Trademark owners generally agree that trademarks should have
strong protection and that well-known marks deserve more. Likewise, specific
protection is provided for well-known marks against use by others of similar
marks even for dissimilar or non-competing goods and services regardless of
whether or not they are registered, as officially recognized in international
agreements, i.e. Art.6bis of Paris Convention, and Art.16.2/3 of TRIPs Agreement.
In Turkey, there are two ways that a trademark can be officially granted well-known
status: (1) by a court decision or (2) by the Turkish Patent Institute (TPI) via
a successful application. However, protection for dissimilar goods and services
has been under discussion for well-known mark applications because the TPI had
granted such applications under two categories: (1) well-known marks, widely
recognized by everyone, and (2) sectoral/partial well-known marks, recognized
only in related commercial sectors. The first allows exclusive protection in all
trademark classes whereas the latter is restricted to related classes only.
The well-known categorization depends on the degree of establishment based on 17
facts declared by the TPI, such as: local or worldwide trademark history,
duration of use, recognition and advertising of the mark, commercial value
attributed to the mark and the quality image that the mark has acquired, related
questionnaires and court decisions, if any. Depending on the well-known facts,
the TPI may grant a trademark application for protection either in all classes
or only in particular related classes.
An advantage of this is that it is unlikely that a trademark will be registered
under the same or different classifications, which are the same as, or are
confusingly similar to, the name of a well-known trademark. These kinds of
attempts will be automatically rejected by the TPI, even if no objection has
been put forward by the owner of the well-known mark. The owners of well-known
marks might be able to prove infringement and bad faith by people who have
attempted to counterfeit their marks, and the gravity of their loss, much more
easily before a court of law.
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