
references to competitors in comparative advertising has been
prohibited. On January 10, however, Article 8/2 of the regulation
will go into effect, eliminating the prohibition and permitting the
use of competitor names and trademarks.
To what extent is comparative advertising
Article 61 of the Consumer Protection Law permits advertisers to
engage in comparative advertising for similar goods and services
that meet the same consumer need if the comparison is accurate and
The unfair competition provisions of the Turkish Commercial Code
("TCC") deem misleading advertising to be unfair
competition and prohibit advertisers from using deceptive
information about goods and services. Any comparative advertising
containing misleading information constitutes unfair
For comparative advertising to be lawful, certain conditions must
The comparative advertisement must not be misleading or
The comparative advertisement must not lead to unfair
The goods and services compared must be similar and meet the
same consumer need;
The compared features of the goods or services must be of
interest to and for the benefit of the consumer;
One or more material, major and verifiable qualities or
quantities must be compared, which can also include price;
The claim in a comparative advertisement must relate to an
objective feature and be proven by scientific tests, reports or
The comparative advertisement must not infringe upon a
competitor's intellectual property rights;
If the origin of the goods and services is specified, the
compared goods and services must be from the same geographical
The comparative advertisement must not cause a likelihood of
Importantly, the advertiser bears the burden of proof as to the
objectivity of a comparative claim. Any quantifiable claims must be
proven based on scientific reports issued by a university or
authorized institution accredited by the university or, in the case
of tests done by private laboratories or centers owned by the
advertiser, be verified by a Turkish university or authorized
institution accredited by the university.
Use of competitor names and trademarks
The regulation introduced a new opportunity for advertisers:
using a competitor's name or trademark in a comparative
advertisement for the same type of goods and services. Under
Article 8/2 of the regulation, advertisers may present trademarks,
trade names, logos and other distinguishing signs of their
competitors in a comparative advertisement, provided that the type
of goods and services are the same and it does not contain any
misleading or defamatory information and is in compliance with the
prerequisites listed above. This Article 8/2, however, did
not take effect immediately, but will enter into force as
of January 10, 2016. Until then, advertisers are still prohibited
from using competitor names and trademarks, explicitly or
implicitly, in a comparative advertisement.
What should advertisers consider?
Although comparative advertising is allowed under certain
circumstances, the practice and precedents are still developing.
The Advertisement Board rigidly enforces advertising requirements.
The lack of a single requirement could be deemed misleading and
confusing for consumers and result in substantial monetary fines
and the removal of the advertisement. Although Article 8/2 will
allow advertisers to use competitor names and trademarks as
of January 10, the provision may still not provide complete
freedom as advertisers will need to be careful as to the type of
the products they compare and continue to be bound by the
requirements for comparative advertising generally.
Comparative advertising is a new concept in Turkey and its scope
will expand on January 10, enabling the use of competitor names and
trademarks. In spite of this liberalization, the Advertisement
Board's strict interpretation of advertising rules should be
taken into account before using competitor names and trademarks in
advertisements. Due to the lack of precedents and current
enforcement practices, it is advisable to be cautious when
using comparative advertising.
* * * *
Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any questions
regarding comparative advertising.
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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