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In accordance with the ruling that The Turkish Court of Cassation’s Assembly of Civil Chambers; the expression of “Devrim” in terms of 12 th class commodities, excepted as an expression that as stated in the Decree code 556 article 7/1-h “is in the scope of the signs that became public knowledge and cannot be given to someone else’s monopoly because of their interest with public, history and cultural values. This decision originates from the fact that the Turkey’s first domestic car which is called “Devrim” and it becoming a part of the country’s history.
REPUBLIC OF TURKEY, COURT OF CASSATION ASSEMBLY OF CIVIL CHAMBERS
FILE NO: 2017/118
AWARD NO: 2019/146
AWARD DATE: 14.02.2019
Through the inspection of the plenary committee, it has been established that the decision of persistence has been appealed within the legal time frame. Available documents have been analyzed and a verdict has been reached. Claimant’s attorney remarks that the claimant of the case is a state-owned enterprise, working in partnership with General Directorate of Turkish State Railways, which is formed as per the regulations laid out within statutory decree no: 233; that the claimant’s business activities consist of locomotive and wagon production; that in 1961 production of a commercial automobile had been mandated by the elect President Cemal Gürsel, through the utilization of the technical capability of Turkish State Railways; that consequently, preparations had gone underway to begin production of a commercial automobile within the claimant’s facilities; that the said automobile was named “DEVRIM”; that the lone existing production model of the automobile, being kept in a specialized showcasing belonging to Turkey Locomotion and Engine Industry Incorporated, is still in functional condition; that the word “DEVRIM” has been registered as a trademark in 12 th , 35 th and 37 th classifications on 02.03.2007 by the defendant, yet the word “DEVRIM” is the name of the first automobile produced locally, in the history of the Republic of Turkey, hence as per statutory decree no: 556 article 7/1-h is inadmissible as a trademark, and that the claimant is the pioneering party to use the name commercially thus has the pre-emptive right of registration as per statutory decree no: 556 article 8/3; and that the defendant party has never commercially utilized the trademark since its registration. Therefore the claimant’s attorney requests the court to nullify the registration of the trademark no: 2006/08150 in 12 th classification and remove said trademark from the trademark registry.
Defendant’s attorney remarks that the defendant party has been producing automobiles of ETOX branding under the name “First locally produced Ferrari” and that the name “DEVRIM” belongs to one of the models of said automobiles; thus requests the court to dismiss the case of the claimant. According to the domestic court; the required 5 year time frame had not been expired at the date the lawsuit was filed, hence the nullification request of the claimant in accordance with statutory decree no: 556 article 42/1-c and article 14 is inadmissible; the most widely accepted interpretation of the word “DEVRIM” is “rapid and significant developments within a particular field” and it is not associated with any particular historical or cultural values or objects; the claimant’s collective evidence has not been found adequate to prove that the word has been associated with a cultural value or figure in accordance with statutory decree no: 556 article 7/1-h; said article is in place to prevent words associated with historical, regional or sectoral trends and words that are historically and culturally significant from being registered as trademarks, thus the registration of the word “DEVRIM” as a trademark in 12 th classification is in accordance with article 7/1-h of said statutory decree; there is no evidence pertaining at the claimants usage of the word “DEVRIM” to promote any particular land or sea vehicle and its parts within 12 th classification; hence the court has not found the claimant to have any pre-emptive registration rights for the word “DEVRIM” in accordance with article 8/3 of said decree. Consequently the district court has dismissed the case. As per the claimant’s appeal to the verdict, the verdict has been reversed by the appropriate chamber of the court of cassation.
The district court has later has persisted on the verdict by expanding on the aforementioned reasoning.
The decision of persistence by the district court has been appealed by the claimant party.
JUSTIFICATION: In consideration of the statements written above, the word “DEVRIM” has first been utilized in 1961 by the claimant to produce and promote the very first Turkish made automobile as mandated by the government of the era, thus carries significant value for Turkish automotive industry as well as a more general cultural significance within the public conscious as it is associated with the few automobiles produced as a result of this collective effort; the automobile has been publicly displayed in 2004 during the 29 th October celebrations, on the helipad belonging to Ankara Chamber of Commerce and later displayed in 2005 at the entrance to Uludağ University, by the Bursa Society of Mechanical Engineers; additionally, a feature film that tells the story of the production of these automobiles has been produced; the claimant also maintains a functional model of the “DEVRIM” automobiles that is currently being on a public exhibition at the claimant’s facilities in Eskişehir which is being visited by thousands of visitors annually; consequently the court has found that the word “DEVRIM” carries cultural significance within the public conscience. Therefore, as the word “DEVRIM” has been embraced by the public as a word that holds historical and cultural significance for the Turkish automotive industry as the first locally produced automobile, as per article 7/1-h of decree no: 556, it is classified within “marks that belong to the public due to their association with historical and cultural values”, thus becoming inadmissible as a trademark. In conclusion, the district court’s decision of persistence against the initial reversal of the verdict by the court of cassation is found to the against the rule of law. Therefore, the district court’s decision of persistence should be reversed.
VERDICT: Claimant’s appeal has been accepted and the decision of persistence by the district court has been reversed in accordance with the justification of the initial reversal verdict of the court of cassation.