Swatch wins court case against consumer complaints website
Dinçer Gökçe - ISTANBUL
Famous watch brand Swatch has won a legal case against şikayetvar.com, a third party platform that compiles and posts consumer complaints online.
Swatch argued that it was not allowed to respond to the comments about its products, its logo was used unauthorized and its reputation had tarnished.
It also said some of the products that consumers complained about were in fact counterfeit Swatch watches.
As officials from Swatch wished to respond to complaints in order to set the record straight, the website obliged the creation of a corporate account that costs 3,400 Turkish Liras (around $620) annually.
Swatch sent a warning to Şikayetvar Bilişim to remove the unauthorized logos, but when a concrete result was not reached, the Swiss company filed a lawsuit for trademark infringement, requesting 20,000 liras (roughly $3,660) in non-pecuniary damages.
“Some of the complained products are not related to us. We were not allowed to use our right to reply to comments because of the obligation of a paid membership. The defendant has been acquiring illegally by using the Swatch brand and logo in an unauthorized manner,” the complaint stated.
While Şikayetvar requested the dismissal of the case, it stressed that the use of the Swatch brand and logo is not “misapplication.”
The 1st Civil Court for Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights of Istanbul ruled on the unauthorized use of the Swatch brand and ordered the defendant to pay 10,000 liras (around $1,830) in damages.
The court also decided a summary of its ruling be published on a newspaper.
“When the decision is finalized, it will be unprecedented. From now on, the defendant firm will not be able to use corporate logos on its website. With this ruling, companies will have the right to respond to complaints free-of-charge,” said Eray İnceoğlu, a lawyer for Swatch.
The defendant company’s lawyer, meanwhile, stressed that the decision is “unlawful” and the company will appeal.