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Turkish language school to pay damages to Harvard University in name dispute

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An Istanbul court has ordered a language school in Turkey to pay damages in the amount of 73,000 Turkish lira (approximately $13,830) to Harvard University over the unauthorized use of its name, the Hürriyet Daily News reported.

Halil Çil in the southern province of Antalya has been selling language and private school franchises under the name of “Harvard.”

Officials at Harvard University had filed a lawsuit demanding a total of 300,000 lira (approximately $56,845) in damages.

“Harvard is patented by the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office. The defendant has been selling franchises by using the name Harvard. They do not have a trademark registration or permission from us. They have received ill-gotten gains,” a petition filed by the lawyers on behalf of Harvard University said.

In his defense Çil said there had been no wrong use and that the monopolistic use of the name “Harvard” should be discussed as part of trademark law.

“Harvard is the name of a region in [the northeastern US state of] Massachusetts. We are using the Harvard name within the scope of a license an English company has. The case should be dismissed,” he said.

Meanwhile, the Turkish Education Ministry said private education establishments cannot be named in any language other than Turkish.

The ministry also stressed that an establishment named “Harvard” could not have obtained a license from the ministry and that using such a name was deceptive.

The court ordered the company to pay Harvard University 20,000 Turkish lira in pecuniary and 53,000 lira in non-pecuniary damages while also prohibiting use of the name Harvard.

Moreover, the court also ordered a ban on access to websites using Harvard’s name and a collection of all products published with the name.

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