Legal fight continues over ownership of ‘Sultanahmet köfte’ despite ruling
ISTANBULA company which was declared last week to be the true owner of the Sultanahmet Köfte (meatball) brand has asked a rival company to remove signboards with the name of Sultanahmet Köfte from its 200 branches around the company.
Elit Gıda, which belongs to the Tezçakın family, won a court case over Sultanahmet Gıda Sanayi over the rights to use the name Sultanahmet Köfte.
Sultanahmet Gıda Sanayi, however, has said they will not remove the signboards until a court order.
In its ruling last week, the court banned the company from using the name “Sultanahmet meatball” on signboards or other materials, according to daily Takvim.
Elit Gıda send a notice demanding the removal of all signboards using the name within seven days of the court’s decision.
But a lawyer for Sultanahmet Gıda Sanayi said they would not remove the signboards before the verdict is validated.
“If they do not remove the signboards, we will sue and denounce all of them separately,” said Mehmet Tezçakın, adding that they had sent the messages in good faith.
The court in Istanbul had finally decided which brand is the real maker of the köfte – a favorite among tourists to the city – after four years of legal proceedings.
Accordingly, food company Sultanahmet Gıda Sanayi, which has a number of shops, was ordered to pay compensation to Elit Gıda.
The court had ruled that Elit Gıda’s “Sultanahmet Köftecisi,” which was established in 1920 by Tezçakın’s grandfather, is the real maker of the köfte. The court also ruled that all goods, trade, documents, signboards, billboards and advertisements that would offend the brand Sultanahmet Köftecisi, owned by Tezçakın family, must be banned.
The website of the defendant company “sultanahmetkofteci.com.tr” will be erased while the grandchildren of Mehmet Seracettin Efendi, the founder of Sultanahmet Köftecisi, will receive 626,993 Turkish Liras in compensation, the court also ruled.
Elit Gıda, which has been struggling with a number of knock-off brands for many years, filed a complaint in the court of intellectual and industrial property rights four years ago to halt the violations of its brand rights.
According to complaint, the company was founded in 1920 and used the name “Sultanahmet Meşhur Halk Köftecisi” before switching to Sultanahmet Köftecisi. Tezçakın obtained the patent for the brand “1920 Sultanahmet Meşhur Halk Köftecisi” in 2000.
In 2011, Tezçakın transferred the brand to Elit Gıda, which is owned by Mustafa Mert Tezçakın and İsmail Timur Tezçakın. The restaurants have attracted many famous people, and the brand has also been included in travel guidebooks. The brand has also been registered abroad.