Turkey: How To Protect Trademarks Internationally

Last Updated: 21 February 2019
Article by Gülenay Çapkınoğlu

A trademark is a sign or design capable of distinguishing the goods or services of one enterprise from those of other enterprises. It can comprise words, or images, or a combination of both. Trademarks are protected by intellectual property rights. These operate at a national level, but also internationally through a complex system of treaties.

As business moves increasingly online, protecting trademarks internationally is ever more important. If your company has a website, its trademarks are visible to the entire world. Unless they are properly registered, there may be little to stop competitors using or adapting your valuable intellectual property.

Registering a trademark will give notice to the public of the registrant's ownership of the mark. Registration gives the registrant the exclusive right to use the mark in connection with the relevant categories goods and services, within the jurisdiction where it's registered.

In principle, a trademark registration will confer an exclusive right to the use of the registered trademark. This implies that the trademark can be exclusively used by its owner. The owner also has a right to license the use of his trademark to another party, usually in return for payment. In this case, the owner can specify the duration of the licence, whether the licencee can transfer it to another party, and also the geographical area where the licensee will operate. This means that a trademark owner can licence one company to use its trademark in France, and another in the UK, for example.

Registration provides legal certainty and reinforces the position of the trademark holder, for example, in case of litigation or a dispute over first use. When registering a trademark, it's important to ensure that the correct classes of goods and services are applied for. Goods and services have been divided by the International (Nice) Classification of Goods and Services system into 45 trademark classes.

In order to protect a trademark internationally, there are two options: The first is to file a trademark application with the trademark office of each country where protection is required. This may be complex, costly and time-consuming. A preferable option is to use the Madrid System, which is operated by the World Intellectual Property Office (WIPO).

Although international registration is not a requirement, it may become practical necessity as a business expands. For instance, if a company begins to sell online or wants to open branches or franchises in different countries.

In our era of easy online sales, companies selling their products wholesale might not even be sure where their products end up being re-sold and so a precautionary approach may be advisable. Any trademarked products or services for sale online are available – or at least visible – internationally.

The Madrid System of International Registration

The Madrid System means that you can file an international application from the UK and designate any of 119 countries which are signatories to the Madrid Protocol.

Obtaining international trademark registration through the Madrid Protocol is a three-stage process. Firstly, it is necessary to register a trademark application in your home IP office. This is known as the "basic mark". You can then make an international application to WIPO through your home office, choosing which countries you wish to designate. Your home IP office then certifies this application and forwards it to WIPO.

The second stage is where WIPO formally examines your trademark. Where the international application complies with all relevant requirements, the mark is recorded in the International Register and published in the WIPO Gazette of International Marks. WIPO will then send you a certificate of international registration and will inform the IP Offices in each territory which you have designated.

Only then does stage three begin. At this stage, each of the IP Offices in the designated territories will go ahead and make a decision as to whether it can register your trademark, in accordance with its own legislation. WIPO will then notify you of the outcome in each case, and will record these decisions in the international register.

It is important to keep on using your trademarks in each country where they are registered in order to maintain them.

Applying for trademarks in Turkey

As I mentioned, the first step in registering your trademark is to make an application to your home IP office. To illustrate what's involved in such an application, I'll use the example of the process in Turkey, where I practise law. The procedure to file a trademark in Turkey is similar to that in most European countries. Turkish intellectual property law is generally aligned with EU law and therefore the fundamental principles, and the processes involved, are broadly similar.

In Turkey, trademark protection can be obtained through registration with the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office ("TPTO"). This involves filing an application for registration with and paying the required fees. The application form is in the Turkish language and, if the applicant is based overseas, they must use an authorised Turkish trademark attorney.

The registration of a trademark in Turkey is valid for 10 years from the date of application. A trademark can be then renewed indefinitely, for additional ten-year periods each time.

An applicant may apply to have their trademark registered in multiple classes. The TPTO conducts an initial review to determine whether the initial procedural requirements are met. If so, the application then proceeds to an ex officio examination. This results in a decision as to whether the trademark is sufficiently distinctive and whether the application meets the absolute requirements. If all is in order, the application is published for opposition.

A third party may oppose an application on absolute grounds. Someone may argue for example that the trademark is indistinguishable from an earlier trademark for similar goods. A third party might also oppose an application on relative grounds, such as that the application is made in bad faith.

If no opposition is received by the TPTO within two months, the application is granted and the trademark will automatically proceeds to registration. Where an application is unopposed, the entire process from application to the actual granting of a trademark might typically take in the region of 9 to 12 months. However, if a trademark application is opposed, the process would typically need to be extended by a further 6 or 8 months, due to the time it takes for opposition proceedings to be heard.

If an application is not granted, or if an adverse ruling is made in the course of opposition proceedings, it is possible to appeal the decision. An appeal must be filed within two months of when a party is notified of a refusal, or an adverse decision. If a trademark application is ultimately granted, the decision is published in the Official Trademark Bulletin.

Trademarks can be cancelled if they have not been used for 5 years or more. A third party claiming a prior right to the trademark can also make an application to the courts to cancel a trademark. However, if they have not done so within 5 years of the granting of the trademark, any rights they have could be deemed forfeited. Because Turkey is a country party to the Madrid Protocol, it is possible to make an application through TPTO for international trademark registration with WIPO.

The main advantage of using the Madrid System is in the simplicity of its international registration system. The Madrid System makes it far easier and cheaper to obtain and maintain trademark protection across multiple countries.

This article was published in Lawyer Monthly

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Gokce Attorney Partnership
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Practice Guides
by Mondaq Advice Centres
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Related Topics
Similar Articles
Relevancy Powered by MondaqAI
Gokce Attorney Partnership
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Mondaq Free Registration
Gain access to Mondaq global archive of over 375,000 articles covering 200 countries with a personalised News Alert and automatic login on this device.
Mondaq News Alert (some suggested topics and region)
Select Topics
Registration (please scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of www.mondaq.com

To Use Mondaq.com you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions