Alternative Remedy for Anticounterfeiting: Complaint Before Advertisement Board

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In its recent decisions[1], the Advertisement Board imposed sanctions against  the advertising of counterfeit products that were sold and advertised as genuine products on various websites Instagram pages, according to Law No. 6502 on Protection of the Consumer (“Consumer Protection Law”) and the Regulation on Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices (“Advertising Regulation”).

The complaints subject to these   decisions are based on the fact that  the products offered for sale on the websites and Instagram pages are advertised and promoted as genuine products, despite the products received by the consumers do not comply with the quality standards expected from these products. 

The Advertisement Board has evaluated that the claims regarding the authenticity of the products in these advertisements available on the specified websites do not reflect the truth and that the advertisements and promotions which affect the purchasing decision of the consumers are deceptive, misleading and exploiting the lack of information of the consumers. Consequently, the Advertisement Board has concluded that the advertisements subject to scrutiny violated the Consumer Protection Law and the Advertising Regulation. Furthermore, it has been decided to issue a cease order against the said advertisements and issue an administrative monetary fine considering the internet channel where the advertisements are broadcasted and the date thereof.

In its decision numbered 2021/833 rendered at the meeting dated 09.03.2021 and numbered 307 of the Advertisement Board, it has been determined that the complainant company’s trademark registered before the Turkish Patent Trademark Office has been used without permission in the promotions and advertising made on the website of the complained party. The Advertisement Board evaluated that the complained party, due to unpermitted use of the trademarks, unfairly benefited from the trademark rights and the commercial reputation of the complainant. Therefore, the said advertising was found misleading, deceptive, and exploiting the lack of information to affect consumers’ purchasing decisions. It is concluded by the Advertisement Board to issue a cease order against the said advertising and to impose an administrative monetary sanction for the advertisements that violated the Consumer Protection Law and the Advertising Regulation.

In our opinion,  it is an important development that the Advertisement Board, which is established under the Ministry of Trade’s General Directorate of Consumer Protection and Market Surveillance, also carries out administrative against advertisements and promotions of counterfeit products and implements administrative sanctions stipulated in the Consumer Protection Law and Advertising Regulation. The decisions above are also exemplary to affirm that the trademark right holders can alternatively resort to administrative remedies and judicial remedies against trademark infringement.

[1] The decision numbered 2019/9106 rendered at the meeting dated 04.05.2021 numbered 309 as well as the decision numbered 2019/2610 rendered at the meeting dated 11.08.2020 numbered 300

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