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 physical appearance, name, expressions used and other distinctive components relating to or associated with copyrighted works or characters may enjoy trademark protection in Turkey irrespective of whether they are registered there. The aim of this approach is to prevent third parties from profiting from infringing trademarks.
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.
Turkey's trademark classification system does not cover the term 'mobile applications' specifically. However, software and computer programs fall within the scope of Class 9 of the classification system. As mobile apps are classified as software or programs, trademark protection under Class 9 only may be insufficient for apps that also cover services in other classes. This article examines how best to protect mobile apps under the Trademark Law.
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.
The popularity of e-commerce websites in Turkey has grown in recent years. However, while e-commerce websites are important for the economy, their relationship with trademark protection is a controversial topic, as e-commerce website owners provide a platform through which other retailers can sell their products rather than producing products themselves. This article examines the steps that holders and e-commerce websites should take to ensure that their trademarks are fully protected.
Turkey exported TV content worth $350 million in 2017, becoming the second largest exporter of TV drama in the world. However, the question of whether TV formats enjoy copyright protection under the Copyright Act has long been debated in Turkey. This article examines the legal doctrine and recent Supreme Court of Appeals case law in this regard in order to examine the copyright protection afforded to TV formats and programmes.
The new Industrial Property Code (IP Code) grants protection through registration for designs that fulfil its novelty and individual character criteria. Under the IP Code, the Patent and Trademark Office is entitled to carry out ex officio examinations of novelty in order to grant protection in this regard. The examination of the novelty of design applications under the IP Code is expected to reduce the amount of third-party oppositions and increase the quality of design registrations.
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.
The criminal courts require trademark infringement claims to be supported by objective and convincing evidence. Search and seizure warrants may be issued even where there is reasonable doubt over the existence of evidence; however, 'reasonable doubt' is not legally defined. Given the fact that non-specialised judges evaluate search and seizure warrant requests and the broad interpretive scope of 'reasonable doubt', inconsistent decisions are common in practice.
The European Commission recently released a report concerning Turkey's progress regarding the alignment of its laws with the European Union's acquis communautaire. The report states that the Industrial Property Law's entry into force was a positive step in aligning trademarks and design legislation with EU IP law and updating Turkey's IP rights system in accordance with international agreements and practices.
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 has made it possible for trademark applicants to put forward a non-use claim as a defence and settle an opposition via mediation. At present, non-use counterclaims and mediation seem to be available only for national trademark applications. This situation is likely to create a disadvantage for international trademark holders whose marks are extended to Turkey via the Madrid Protocol.
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.
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.