Fairs Market Turkey

Turkish fairs fight over name

ArtInternational is still due to take place later this month but under a shortened title after legal battle with rival fair

ArtInternational will be held at the Haliç Congress Centre

A major new modern and contemporary art fair due to open in Istanbul next week has been forced to change its name following a legal battle with a rival fair in the city. A regional court in Istanbul ruled earlier this week that the inaugural ArtInternational Istanbul fair (16-18 September, Halic Congress Centre) must be known as ArtInternational; the move follows legal action by Ikon Fuarcılık, the company behind Contemporary Istanbul, the eighth edition of which launches in November.

“A court hearing took place between the organisers of Contemporary Istanbul (İkon Fuarcılık) and [ArtInternational co-founders] Fiera Milano Interteks over an alleged breach of copyright concerning the use of the name ArtInternational Istanbul for the new modern and contemporary art fair launching in Istanbul in September 2013,” says a spokesman for ArtInternational.

He says, however, that the ruling is temporary. “A decision was made that, until the conclusion of the case, scheduled for late September, ArtInternational (the name legally owned by Fiera Milano Interteks) should remove the location of the fair ‘Istanbul’ from its title,” the spokesman adds. The website for the fair, along with other branding material and signage, have subsequently been changed; the event is still scheduled to go ahead.

The other co-founder of the new fair is Sandy Angus of the company Angus Montgomery Ltd. Angus co-founded Art HK, the Hong Kong International Art Fair, along with Tim Etchells in 2008.

“The unique ownership of the Art Istanbul trademark in the field of fairs is Ikon’s; our client’s trademark has been infringed by ‘resemblance’,” says Unsever, the law firm representing Contemporary Istanbul. Ali Gureli, the chairman of Contemporary Istanbul, says that the dispute “has nothing to do with the competition”, and that a new fair would attract more collectors to Istanbul. He adds: “This action was taken to protect our company’s brand. Our lawyers officially warned these gentlemen in August and November last year.”

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