Trademarks in Turkey

Traditionally, trademarks comprised of a word, logo, symbol, or a combination of these three. However, businesses have now started to rely on colours, sounds, motions, positions, and holograms to distinguish their products and services in the consumer market. In Turkey, substantial protection of these non-traditional trademarks is not described in the Turkish Industrial Property Code or IP Code. As there are no special provisions in the code for the registration of non-traditional trademarks, the principles, which pertain to the Trademark Registration of other signs, are also applied to non-traditional trademarks. Moreover, the absolute refusal grounds as per Article 5 of the IP code are also applicable to these non-traditional trademarks as well.

According to Article 4 of the IP code, a trademark must be capable of being represented on the register by distinguishing the products and services from those of other undertakings. In this provision, colours, shapes, and the sounds of goods, along with their packaging, are also specifically mentioned. As all types of signs are mentioned in this Article, there is no legal obstacle to the registration of motion marks and holograms as trademarks as well.

As per Article 7 of the Regulation on the Implementation of the Industrial Property Code which came into effect on April 24, 2017:

  • Representation of the mark, including a view from one side or multiple angles so as to provide a clear and precise understanding of the subject of protection, must be submitted for three-dimensional (3D) trademark applications.
  • Recordings of sound suitable for listening and storing in electronic form must be submitted to the office for sound trademark applications.
  • Colour images and an indication of the colour code accepted by the office must be submitted for colour trademark applications.
  • Images describing the trademark’s motion or motionless or moving image sequence must be submitted for motion trademark applications.

The regulation regarding the representation of trademarks is now in line with the EU Trademark Regulation, which will lead to significant progress regarding the non-traditional trademarks as the abolished Regulation on the Implementation of Decree-Law 556 didn’t include provisions for sound, motion, colour, or 3-D marks. This new regulation effectively reduces the lengthy procedures of trademark registration by clearly defining what must be submitted at the time of registration of different types of trademarks.


In Turkey, there are two types of colour marks, which can be registered as trademarks, namely, single colour trademarks, and combination colour trademarks. In practice, trademarks composed of colour combinations are distinctive and uniquely identifiable than single colour trademarks. As per the Court of Appeals’ various decisions, single colour trademarks cannot be monopolized, and their public use is equitable. For geographical representation, the dimensions of each colour and their respective positions in the sign must be clearly described.


Sound and motion marks can also be registered as trademarks in Turkey if they satisfy the criteria for a trademark and possess a distinctive character. In the case of sound marks, the length of the sound is crucial, as long sounds usually result in refusal due to non-distinctiveness. Sounds that are either generic in any relevant sector or descriptive in nature are not granted Trademark Protection. Motion marks must be graphically represented in a series of pictures and drawings along with a statement describing the features and functions of the images in the trademark, as well as the changes occurring between them.


For 3D trademarks, a graphical representation has to be submitted in Turkey in the form of a picture, drawing, photograph, or any other means capable of representing the mark. The graphical representation is a part of the trademark application, which is taken into consideration during the examination process.


Along with traditional trademarks in Turkey, the registration of non-traditional trademarks like 3D shapes, colours, sounds, and motion marks will increase in the coming future after taking into consideration the recent changes in the Turkish Trademark Law, which is in line with the EU directives. However, when it comes to the protection and enforcement of non-traditional trademarks, the offices and courts in Turkey still have a strict approach and carry out a broader and more detailed examination of their registrability.