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Registration of trademarks in TRNC

Registration of trademarks in TRNC

Trademarks are part of the trading life. There are brands in almost every part of our lives. It is the most natural right of a consumer to distinguish between the products we use, to know who produced them and what they are composed of. On the other hand, companies that produce these brands aim to distinguish their products from other brands, to determine the standards of their own products and to protect them in order to make more profit in line with the demands of the markets for their products. Therefore, the registration of a brand is important for both the consumer and the manufacturer of that brand. Imagine a situation where everyone is able to launch a product using any logo that exists. The consumers would be confused and the sales of brand products will undoubtedly be adversely affected. As a result, brands would be mixed, and the sales of the original brand that is renowned in the market and has a certain customer potential would be affected both materially and morally. That is the reason why distinguishing brands from each other prevent unfair competition. There are certain procedures and rules for distinguishing brands and the Law regulating trademarks in the TRNC is the Trade Marks Act No. 28/1995, Chapter 268.

The law describes brand asa form, description of a particular type of commodity or product, or a trademark, title, symbol, tag, name, signature, word, letter, number, or any combination thereof.[¹] From this point of view, we can define the brand as any sign such as shape, picture, graphic or drawing which is used to differentiate a product from other products.

1. Registration of Trademarks

Whether an owner of a brand is a TRNC citizen or not, trademarks are registered in the Registrar of Trademarks located in the Official Receiver and Registrar department. The Official Receiver and Registrar holds a register for trademark registration and keeps the two parts, A and B, of the registration record under its own supervision and control. This register is open to public investigation during the working hours.[²] The Official Receiver and Registrar have divided the trademarks into 34 different groups according to their types. The application for registration of a trademark must be made separately for each brand. Brand samples should be submitted for the application and a brand definition should be made explaining the shape and colour of the brand. The application for a trademark registration can also be made through a representative who is a resident in the TRNC. For an unregistered brand, a claim cannot be filed against claims for damages arising from the violation of the trademark. However, this rule does not affect the right to file a lawsuit regarding the release of goods (passing off).[³]

A person who has registered a trademark in part A of the register shall have the exclusive right and authority to use the merchandise related to that trademark. Therefore, the use of and/or use of such trademark as if the trademark has not been owned by the owner of the trademark without the consent of the owner of the trademark, such as the trademark in which the trade mark is an identical, registered or registered trademark has the same Any use of such trademark in connection with the products to which that brand is linked or in a way that causes it to be perceived or referred to in the registered products of that brand will cause a violation of the registered trademark.[⁴]

2. Trademarks registered to Part A of the Registry

In order for a trademark to be registered in part A of the register, it must have the following characteristics;

  1. The real or legal entity has a specific or determined name,
  2. The signature of the applicant or his authorized representative for registration;
  3. The trademark must have a made up or invented word or made up words,
  4. The trademark must not refer directly to the type or quality of the goods and the word must not contain a geographical name or a surname.
  5. The mark or brand to be registered must be distinctive, given the extent to which all the circumstances and conditions of the register are examined and how well it is inherited.[⁵]

2. a - Cases where no violation will be considered for the trademark registered to Part A of the registry

Without the permission of the registered owner of the trademarks, any use or process of that brand or the products of that trademark shall be deemed to have violated the trade mark and is liable to remedy the damages suffered by the trademark owner as a result of the violation. However, in some cases, the use of that trademark by someone else, even if registered by a trademark owner, will not cause a violation. The relevant law thus provides some exceptions. Accordingly:

  1. If the registered owner of the trademark has put the trade mark on the goods and has not removed or deleted the trade mark.
  2. If the registered owner of the trademark has expressed or implied consent to the use of the trade mark at any time,[⁶]
  3. The trademark is to be used for goods that constitute part of other goods or which are produced as accessories of such goods. If the use of the brand is reasonably necessary to show that the goods are part of that brand, and the purpose and effect of the use of the brand is not the act of demonstrating a connection between the merchant and the merchandise commercially, the use of one or more of the two or more registered trademarks that are very similar to each other shall not be construed as violating the rights of the registered trademark owner.

2.b - Trademarks registered in section B and the violations of this trademark

The brands that can be registered in part B of the register are sufficient to have a distinctive quality. When distinctiveness is determined, the record may take into account the extent to which distinctions occurs spontaneously or otherwise occurs when conditions are examined.

The registration of any trade mark or part of the same trade mark or the same trade mark in the name of the same owner to Part A is not an obstacle for the registration of a trade mark in the B part of the register. However, instead of rejecting the application for registration in part A of the register, the register may make the registration of the applicant in Part B with the consent of the applicant. In practice, registrations to Part B of the Register usually have a geographical name or a surname in the trademarks.[⁷]

As we mentioned earlier, the other part of the record, which is maintained by the Registrar, is called part B. The right to use the trademark obtained by the owners of the trademarks registered in part A applies also to the owners of the trademarks registered in part B of the register. In the case of applications for the violation of trademarks that are registered in part B of the registry and in court proceedings, if the defendant can prove that there is no possibility of confusion about the trademark in question, or that the claimant does not give the impression that there is a link between the goods of the registered trademark and the property of the registered trademark owner there will be no violation of the brand, except for cases where there is a violation of trademarks under Section 8 of Article 268. However, the cause of this defence does not apply to the violation specified in Article 8 of the said Law.

Attr. Berke Ada
  • Attr. Berke Ada
  • June 2019