As is known, provisions regarding the Industrial Property are governed by decree laws in our country. Accordingly, decree laws numbered 551, 554, 555 and 556 includes provisions regarding the protection of patents/utility models, industrial designs, geographical signs and brands, respectively. These decree laws, which have been effective since 1995, have had important contributions for Turkey to create an active Industrial Property ecosystem and now a new regulation compatible with changing conditions, the Constitution, European Union norms and other international agreements, to which Turkey is a party, become unavoidable. At this point, works for drafting a law has been performed since 2009 and the Bill related to Industrial Property, which was drafted before Turkish Patent Institute (TPE), was approved on March 14th, 2016 by TBMM (Grand National Assembly of Turkey) Industry, Commerce, Energy, Natural Resources, Information and Technology Commission.
Today, industrial rights and the protection level of these rights are now deemed to be indicators of countries' level of development. Industrial rights are rewards and means of incentive given for the work acquired as a result of intellectual efforts of the beneficiary and also a system with a purpose of ensuring social benefit and balancing the interests of both parties.
Although existing regulations regarding brand protection are compatible with other laws of the country, the intend of the "Brand" Book of Industrial Property Law is to create a system, which is more capable of meeting the needs, and to switch to a more qualified industrial property structure.
Within this context, some of the prominent reforms regarding the trademark right are: encouraging brand usage by means of a regulation ensuring that the party objecting the publication is required to provide information and documents about usage in order to ensure that the registered trademarks are used much more effectively in market and to prevent application for trademark registration for goods and services thought to be out of use; bringing administrative cancellation to brands (to be effective after seven years, in parallel with EU regulations); shortening the trademark registration process; regulating the principals of inspection regarding applications made in accordance with Madrid Protocol for International Trademark Registration; and bringing the regulation that the application can't be declined if notarized deed of consent showing that the previous trademark right holder explicitly agrees to the registration of application is issued to the Institute, in order to protect the willingness of applicants to coexist in the market.
In addition, with the regulation regarding potential brand marks, especially the registration of new brand types will be enabled, trademark application announcement period will be shortened from three months to two months so that registration process will also be shorter, and beneficiaries will obtain their rights in respect of trademark registration in shorter time. For objections to publication of trademark, at the request of the applicant, information and documents showing the usage of the trademark will be requested from the objecting party to ensure that the registered trademarks are used much more effectively in the market; therefore registered but unused trademarks will be restrained from blocking new entrepreneurs and objection mechanism will not be misused.
With the law entered into force and new practices used, legal uncertainty resulting from possibility that decree laws may be invalidated by the Constitutional Court as a result of regulating all decree laws governing industrial property rights, will be eliminated. And with increasing compliance of industrial property legislation with international practices and EU legislation, Turkey will become more attractive and predictable to investors and the issues regarding the practices for industrial property registration process will be resolved significantly.
After the foundation of Training Center for Intellectual Property Rights, the training, consultancy and research activities for intellectual property rights will be conducted much more effectively in cooperation with national and international agencies and especially courts, registration agencies and other intellectual property stakeholders will have much more qualified manpower.
Besides, paperwork will be decreased with acceptance of payment details instead of documents showing the payments and with abolition of the requirement regarding issuance of power of attorney in registration applications. And correspondence bureaucracy between relevant organizations will be ruled out completely with publication of geographical indication applications in Institute's own bulletin instead of Official Gazette, national newspapers with wide circulation and local newspapers.
As a result, with this Draft, important part of the decree law numbered 556 remains unchanged, but all legal texts are combined into a bill in order to have a purer but also a practicable text. Accordingly, with courts for intellectual and industrial property rights created for a strong agency, effective legislation, right employee and trusteeship system and fair trial, we believe that this bill intended to resolve the issues regarding the practices and shorten the processes will provide much more effective practices for brand, patent, design protection in Turkish business life and will contribute to enabling technological, financial and social developments.
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