The Industrial Property Code numbered 6769 (“IPC”), which governs all IP rights – i.e. trademarks, patens, industrial designs, utility models and geographical indications – entered into force on January 10, 2017. This article gives a broad overview of the provisions of the IPC related to trademarks and patents.
Trademarks have to be registered before the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“TURKPATENT”).
According to Article 4 of the IPC, signs such as words including personal names, shapes, colors, letters, numbers, sounds, and the form of goods and packaging (if it is of a distinctive character which differentiates its goods or services) can be registered as trademarks.
The applicant may apply for registration via the online system of TURKPATENT. The application is subject to an ex officio examination by TURKPATENT on whether the application meets the conditions stated under IPC. Accordingly, upon the examination, it is published in the Official Trademark Bulletin, pending any third-party opposition, for a period of two months. If no opposition is filed, it is granted registration in the Trademark Registry and will be published in the Official Trademark Gazette.
As per Article 11/3 of the IPC, goods and services are described under Nice Classification.
The registration phase takes around six to eight months and it takes ten months for the applicant to receive the trademark certificate as of the application date, depending on the workload of TURKPATENT.
Any one affected by the decision of TURKPATENT can appeal the decision before the Re-Examination and Evaluation Department. As per Article 20 of the IPC, the applicant may appeal the refusal decision of the Trade Mark Department’s Directorate within two months as from the notification of the decision to the Board.
The IPC determines that the term of a trade mark is 10 years from the date of application. Registration can be renewed every 10 years.
Patent applications are examined and granted by TURKPATENT as well.
The applicant has to prove the following to obtain a patent pursuant the Article 82/1 of the IPC:
- inventive step
- industrial application
The following are not considered as inventions and therefore cannot be patented according to the Article 82/2 of the IPC:
- Discoveries, scientific theories, mathematical method.
- Plans, methods and rules in relation to mental acts, business and game activities.
- Computer programs.
- Literary and artistic works, scientific works, creations having an aesthetic characteristic.
- Delivery of information.
Patents rights are acquired through registration. Third parties can object to a patent within six months from publication of the patent grant decision in the Official Bulletin.
Patent protection starts from the date of the application. The term of protection is 20 years for patents which have been subject to substantive examination by TURKPATENT.
A patent registration can be obtained either through a national application or internationally through the European Patent Convention 1973 (EPC) or the Patent Cooperation Treaty 1970 (PCT) procedures.
Patent infringement actions are dealt with by the specialized Courts of Industrial and Intellectual Property Rights in Istanbul, Ankara and Izmir. In other cities, the third Chamber of Civil Courts of First Instance (if there are fewer than three chambers, the First Chamber) deals with IP infringement actions.
This Article aims to provide a brief and general overview of the Turkish trademark and patent law, but does not intended to serve as a legal advice. Before taking any action or relying on the information given, addressees of this Article should seek specific advice on the matters which concern them.