NewsBurger King vs. Burger Turk

The suit concerning imitation between Burger King and Burger Turk was concluded. The Court held that Burger Turk imitated Burger King. Establishing that “with NFS Burger Turk restaurants, it has been endeavored to become similar to well known Burger King logo and restaurant concepts of Burger King, the Court decided that the signs of Burger Turk will be removed and pecuniary indemnity amounting to 45 thousand Turkish Liras and non-pecuniary indemnity amounting to 10 thousand Turkish Liras will be paid to Burger King.

The suit for ‘imitation’ between Burger King, the world’s fast food giant versus Burger Turk planning to extend to oversea countries and pending for about 4 years was concluded. The Court held that interior and exterior designs of Burger King Restaurants were imitated in the restaurants opened with mark Burger Turk. The decision of the local court brought to Appeal Court was also approved Supreme Court. It has been started to remove the signs of Burger Turk.

Offering service in over 13 thousand restaurants nationwide and 91 countries worldwide, Burger King and starting to offer service in İzmir in 2010 with its initial branches and now reaching about 10 branches Burger Turk under body of Yalvaçlar Group (NFS Gıda Turizm A.Ş.) were parties in the suit.

‘We have been imitated’
Lawyers of Burger King filed suit at İzmir Intellectual and Industrial Civil Court in 2010 claiming that their logo and restaurant concepts were imitated. Burger King claimed that the respondent party gained unfair earning by means of benefiting from its recognition of their trademark. Requesting interlocutory decision from the Court Burger King requested prevention of use of all products carrying uses having similarities to recognized logo and editing style as well as promotional material use and destruction of such material and also claimed pecuniary and  non-pecuniary indemnity.

The court took interlocutory decision upon expert reports. With the decision, the use of Burger Turk signs was banned. Burger Turk made partial changes in signs after the decision. The term “NFS” was added before Burger Turk term. No essential change was made in restaurant concept.

‘Ours is Ottoman Burger’
In the defense submitted to the Court, Burger Turk stated that the plaintiff company’s registered office is located in America and therefore the court is not authorized for the suit. Such claim of the company was not admitted by the court. Burger Turk emphasized that the colors they used in the sign is from Turkish flag and they cannot be within monopoly of any parties. In the defense, it was pointed out that 'Turkish Hamburger', 'Ottoman Burger' terms were used and therefore the concepts were different. In the defense, it was underlined that Burger King has American concept while they have Turkish concept.

‘There is effort to be similar’
The Expert reports requested by the Court have been against Burger Turk. The Court took its decision on February 13, 2012. The Court commented as follows: “With NFS Burger Turk restaurants there is effort for similarity to both well-known Burger King logo and Burger King’s restaurant concepts. Despite the interlocutory decision, the respondent made some small additions to its uses and continued to use them as they were”. The Court established that the consumer may get the opinion that there is connection between Burger King and NFS Burger Turk. The Court pointed out that the same color sign has been used, the way of positioning the logos is also similar and furthermore similar decorations have been used.

They would also be opened abroad
Focusing on activities in sectors such as fuel-oil, vessel dismantling, construction, Yalvaçlar Group opened first Burger Turk branches in İzmir. They also had the target to introduce abroad the trademark promoted in Van and İstanbul in future. Fua Yalvaç, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Yalvaçlar Group announced that they planned to penetrate in the market abroad after reaching 50 branches.

 Signs should be Removed
The Court held that NFS Burger Turk is faulty and decided that all materials including trademarks used and signs and instruments be collected and destroyed. The Court also decided on payment of pecuniary indemnity amounting to 45 thousand Turkish Liras and non-pecuniary indemnity amounting to 10 thousand Turkish Liras to Burger King by the respondent company. The decision of the court was brought to Supreme Court by NFS Burger Turk. The Supreme Court was requested to abolish the decision of local court. Chamber 11. Civil Court of Supreme Court approved the decision of local court and denied the objections.

Execution Tracking Done
Upon decision by Supreme Court, lawyers of NFS Burger Turk applied for correction of the decision. Decision correction application was also denied by the same chamber. Thus the decision was finalized. It is learnt that upon finalization of the decision the execution was initiated for collection of the indemnity imposed by the court. Some Burger Turk branches were closed down while the proceedings were pending.

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