llowing advertisers to make direct references to a competitor's trademark or name in comparative advertisements is a long awaited rule in Turkey. Article 8/2 of the Regulation on Commercial Advertisements and Unfair Commercial Practices (the "Regulation") allows for direct comparative advertisements; the effective date of the article was postponed twice since its announcement. In our client alert of December 2016, we publicized that the postponed rule will take effect on December 30, 2016.
However, in the most recent iteration of the Regulation published on January 4, 2017, the government announced that it has postponed the effective date until January 1, 2018. As such, advertisers will not be able to make direct references to names, brands or distinctive signs of competitor's for another year.
The latest version of the Regulation also introduced a new prerequisite for direct comparative advertising. According to the amendment, "direct comparative advertisements cannot include any testimony of a real person or institution." Thus, as of January 1, 2018, making direct references to competitor's names, brands and distinctive signs will be possible but advertisers cannot refer to or include any user testimony.
While comparative advertising is already permitted in Turkey, direct comparative advertising is a completely new concept. This novel concept is raising unfair competition and intellectual property infringement related concerns among right owners. The article's postponements are in response to these concerns, as well as the pressing need for detailed guidelines for direct comparative advertising implementation. For a further explanation on comparative advertising, please refer to our client alert of October 2015.