The Labour Courts Act, which was recently published in the Official Gazette, aims to ease the judiciary's workload and accelerate the judicial process in employment cases. The act has introduced a number of changes, the most important of which include mandatory mediation for employers and employees before initiating lawsuits, an amended procedure for reinstatement cases and a reduced statute of limitations of five years for several types of compensation.
Article 5 of the Cheque Law imposes a judicial fine on cheque account owners for a bounced cheque. These fines cannot be less than the amount of the bounced cheque plus the accrued interest on the cheque's submission date and the total fees for execution and legal proceedings. Several courts recently applied to the Constitutional Court to request the annulment of Article 5 based on, among other things, the uncertain criteria used to calculate such fines.
Employee inventions and designs are two of the new Industrial Property Code's main areas of intervention. The recently issued ad hoc regulation introduces the criteria and parameters to determine and calculate fees to be paid to employee inventors, the legal basis for which was missing until now. However, the new code and the regulation contain points which are open to interpretation, which will influence the practice and implementation of these new rules.
In both domestic and international arbitrations in Turkey, parties are, in principle, free to choose their arbitrators. However, there are limits in this regard, including where the parties are of different nationalities. The Court of Appeals recently rendered an important decision in this regard, which provides an objective standard of proof for assessing doubts with regard to the independence and impartiality of arbitrators.
The Competition Board recently published its reasoned decision on the Tyre Industrialist Association's application for an exemption for its Waste Management Strategies and Implementation Plan for Worn-out Tyres 2016 to 2020. The board decided that the association's proposal would not limit competition in a manner which would violate Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition and granted an individual five-year exemption.
The Supreme Court recently rendered an important decision concerning the protection of employees' privacy rights. The court reversed a first-instance labour court decision and ruled that the dismissal of an employee was unlawful on the grounds that the employer had used the employee's WhatsApp conversations (obtained in an impermissible way) as evidence, thus violating the employee's right to privacy.
Following an 18-month investigation, the Competition Board recently found that Mey İçki held a dominant position in the vodka and gin markets. However, the board had already examined Mey İçki's alleged practices and imposed penalties in its earlier decision on the raki market. As such, the board accepted the non bis in idem defence and concluded that Mey İçki should not be subject to an administrative fine.
Cryptocurrencies were introduced to the Turkish market in July 2013 under the Law on Payment and Security Settlement Systems, Payment Services and Electronic Money. However, there are no limitations on or controls over cryptocurrencies, which is why many investors choose to invest their money in this area. While the interest in and impact of blockchain and cryptocurrencies are growing daily, the legal risks for blockchain and cryptocurrency platforms have yet to be fully understood.
The right of employees to annual paid leave is regulated by Articles 53 to 60 of the Labour Act and the Regulation on Annual Paid Leave. In principle, employees are expected to take their annual leave en bloc. Recent amendments to the act and the regulation maintain the right of employees to continuous rest, but provide flexibility to those who wish to divide their holidays into several parts in a given year.
The Supreme Court recently issued a decision concerning an employee's dismissal on the grounds of (among other things) recording a conversation with his supervisor without his consent. The court reversed a first-instance decision and ruled that the termination was lawful based on the fact that the employee had been handling personal business during working hours without authorisation and secretly recorded a conversation.
The Data Protection Authority recently published two guidelines on the implementation of Law 6698 on the Protection of Personal Data on its website. Although these guidelines are not pieces of legislation or legally binding, they include detailed information on the implementation of data protection concepts and procedures regulated under the law. Therefore, it is important to review these guidelines to understand the Data Protection Authority's perspective on data protection-related obligations.
The Regulation on Duty-Free Stores was recently published in the Official Gazette. It sets out requirements regarding the establishment and operation of duty-free stores, how goods enter and exit warehouses and record-keeping obligations for duty-free store operators. Under the regulation, the legal and penal penalties regarding the infringement of industrial property and IP rights under the new IP Code and other IP legislation will apply directly.
Following a 16-month investigation, the Competition Board recently published the outcome of a high-profile investigation into the ready-mixed concrete market. After evaluating the evidence, written defences and investigation file, the board decided not to render administrative fines, concluding that none of the undertakings had violated Article 4 of Law 4054.
The new IP Code contains provisions regarding the profession of patent and trademark attorneys, while an ad hoc regulation issued under the new IP Code establishes the code of conduct by which patent and trademark attorneys are bound. The new IP Code and the regulation are set to have a major impact on the profession as they establish new rules regarding the responsibilities of patent and trademark attorneys, especially from a disciplinary standpoint.
Due to the need for the existing court procedural rules and organisational structure to be harmonised with the newly established three-tier court system, amendments have been made to the Code of Civil Procedure with the purpose of eliminating emergent problems in the functioning of regional appellate and administrative courts. The most remarkable amendment regards the period for appeal before the Court of Cassation.
The Regulation on the Determination and Enforcement of Target Investigation, Prosecution or Trial Periods was recently published in the Official Gazette. The regulation sets out the rules and procedures for determining the specific periods in which legal proceedings must be completed, thus ameliorating the judicial process. By establishing and adhering to time limits for legal proceedings, Turkey may be able to eliminate the delays in its judicial system.
Mediation is a cost-effective and efficient procedure to solve industrial property disputes while preserving, and at times even enhancing, the relationship between the parties. The Patent and Trademark Office was recently empowered to propose mediation as an alternative dispute resolution mechanism during the trademark opposition procedure under the new Industrial Property Code 6769.
The Ministry of Food, Agriculture and Livestock recently published the Food Codex Energy Drinks Communique 2017/4 in the Official Gazette. The communique introduces significant amendments to the market supply, advertising, labelling and sale of energy drinks, the most important of which prohibits the sale of energy drinks to individuals under the age of 18. Business operators must comply with the new communique no later than December 31 2017.
The Competition Board recently published a reasoned decision following its investigation into whether the Pharmacists' Association and the Pharmacists' Association Commercial Enterprise had violated Article 6 of Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition by abusing their dominant position in the market for the supply of pharmaceuticals from abroad through their exclusivity practices and other actions.
Under the Commercial Code 6102, shareholders must contribute capital to commercial companies incorporated by law (the so-called 'contribution obligation'). A contribution obligation mainly arises at the time of the incorporation of or the capital increase in a commercial company. Shareholders generally prefer fulfilling their contribution obligations in cash and their liability is limited to the amount that they subscribed for under a company's articles of association.