A Turkish textile company is in hot water because its name sounds too familiar for fans of La Liga powerhouse Barcelona.
The Spanish club filed a trademark lawsuit against Barca Textile, based in Istanbul, for infringement of its trademark rights, Hürriyet newspaper reported yesterday. Barca (or Barça) is the colloquial name of the La Liga champion and a petition to a Turkish court by the club's Turkish lawyer Nazlı Deniz Kol says this is how the club is known across the world. Kol said the club has countless trademarks in nearly 100 countries and a large fan base in Turkey as well.
The lawsuit comes after the club, which plans investments in Turkey, failed to register its trademark when it turned out that Barca had already secured the name officially after applying to the state-run patent authority in Turkey. The lawyer, however, says Barca has been in use as the name of the football club since 1899.
Barca Textile's owner Ali Öziçer disagrees. He says the company was founded in 1997 and named after "boat" in Italian, as a logo of a boat next to the company's name indicates. Speaking to Hürriyet, Öziçer said that they have been exporting clothes to many European countries under the name and that it is a registered trademark in those countries. "We recently applied for a trademark in Spain, but we were turned down. We found out that the Barcelona club was planning to open a restaurant in Turkey under this name and had applied for trademark rights. We filed an objection to their application, and they filed a lawsuit in return," he said.