Who is a relevant consumer?


Isik Ozdogan and Ezgi Baklaci

In many jurisdictions,‘relevant consumer’ is one of the most frequently used and necessary expressions when determining not only the likelihood of confusion between trademarks but also the notoriety level of a trademark.

The word ‘relevant’ adds a degree of variability to the expression and naturally, the relevant consumer group varies depending on the goods or services marketed.

Turkish Trademark Decree Law no. 556 Pertaining to Protection of Trademarks does not contain any expression similar to ‘relevant consumer’; instead, the concerned group of people is described generally as ‘the public’.

However, in practice the 11th Circuit Court of Appeal (which handles trademark and unfair competition cases), evaluates what ‘the public’ consists of in each and every case with its own conditions. The need to evaluate this expression on a case-by-case basis arises because the type, quality or character of the goods and services always changes the concerned group of people who are familiar with the trademark.

Turkish Trademark Decree Law, relevant consumer