On August 18, 2021, TPTO published and updated guidelines pertaining to examination of trademark applications laying down principles/standards to be followed for assessment of confusing similarity between rival marks including evaluation of the likelihood of confusion as per Article 6(1) of IP code.

The recent guidelines deal with the other important criteria in the examination of trademark applications, which are relative grounds for refusal. With the addition of 300 pages of detailed explanation on the application of principles of the likelihood of confusion, which is the most common relative grounds for refusal, the guidelines now consist of 681 pages. It deals with basic principles of handling the examinations of similarity between goods and services, especially in opposition proceedings.

Some of the main topics covered are as follows:

  1. Assessment similarity of the trademarks and similarity of goods and services
  2. Role of Nice Classification in evaluating the likelihood of confusion
  3. Similarity between trademarks and similarity between goods and services
  4. The target consumers and level of their attention
  5. Examination of the distinctiveness of prior trademark
  6. Visual, aural and comparison test to be applied for comparing signs

It elucidates that while assessing similarity between any goods and services, whether competing, complementary or substitutes, factors like a channel of distribution, target consumers and source of trade should be considered. The guidelines further explain the impact of distinctiveness on confusing similarity including visual, aural and conceptual similarities of the marks and cover the similarity between different types of trademarks like word marks, device marks and words with device trademarks.

It is expected that these guidelines will improve the quality of decisions taken by TPTO in conformity with the principles of examination of confusing similarities elaborated in the guidelines.

1 https://www.turkpatent.gov.tr/TURKPATENT/resources/temp/CFF1AE84-9563-42D6-BC18-1EF3597D01CC.pdf

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.