According to Turkey's design law, a design application that
meets all formal requirements becomes effective from the date of
the application. In other words, a design application enjoys
protection from the date it is applied for.
Unlike trademark applications, the Turkish Patent Institute
(TPI) does not examine a design application on absolute grounds for
refusal; it only examines for the correct application format and
whether it complies with public policy and morality policies. TPI
is not responsible for evaluating a design's novelty or
individual character. TPI only examines these issues if a third
party files an opposition. For this reason, designs that are not
new or have no individual character can easily obtain registration
if no opposition is filed by a third party. Moreover, in opposition
cases, the novelty and individual character of a design are
evaluated within the scope of documents and allegations filed by a
third party. Objective criteria are not really considered during
the novelty and individuality evaluations, so it cannot be claimed
that every design registration is new and has individual
Although this system is similar to European practice and was
adopted to speed up the registration process, it tends to serve the
motives of bad faith applicants in Turkey. Since the TPI does not
evaluate the novelty and individual character of designs, some
bad-faith applicants attempt to register many functional or generic
designs and challenge their competitors in the same or similar
business areas. Many functional products with no individual
character (such as cups or leggings), generic food presentations,
and products or patterns that bear well-known trademarks or cartoon
characters are registered with TPI.
Pattern for school bags
Whether the applicant acts in bad faith or not, once a design is
registered, the applicant's use of it will not be considered as
a design infringement or unfair competition. An applicant will
enjoy the right to use a design until the design registration is
cancelled. As use of a registration is not considered to be design
infringement or unfair competition, an applicant will not be
responsible for any damages that arise. Moreover, in practice, even
if an applicant's bad faith is obvious, the courts do not
generally render a preliminary injunction to prevent the use of a
design. This is because, according to Turkish practice, the rights
endowed by a registration certificate cannot be limited or
prohibited by a court order until the registration is cancelled.
Considering the length of time it takes to conclude cancellation
actions (at least four years), the severity of the situation for a
third-party/design owner (who are prohibited from using their
designs because of generic or functional design registrations) can
In order to avoid bad faith applicants' unlawful and unfair
attacks, it is crucial that design owners and third parties monitor
monthly design bulletins and file oppositions to applications
within the appropriate time frame (six months).
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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On 8 September 2016 (C-160/15), the CJEU ruled that the posting of a hyperlink to copyright-protected works located on another website does not constitute copyright infringement when the link poster does not seek financial gain.
The chapter on the UK summarises the IP court and litigation system in the UK, recent developments in relation to IP law and practice, the forms and availability of IP protection and trends and outlook in the IP sphere.
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