Registration of non-traditional marks in Turkey


Isik Ozdogan and Ezgi Baklaci

Although the Turkish Trademark Decree Law no: 556 allows the registration of signs such as trade dress, shapes or product packages, sounds, colours, etc, it has always been tricky to obtain registration for these types of non-traditional trademarks.

Article 5 of the law accepts such a sign as a trademark as long as the sign can be graphically represented and is capable of distinguishing an entity’s goods or services from those belonging to others. In other words, the law requires a sign to be distinctive and this is the point where problems occur.

The distinctiveness test for three-dimensional trademarks differs from the distinctiveness test relating to traditional trademarks. In principle, the Turkish Patent Institute (TPI) takes the following criteria into account:

  • The shape of a product becomes more distinctive as it diverges from its natural shape, or what is standard in the relevant sector; and
  • The average consumer should be able to identify the origin of the three-dimensional trademark without any effort because of the unusual and extra features added to it.

Due to the non-traditional features of three-dimensional trademarks, the specific element which benefits from registration differs. For example:

non-traditional marks, trademark registration, Turkish Trademark Decree Law no: 556, TPI