Trademarks are protected in Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus ("TRNC") by registration before the Registrar of TRNC.
In TRNC, there is
- no service mark registration and protection,
- no priority claim,
- no multi-class application,
- no electronic filing and searching,
- no extension of foreign registration and protection,
- no country code top level (ccTLD1) domain name registration,
- no design registration and protection
Turkey and TRNC have distinct and separate trademark legislations and authorities providing for the registration and protection. Thus, the trademarks registered in Turkey do not afford protection in TRNC or vice versa.
The situation on the island of Cyprus is particular in the sense that the de Jure and de Facto situations are not aligned. The Republic of Cyprus is recognized internationally as having de Jure sovereignty over the whole island having its capital and all the state organs in the Greek part of the island.
The TRNC being organized as a separate state/entity in the Turkish part of the island and not being recognized internationally, does not recognize the decisions and acts of the Greek part. In other words, there are two different jurisdictions in the island both for the establishment of a trademark right and of its enforcement necessitating separate registrations and actions/procedures in both jurisdictions.
As above mentioned, TRNC not being internationally recognized, is not accepted as a signatory of international agreements, such as WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) treaties and the World Trade Organization (WTO).
Accordingly, it is neither possible to file an international registration through WIPO by designating the TRNC nor to extend to TRNC an international application designating the Republic of Cyprus.
For the same reasons, no claim of priority is possible and accepted.
Also, for the same reasons, the Community Trademark does not extend to TRNC.
In accordance with the CHAPTER 268 TRADEMARKS LAWS dated 1959, the Registrar who is appointed by the Government is authorized to exercise all or any of the powers and perform all or any of the duties concerning trademarks2. He has a large discretionary power. The register shall be kept under the control and management of the Registrar.
The following documents need to be submitted simultaneously with the filing of the trademark application before the Registrar of TRNC.
- Power of Attorney (PoA) bearing the name and signature of the person authorized to sign in the name of and on behalf of the applicant company, the company seal and the date of execution. The PoA needs to be Notarial certified and further legalized with the Apostille.
- Specification of Goods: The wording of the international classification for the concerned class can be used or a specific wording can be adopted provided it falls under the concerned class.
- Trademark specimens: Size 6cm x 6cm. In printed format only.
- Description of the trademark: The text describing the meaning, the color and design features of the trademark.
- Disclaimer: It shall specify the features, if any, of the specimen upon which no protection is claimed.
- Official Filing Form3 must be filled in separately for each class of goods.
- Payment of Official Fees
After the trademark is officially filed before the Registrar of Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus (TRNC), the later stages of the application will be followed by referring to the official application date and number.
The trademark application can be filed only in written form. As the Registrar of T.R.N.C. has no digital equipment and capability, neither the application can be filed electronically, nor any search can be made electronically.
The notification of the official filing receipt attesting the application date & number to our side may take several (up to 8-10) months.
The trademark application is examined by the Registrar (ex-officio examination phase) approximately within 36-48 months in respect of the absolute grounds for refusal, taking into account also distinctiveness, deceptiveness and similarity.
If an ex-officio refusal is raised, the applicant can file an objection against the decision with two months as of the decision date (not the notification date).
When the application is cleared for registration after the ex-officio examination, the Registrar will require the completion of the publication and registration formalities such as the payment of the publication & registration fees within two months from the decision date (not the notification date).
Upon payment of the publication and registration fees, the trademark is published for opposition purposes by third parties in the Official Gazette. If no third-party opposition is filed during the opposition period of 2 months running from the date of publication, the original registration certificate (in written form only) is issued within 2-3 months.
It may take a trademark to mature into registration up to 60-72 months from the application provided no opposition and/or objection is raised.
A trademark registration in TRNC is valid for 7 years from the date of filing the application and can be then renewed for periods of 14 years each.
1 Country Code Top-Level Domain: Country code top-level domain (ccTLD) is an Internet top-level domain generally used or reserved for a country, sovereign state, or dependent territory identified with a country code.
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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.