The Labour Courts Act has introduced a number of changes and amended the appeal procedure for labour disputes. The legislature hopes to shorten the duration of actions which, by their nature, should be resolved as quickly as possible. Although it is still questionable whether these amendments will produce the anticipated returns in terms of reaching the desired duration for trial processes, they mark an important attempt to limit the two-phase appeal stage for certain cases.
The recent amendments introduced to the Notification Law have significantly broadened the scope of parties for which electronic notification is compulsory. Prior to the amendments, electronic notification was compulsory only for joint stock companies, limited liability companies and limited partnerships with capital divided into shares. In contrast, following the amendments, electronic notification is now compulsory for a wide range of real persons and legal entities.
The Competition Board recently published its reasoned decision following a preliminary investigation into allegations that Jotun Boya Sanayi ve Ticaret AŞ had violated Article 4 of Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition. The allegations concerned claims that Jotun had determined the resale prices and sales conditions of authorised dealers and restricted their online sales through a prohibitive provision in its dealership agreements.
The Law amending Certain Laws to Improve the Investment Environment was published in the Official Gazette on March 10 2018 with different enforcement dates for the various amendments. The amendments introduced to the Commercial Code and other related legislation are expected to result in a move towards using trade registries in the incorporation procedure, which should accelerate the process.
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.
Since 2012, individuals in Turkey have been able to make individual complaint applications to the Constitutional Court claiming that the state has violated their fundamental constitutional rights (or rights under the European Human Rights Convention) through its acts or omissions. One of the most common claims is that the state has violated an individual's right to a fair trial by failing to meet the reasonable time requirement and concluding criminal cases over long periods, in some cases more than 10 years.
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 prices of pharmaceutical products in Turkey are determined through a reference pricing system in euro and converted to Turkish lira. The Price Evaluation Commission (PEC) is responsible for determining the periodic euro value used in this regard. Several important cases regarding PEC decisions have recently been finalised. The PEC was found to have violated its obligations under the law, thus allowing the parties that had suffered from the decisions to demand compensation.
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.
Under Turkish law, there are two types of procedure in civil proceedings. Written procedure is the main and most common type, whereas the simple procedure, as the name suggests, is a simplified and expedited process. Following recent amendments, commercial cases worth less than TL100,000 are now subject to the simplified procedure in order to shorten the length of proceedings.
The Istanbul Arbitration Centre (ISTAC) has provided dispute resolution services to Turkish and foreign entities through arbitration and other alternative dispute resolution processes since the introduction of the ISTAC Arbitration and Mediation Rules in 2015. The Global Arbitration Review has listed ISTAC among the institutions worth a closer look, and this recognition has strengthened its aspiration to become a regional hub for dispute resolution for companies and individuals from Europe, Asia and the Middle East.
Preliminary injunctions in Turkey are regulated under the Code of Civil Procedure. A preliminary injunction can be requested from the competent court that has jurisdiction over a case prior to filing or the court before which a case is filed. Applicants must determine the grounds for making such a request in addition to the nature of the preliminary injunction being sought. They must also prove their claim to convince the court that the merits of the case are legitimate.
The Competition Board recently published its reasoned decision following a preliminary investigation into allegations that Teknosa had violated Law 4054 on the Protection of Competition by restricting İklimSA distributors from selling to the complainant. It was claimed that Teknosa had instructed İklimSA that if its products were sold to the complainant, Teknosa would halt the payment of distribution premiums and end its commercial relationship with İklimSA.
The Amendment Act of August 25 2016 introduced the automatic enrolment of employees in private pension plans. As a result, employees under the age of 45 must be enrolled in a private pension plan as part of a pension agreement between their employer and a pension company. As the majority of employees have withdrawn from the system, the Ministry of Finance recently prepared a draft omnibus law which introduced new provisions regarding automatic enrolment in the private pension plan system.
Transparency International recently published the 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index, which reflects the public sector corruption perspective of non-governmental organisations and representatives of the business world. Turkey came 81st out of 180 countries. This is the fourth consecutive year in which Turkey's ranking has fallen; it has lost 10 points and fallen 28 places over the past five years.
If the evaluation of a whistleblower report is completed without taking fundamental steps or necessary planning, it may result in an improper investigation and the inability to resolve the issue, or even the undertaking of an unnecessary investigation. It is therefore vital to adopt a policy on how to evaluate and treat future whistleblowers, inform employees accordingly and train decision makers in the company.
The government aims to make Turkey one of the world's top 10 economies in the field of health services by 2023. As a result, Turkey's pharma industry is expected to reach $23 billion turnover by 2023 and imported products will continue to account for approximately half of the market share. The import of pharmaceuticals is expected to maintain its significant market share in the coming years.
In 2015 the 15th Chamber of the Court of Appeals held that courts cannot grant a preliminary attachment on the ground of a foreign court judgment, unless this judgment had been enforced in Turkey. The court's reasoning was that foreign court judgments and foreign arbitral awards can be executed in Turkey only if and when they are enforced in Turkey. However, a dissenting opinion in this decision stated that courts can grant a preliminary injunction before an enforcement decision has been finalised.