Turkey: Victory For Red Bull: IBEX Figurative Mark Rejected On Appeal

Last Updated: 10 May 2018
Article by Zeynep Seda Alhas and Di̇lan Sıla Kayalıca
  • Red Bull opposed registration of figurative mark IBEX based on figurative mark RED BULL
  • Board found that there was likelihood of association/confusion
  • Opposition was upheld for goods in Class 30 and Class 32

The Re-examination and Evaluation Board of the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TürkPatent) has found that the application for the figurative trademark IBEX was confusingly similar to the figurative trademark RED BULL and, therefore, could not be registered for beverages in Classes 30 and 32.


On August 10 2016 a Turkish company applied to register the figurative trademark IBEX in Classes 30 and 32.Following its publication in the Official Trademark Bulletinof the TürkPatent, the opponent opposed the application based on the following earlier trademark registrations:

The grounds on which the opposition was based were:

  • likelihood of confusion; and
  • risk of damage to the well-known status of the earlier trademarks.

The examiner of TürkPatent's Trademarks Department rejected the opposition, deciding that the trademarks were not similar and that there was no risk that the application would derive an unfair benefit from, or damage the distinctive character/dilute the well-known status of, the opponent s trademarks.

The opponent appealed the decision before the Re-examination and Evaluation Board, which consists of three senior examiners. it argued that the trademarks are confusingly similar due to the blue, grey and red colours, and that the graphic elements (ie, the blue-grey background and the red silhouette of a horned animal) were conceptually similar to the opponent s marks, thus giving the overall impression that the application was derived from the RED BULL marks. The opponent also stressed that the application, if registered, would derive an unfair benefit from the well-known status of its trademarks.

In its decision, the board firstly established that the trademark application at issue consisted of the image of a mountain goat (ibex) in red on a background composed of two different colours (grey and blue), with the word element 'ibex'. In contrast, the opponent's red BULL trademark depicted below consisted of two red bulls on a grey/silver and dark blue background, in combination with the words 'red bull' and 'energy drink'.

The board nevertheless found that the trademarks were sufficiently similar so as to create a likelihood of confusion and/or association. In addition, the board determined that some of the goods falling within the scope of the application were identical or similar to the goods covered by the earlier trademark. Finally, the board stated that the earlier trademark was well known in the relevant sector, and that the possibility of confusion should be assessed in the opponent's favour.

Considering these facts together, the board concluded that there would be a likelihood of association/confusion between the fıgurative trademark IBEX and the figurative trademark RED BULL and that, in the event of the registration of the application, unfair benefits might be derived due to the well-known status of the opponent s trademark.

As a result, the board partially accepted the opponent s appeal and decided to remove coffee, cocoa; coffee or cocoa-based beverages, chocolate-based beverages; tea, ice tea in Class 30 and beers; preparations for making beer; mineral water, spring water, table water, aerated water; fruit and vegetable juices, their concentrates and extracts, non-alcoholic soft drinks; energy drinks (non-alcoholic) in Class 32 from the scope of application. The decision of the board is final and binding at the administrative stage.


This decision is important as it shows that the board adopted a broader interpretation, not only with regard to the signs, but also with regard to the goods/services. The board properly considered the well-known status of Red Bull GmbH s trademark, and concluded that the registration and use of a similar mark would create confusion for every kind of beverages, not only energy drinks.

Moreover, the examination of the likelihood of confusion based on Red Bull's device trademarks is more favourable than in previous cases.

The case also shows the importance of filing appeals against unfavourable decisions of TürkPatent in the first instance. The board's experienced examiners have a broader understanding of all opposition grounds – including similarity, confusion, well-known status and bad faith – and can guide junior examiners by setting important precedents for brand owners.

First published by WTR, in 04.04.2018

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.

Events from this Firm
26 Apr 2019, Seminar, Istanbul, Turkey

You are cordially invited to our World Intellectual Property Day event.

Every April 26, World Intellectual Property Day is celebrated worldwide to learn about the role that intellectual property (IP) rights play in encouraging innovation and creativity. Within this scope; we have set the theme for our event as “Women in IP, from creation to protection of rights” to encourage participation of women in IP system in respect of innovation, creativity and protection of rights in Turkey.

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
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