On 10 January 2015, the Regulation on Commercial Advertisement and Unfair Commercial Practices (“Regulation”) entered into effect in Turkey. Article 8 of the Regulation allows enterprises to use their competitors’ commercial title and trademark in their own advertisement for comparative purposes under certain conditions, which is an entirely new practice in Turkey. The effective date for Article 8 was first determined to be 10 January 2016, but this was previously postponed to 31 December 2016.  

However, by virtue of the regulation published in the Official Gazette dated 4 January 2017 and numbered 29938 (“Amending Regulation”), the effective date of the said Article 8 has been postponed once again from 31 December 2016 to 1 January 2018.

The Amending Regulation also proposes certain amendments to Article 8 of the Regulation. The amended version of the respective article set outs the following principles for comparative advertisements (amendments and additions proposed by the Amending Regulation are inserted below in italics for convenience):

  1. Enterprises may engage in comparative advertisement provided that:
    • such advertisements are not deceptive and misleading;

    • such advertisements do not lead to unfair competition;

    • the goods and services that are compared shall satisfy the same needs or serve the same purpose;

    • issues that are beneficial to the customer shall be subject to comparison under the advertisements;

    • advertisements shall objectively compare, , one or more characteristics, including price, of the goods and services which are tangible, essential, justifiable and typical;

    • claims under an advertisement which are based on objective, measurable or numeric data shall be evidenced by scientific tests, reports or documents;

    • advertisements shall not disparage or discredit the competitors’ intellectual and industrial rights, commercial title, business name, other distinguishing marks, goods, services, practices or other characteristics;

    • when comparing goods or services whose origin is also stated in the advertisement, said goods and services shall be from the same geographical location;

    • the advertisements shall not lead to confusion with respect to the trademark, commercial title, business name, or any other distinguishing mark, goods or services of the owner of the advertisement and its competitor; and

    • advertisements shall not be contrary to the principles determined by the Advertisement Board.

  2. Names, trademarks, logos or other distinguishing figures or expressions and commercial titles and business names that belong to competitors may be included in the comparative advertisements, provided that the advertisement in question complies with the conditions set out above in the first paragraph. Where a comparative advertisement includes the above-mentioned elements, the testimony of any person or an institution may not be included in the advertisements made in this way.

  3. With respect to food advertisements, the issues which fall into the scope of a health declaration according to the related legislation shall not be the subject of comparison. Issues within the scope of a nutritional declaration may only be used as an element of comparison in advertisements according to the provisions of the related legislation. The comparative advertisement of food supplements shall not be made under any circumstances.

  4. With respect to the advertisements related to the sectors where price corrections and significant market power obligations are regulated by the relevant administrative authorities, a price comparison shall not be made.

In light of the foregoing, it should be noted that, with the Amending Regulation, the legislator aims to regulate certain sectors (such as food, regulated sectors) in detail with regard to comparative advertisements. It should also be noted that by referring to its principles, the supervisory role of Advertisement Board has been strengthened.