In their second post, Utku Süngü and Mutlu yıldırım Köse look at some of the trade mark applications that have arisen from the COVID-19 pandemic.
This is the second part of our article on the impact of COVID-19 in Turkey. The first post, looking at trade mark trends, can be read here.
With the COVID-19 pandemic, phrases such as “Koronavirus” (Coronavirus), “Korona” (Corona), “Sosyal Mesafe” (Social Distancing) and “Evde Kal” (Stay Home) have become part of our daily lives. This has also affected trade mark applications. Hence, we find phrases that are related to the pandemic such as “Covid-19”, “Coronavirüs”, “Koronavirüs” “Sosyal Mesafe”, “Covid” and “Korona” among the trade mark applications filed since the beginning of 2020.
It has been detected in the research made on the trade mark records of the Office that some of the trade mark applications have been rejected after the first examination while the registration process for some is continuing.
It can be stated that the Office rejects trade mark applications with the phrases “Covid-19”, “Korona” and “Corona” when they are applied for classes 3, 5, 9 and 10 which include cleaning, health, medical and protective materials in general, except when they have an additional distinctive device or phrase. For instance, it has been decided for the trademark application pictured right (number 2020/32607) that the registration process continue for the classes 3 and 5.
However, a trade mark application for “Korona” (number 2020/38152) has been rejected for class 3. Likewise, an application for “Coronagel” (number 2020/10514) has been rejected after the first examination for the class 5 including “Disinfectants, antiseptics (microbe killers), detergents for medical purposes, medicated soap, disinfecting soap, antibacterial hand lotions”.
Meanwhile, an application for “Hyper Corona” (number 2020/35062) has not been rejected for class 5 that includes the same goods and it is published in the Official Trademark Bulletin.
The Office does not generally reject trade mark applications with the phrases ”Covid-19”, “Korona” and “Corona” for goods and services for which these phrases cannot be defined as ‘descriptive’. It has been decided that the registration process of the two applications pictured (number 2020/45781 for class 35 and number 2020/58481 for classes 28 and 41 respectively) and “Korona Günlerinde Aşk” (number 2020/35152) for classes 9 and 41 can continue.
Likewise, the trade mark application “Corona” (number 2020/14479) for class 13 including “Firearms, air guns, spring arms and adapted cases and shoulder straps therefor. Heavy weapons, mortars and rockets. Fireworks. Defence gases for personal use” has not been rejected after the first examination and has been published in the Official Trademark Bulletin. However, the application pictured left (number 2020/34233) has been rejected for classes 1, 18 and 25.
The Office also rejects trade mark applications related to the COVID-19 period with the phrases “Sosyal Mesafe” (Social Distancing) and “Evde Kal” (Stay Home) unless they have distinctive devices or phrases. The following have been rejected:
- An application for “Sosyal Mesafe” (number 2020/38434) for classes 35, 41, 42 and 44.
- The application pictured above right (number 2020/43475) for classes 25 and 35.
- “Evdekal” (number 2020/36708) for class 35.
- The applications pictured right (number 2020/42290 for class 42 and number 2020/42290 for class 30).
However, an application for “Tadelle Evde Kal” in class 30 has not been rejected after the first examination and has been published in the Official Trademark Bulletin.
The approach of existing marks
Existing trademarks have tried to cope with the COVID-19 period by adopting various approaches. World-famous trade marks have created many commercial films raising awareness about the importance of social distancing and staying home. Apart from that, trade marks that can be called “social distancing trade marks” have been one of the methods adopted, as these examples show:
Trade marks in Turkey have also changed their logos in this way and participated in this trend of creating “social distancing trademarks”:
The COVID-19 pandemic, which has affected the whole world, has had an impact on trade mark law in many ways as well as other areas of law.
While the total number of trade mark applications before the Office has decreased, applications related to the COVID-19 period including phrases such as “Korona”, “Corona”, “Covid”, “Sosyal Mesafe” (Social distancing) and “Evde Kal” (Stay Home) have increased rapidly. Existing brands have made temporary revisions to their trade marks and slogans parallel with the Covid 19 period.
Utku Süngü and Mutlu yıldırım Köse are attorneys with Gün+Partners, a MARQUES member