Okan Çan is a partner of DERIS ATTORNEY AT LAW PARTNERSHIP which is one of the oldest specialized Intellectual Property Law Firm in Turkey with a 100 year background. Okan is a European Patent Attorney, a Registered Turkish Patent and Trademark Attorney, and a member of INTA (International Trademark Association) and AIPPI, as well as the AIPPI National Group of Turkey. He is registered with the Bar Association of Istanbul since 2000. Okan actively serves foreign and Turkish clients as legal counsel for matters involving litigation and court proceedings as well as for matters involving the establishment, licensing and follow up of intellectual property rights and image rights in Turkey. He has been selected by his peers to be listed in the 2010 and 2012 edition of Best Lawyers in IP in Turkey. He lectures at the Istanbul Bar, Marmara University, Kadir Has University and participated as speaker to AIPPI International Conferences in Istanbul in 2011 and 2012 in IP matters including image rights. He is fluent in English.
A third party's unauthorised modification or replacement of original packaging, product codes or trademarks to produce misleading claims of origin and eliminate a trademark's origin function is considered trademark infringement by means of rebranding and re-marking in principle, even though the goods are basically original. This article examines these actions within the scope of common trademark infringement and counterfeiting and the legal consequences of re-marking under the Industrial Property Code.
Since the World Health Organisation declared COVID-19 a global pandemic, compulsory licensing has remained a hot topic in the IP world. As of 30 April 2020, Turkey had 120,204 confirmed cases of COVID-19. Although the official authorities have so far made no public announcements concerning compulsory licensing, this article sets out why Turkey has a significant role to play in the discussion.
Turkey has adopted a number of regulations to combat online counterfeiting and determine internet service provider responsibilities. However, the current system is inconsistent due to the different interpretations of whether counterfeiting falls within the scope of Article 9 of the Internet Law.
The Constitutional Court recently handed down an important decision regarding freedom of speech and unfair competition claims following the use of a company's trademark in an online domain name. This decision shows how the court handles cases in which fundamental rights such as freedom of speech and IP rights compete, especially in the service industry sector.
The Supreme Court recently issued a decision regarding non-use cancellation actions and the retroactive enforcement of Article 9 of the Industrial Property Code (IP Code). The decision has clarified the longstanding debate and unpredictability concerning the implementation of the IP Code's non-use provision. The courts will now implement Article 9 against non-used trademarks without hesitation.
With a substantial increase in the number of copyrighted works shared online in today's digital world, takedown requests have gained increased importance in combating online copyright violations. At present, takedown requests are governed by the Copyright Act and require a slow-moving notification procedure. However, the Draft Copyright Act has proposed, among other things, allowing rights holders to request that the public prosecutor block access to infringing content in urgent cases.
The absence of a clear reference to small shipments in customs legislation has created doubt over whether customs officers should seize small shipments of counterfeit goods. This unfortunately encourages manufacturers of counterfeit goods to minimise the risk of seizure by using small shipments. However, the government looks set to enact a new Customs Law to regulate small shipments and protect rights holders.
As specialised IP court judges do not have technical backgrounds, expert reports are essential in patent litigation. As a general practice, the courts obtain reports concerning an alleged infringement, invalidity claim or compensation claim from the court-appointed experts during the trial. Given the number of expert reports provided in patent litigation, cross-examination is vital as it allows the courts to gain an understanding of the matter at hand.
The Istanbul IP Court recently dismissed a copyright infringement action involving a compensation claim on the grounds that the plaintiff had not fulfilled the procedural requirement to apply for meditation before filing the court action. The court's decision was based on Law 7155, which requires the implementation of a mediation procedure before instituting a court action. This article examines the effect that mandatory mediation will have on IP disputes.
DyStar recently succeeded in securing the destruction of 3.3 tons of textile dyes that had infringed one of its patents for reactive red dyes. The dyes were detained at the Mersin Free Zone following DyStar's customs application. This is the latest success in the company's anti-counterfeiting programme in Turkey, which has so far resulted in more than 100 tons of infringing products being seized.
Recent case law shows that despite changes to the wording of the new Industrial Property (IP) Code, prior practice concerning goods in transit persists at the administrative (Customs) level and the judicial level (at least at the first-instance level). However, the lack of clear reference to counterfeit goods in transit must to be clarified to avoid potentially inconsistent decisions due to the different interpretation of the new IP Code.
It is always advisable to register a work to ensure the effective enforcement of rights therein. There are a number of benefits to copyright registration in Turkey, including the possibility for rights holders to apply for banderoles, which are used on licensed copies to prevent piracy. In addition to banderoles, registration certificates can be used to apply to Customs to monitor a copyright, as well as to prove ownership and determine the context of copyrighted works in possible civil and criminal actions.
The new Industrial Property Code 6769 has introduced new provisions regarding patent enforcement. The code aims to improve the quality of patented inventions and harmonise Turkish patent law with EU legislation and the international agreements to which Turkey is a party. Although the new IP Code has yet to be fully harmonised with the European Patent Convention, it is expected that these gaps will be filled when parties enforce their patent rights before the courts.
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.
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.
Turkey recently adopted the new Code of Industrial Property 6769, which repeals and replaces the decree-laws on patents, utility models, trademarks, service marks, industrial designs and geographical indications. The new code entered into force on January 10 2017, following publication in the Official Gazette. As the code contains provisions regarding the internal organisation of the Turkish Patent Institute and the profession in general, it is set to change the Turkish IP landscape profoundly.
Parliament recently enacted the new IP Law, which will enter into force once it has been approved by the president and published in the Official Gazette. The law is based on the draft IP law released for public consultation between February 24 and March 4 2016 and will introduce some major changes regarding the protection of trademarks, patents, industrial designs and geographical indications.
Cancellation requests based on non-use can be made only before the IP courts; the Patent Institute cannot prosecute such requests. However, the draft IP Law proposes changes that will enable third parties to contest a trademark on the basis of non-use before the Patent Institute instead of a court. Under the changes, the institute will be entitled to decide on the total or partial cancellation of a registered trademark.
Turkey is preparing to replace the existing decree-laws concerning the protection of trademarks, patents, industrial designs and geographical indications with the draft IP Law. The draft has been subject to a public consultation and has now been sent to Parliament for enactment. The main changes relate to patents, utility models and industrial designs.
The draft IP law aims to codify a common provision by which registered trademarks, patents and industrial design registration rights do not constitute a legitimate defence against an infringement claim brought by the owner of an earlier IP right. The provision will require an intensive clearance search, even where a registration exists, before an IP right can be used.
Under Decree-Law 556 on Trademarks the Patent Institute may not evaluate the use of a trademark during the examination of an objection or opposition to a trademark application. However, a draft IP law proposes that during the examination of an opposition, the Patent Institute will be entitled to ask the opponent to prove the use of the trademark on which the opposition is based.
Decree-Law 551 on the Protection of Patents makes no specific reference to the patentability of biotechnological inventions. In this regard, the draft IP law states that simple discoveries of human gene sequences are not patentable and provides no definition of 'biotechnological inventions', leaving the issue to be defined and shaped by case law.
A new draft IP law includes a provision to clarify ambiguities regarding process patents under Decree-Law 551 on Patents and Utility Models. Under the draft IP law, courts will have the discretion to shift the burden of proof where an infringed patented process is not connected to a new product; whereas if an infringed process relates to a new product, the burden of proof will rest with the defendant.
There are no specific provisions for second medical use patents in Turkey. However, a European Patent Office Enlarged Board of Appeal decision has recognised second medical use patents and Parliament has ratified the European Patent Convention. This is seen as proof of Parliament's resolve to protect second medical use patents based on international legislation that Turkey has ratified.
According to a recent Constitutional Court decision, Article 42(c) of Decree Law 556 on Trademarks has been cancelled at the request of the Fourth IP Court of Istanbul. This has caused uncertainty where cancellation or invalidation of a trademark is sought because the trademark has not been put to use within five years of registration.
Market conditions have increasingly attracted rights holders to turn their inventions into profit-making assets in Turkey. Therefore, ensuring that patent rights are registrable and defendable is crucial, as is ensuring their enforcement within the market. Such considerations are expected to play a greater role during the next decade as competition becomes fiercer.
The Influencer Marketing Hub recently published The State of Influencer Marketing 2019: Benchmark Report, which showed that influencer marketing has grown exponentially in the past few years. According to the report, the market for influencer marketing was worth $4.6 billion in 2018 and this is projected to increase to $6.5 billion by the end of 2019. Until recently, influencers were unclassifiable under the law and therefore unregulated; however, their social media activity is now considered subject to regulation.