Turkish court decides who the real Sultanahmet meatball maker is
Özge Eğrikar - ISTANBULA court in Istanbul has finally decided which brand is the real maker of the Sultanahmet “köfte” (meatball) – 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, will be forced to pay compensation to food company Elit Gıda, the owner of “Sultanahmet Köftecisi.”
The court ruled that Elit Gıda’s “Sultanahmet Köftecisi,” which was established in 1920 by Mehmet Seracettin 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 was also registered abroad.
Meanwhile, Sultanahmet Gıda Sanayi company’s lawyer has said the two brands bear no resemblance to each other and asked that the case be dismissed.
“The complainant has no investment regarding its brand. There is no offence against the right of the brand or unfair competition,” the lawyer said, adding that the name of “Sultanahmet köfte” had become a widely used term.
“My client company has been using their own brand and has been investing in it. The case must be rejected,” he said.
Contrastingly, Elit Gıda’s lawyer said the defendant company was taking advantage of his client’s company’s fame.
“The defendant side registered the brand with malicious intentions. We think that they are taking advantage of our brand’s fame. We seek the prevention of the violation of the brand that has belonged to my client for a hundred years, and we demand the court order compensation,” he told the court.
The court accepted the demands of Elit Gıda and ordered the defendants to pay compensation while also abiding by the other relevant decisions on bans.