Trademark Counterfeiting

Trade in counterfeit and pirated goods stands at 3.3% of global trade in 2019 and rising, according to a report by the OECD and the EU’s Intellectual Property Office. Trademark counterfeiting happens commonly at industries like footwear, clothing, leather goods, watches, perfumes, cosmetics, toys, and jewellery. Pirated goods not only cause profit loss to firms and harms economy but also carry a range of health and safety risks, especially fakes of items like car parts, cosmetics, toys, and medical supplies.1

What is Trademark Counterfeiting?

A trademark is any symbol, word, name, or design legally registered or established to identify a company or product. Counterfeiting a trademark is manufacturing or distributing fake goods that substantially indistinguishable from a genuine mark, without taking any permission from the trademark owner.

Trademark counterfeiting is often confused with trademark infringement. So, what is the difference between counterfeiting and infringement? Trademark counterfeiting includes trademark infringement by its nature. As said above counterfeiting a trademark is manufacturing or distributing fake goods that “substantially indistinguishable” from a genuine mark, but trademark infringement is manufacturing or distributing goods that “similar but not identical” from a genuine mark.

Trademark Counterfeiting in Turkish Trademark Law

Especially in a country like Turkey where has a big potential of costumer and has lots of pirated goods manufacturer, trademark law should effectively protect potential customers and companies. Thus, in Turkey, the trademarks are protected by the Industrial Property Code No.6769 and the Intellectual and Artistic Works Code No.5846. Turkey is also a member of World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) and is a party of several conventions about intellectual property including the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, Berne Convention on the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works, and the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.

Trademark counterfeiting consider as crime in IP Code, article 30/1 in Turkish Trademark Law. Manufacturing, importing, or exporting, shipping, buying for commercial purposes, offering for sale, or selling goods that identical or substantially similar to a genuine mark shall be punished to imprisonment for one to three years and and punished with a judicial fine (calculated per day) up to 20,000 days.

In any case of trademark counterfeiting, there is also an option for the trademark owner: Taking warrants from competent authorities to search and seizure pirated goods. Seizure operations can be conducted by police officers. After judgement processes, the seized goods will be destroyed. Trademark owners can prevent possible profit loss, and the government can prevent potential health risks with using this option.

For further information about this topic please contact Fırat Gültekin & Partners Law Firm.

1 OECD/EUIPO (2019), Trends in Trade in Counterfeit and Pirated Goods, Illicit Trade, OECD Publishing, Paris,