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Enforcement of IPRs in Turkey


Enforcement of IPRs
The boom in counterfeit goods being posted in small parcels is due to online platforms making it easier to buy and sell counterfeits globally, which, in turn, makes it more difficult for the customs officers to search, track, and seize the counterfeit goods. The online sale of counterfeits is a promising option for infringers, since they can easily reach numerous potential customers through online channels with no expense for advertising, storage, or rental.
Clothes, leather goods, beverages, perfumes, and cosmetics are the goods that most often face counterfeiting and piracy in Turkey.
The Industrial Property Code 6769 (10 January 2017) governs the principles, rules, and conditions relating to the protection of trademarks, patents, utility models, designs, and geographical indications.
Trademarks, patents, utility models, designs, and geographical indications are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Turkey.
The Turkish Law provides limited protection for unregistered trademarks. Therefore, applying and registering for rights is a good option.
They are as follows:
  • Monitoring the market through regular market investigations to gather general knowledge of the IPRs owned by competitors in the market; and
  • Detecting possible infringing activities.
  • For trademarks and designs:
  • Searching for registered IPRs through online databases or official searches;
  • Applying for watch notice services for timely detection of all possible infringing applications; and
  • Registering the trademarks and designs well before starting a business.
Yes, 02 years from the date on which the trademark owner became aware of the damage and the party that caused the damage; and 10 years from the date on which the act was committed.
If the infringing action continues, the statute of limitations does not commence. If the infringing action constitutes a crime, the longer criminal statute of limitations applies.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
Other civil remedies in Turkey include the following:
  • Confiscation of goods constituting infringement, wherever they are located, including at customs;
  • Confiscation of all marketing material (signboards, business cards, and catalogues, to name a few) constituting infringement;
  • Prevention of access to websites constituting infringement;
  • Confiscation of any devices and machinery that are used for the production of infringing products;
  • To grant property rights for products, devices, and machinery that have been confiscated;
  • At the infringer’s expense, to change the shape of confiscated goods and of devices and machinery;
  • To remove the trademarks on such goods, or to spoil such goods if eliminating the infringement is inevitable;
  • To pay non-pecuniary and material damages; and
  • To announce the decision in a newspaper having the highest daily circulation.
For trial level, it takes between 18 and 24 months to receive the decision of the first-instance court. As for the notification of the court decision, the parties have the right to appeal the decision before second instance courts namely, Regional Courts, within 02 weeks and it takes 04 to 08 months to receive the decision. Court of Cassation is the third instance court, which the decision of second instance can be appealed. It takes 10 to 18 months to receive the decision. Moreover, it is possible to ask for the revision of the Court of Cassation’s decision within 02 weeks and it takes approximately 06 to 08 months to receive a result in this matter. As for the criminal proceedings, the complainant is not a party during the criminal action, but involved in the procedure as an intervener unlike the civil lawsuit. A criminal trial proceeding takes approximately 02 to 03 years, including the appeal proceeding.
Civil litigation may be lengthy and time-consuming in Turkey.
A) Responsible Authority - Court, police, etc
B) Imprisonment Term - 01 to 04 years
C) Monetary Fine - Judicial fine calculated per day for up to 20,000 days
As of 1st January 2019, mediation is mandatory for IP-related disputes regarding receivables and compensation claims. However, there is no restriction on applying mediation to other disputes as well. IP-related disputes can be also can be resolved by arbitration. Under the Turkish Civil Procedure Law, arbitral decisions are executable without needing any judicial approval or decision.
The remedies available under border control measures include seizure and destruction of goods.
The applicant/rights holder must bear the costs of customs intervention during enforcement.
If an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures in Custom Recordal of IPRs, the goods may be released from suspension.
Border measures and administrative measures are the best practices for enforcement of IPRs in Turkey.