Turkey: Anticipated Changes Pave Way To New IP Environment

Turkey is preparing to replace its existing decree-laws on the protection of trademarks, patents, industrial designs and geographical indications with a draft IP Law covering all of these rights. The draft was issued on February 24 2016 for public consultation until March 4 2016 and has now been referred to Parliament for enactment.

In addition, new mid-level appellate courts were established as of July 20 2016, which will affect IP litigation procedure in Turkey.

This chapter outlines the major changes introduced by these developments.

Patents and utility models

Post-grant opposition stage introduced

A granted patent cannot be contested before the Turkish Patent Institute through opposition procedures under existing practice. Rather, it can be contested only by filing a cancellation action before the courts.

However, the draft IP Law enables a third party to file an opposition against a granted patent within six months of its publication. Once the opposition has been filed, the Turkish Patent Institute will notify and invite the patentee to submit its opinion or amend its patent application. Both the opposition and the patentee's opinion and amendments will be examined by a board to be established at the Turkish Patent Institute. The composition of the board and other procedures will be clarified through implementing regulations.

Biotech patents

The draft law provides certain exceptions to the general concept of biotechnological inventions. According to the draft, simple discoveries of human gene sequences or processes for cloning human beings will not constitute patentable subject matter. This provision, if interpreted conversely, deems biotechnological inventions not falling within the scope of this exception to be patentable.

Second medical use patents

The draft law is silent on the patentability of second medical use inventions, despite recent Supreme Court case law upholding second medical use inventions. However, Turkey acknowledges the protection of second medical use patents that are validated through the European Patent Convention (to which Turkey is a party).

Abolition of seven-year patent system

The draft law abolishes all provisions relating to the short-term (seven-year) patent that can be obtained without substantive examination. Under the new regime, it will be compulsory to request a substantive examination, whose omission will result in withdrawal of the patent application. It is therefore expected that Turkey will provide a stronger patent framework with improved quality as the utility model system remains in effect, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Utility model system adapted

According to the draft law, utility model certificates will not be granted for:

  • biotechnological inventions;
  • chemical processes or products, or any products or processes obtained therefrom; and
  • pharmaceutical processes or products, or any products or processes obtained therefrom.

The draft law introduces a compulsory novelty search for utility model applications, with the possibility for the applicant to file amendments during registration proceedings. Post-grant opposition will not be available for utility models.

Employee inventions system for universities

The draft law includes a new provision that removes the so-called 'professor's privilege'. This means that all inventions made by scientific staff (both regular students and PhD students) in the course of their employment are deemed to belong to the university, provided that certain conditions are met. The draft states that scientific staff will be entitled to claim one-third of the total income generated by the patented invention.

Industrial designs

Examination for novelty at application stage

Designs that are not novel will be refused ex officio. An examination of novelty is expected to be introduced within the formal examination of a design application.

Invisible parts of complex product

The draft law explicitly states that only visible parts of a complex product will be protected, provided that visible parts meet the novelty and individual character criteria.

Spare parts of complex product

According to the existing law, the owner of a registered design cannot assert its rights regarding a visible part of a complex product for three years after the design is first made available to the public, provided that the visible part is used for repairs and is not deceptive as to the source of origin.

The draft law, while retaining this provision, has introduced a new derogation by stating that the three-year period will not apply if the protected spare part design is mentioned in the list of equivalent parts issued by the Ministry of Science, Industry and Technology.

Shorter opposition period

The six-month post-grant opposition period under the existing law will be shortened to three months. This will have the effect of reducing the total registration time to less than one year.

Non-registered industrial design rights protection available

Non-registered design rights will be subject to protection only if the design was first made available to the public in Turkey. The protection term is three years from the date on which the design was first made available to the public.

Geographical indications and traditional product names

Traditional product names

Traditional product names will be included in the definition of IP rights. A 'traditional product name' is defined as a product that is proven to have been used on the respective market for at least 30 years and is manufactured using traditional materials, production processes or compositions.

Audit of geographical indications and traditional product names

Audits of the use, manufacture and sale of products featuring geographical indications or traditional product names will occur biannually (previously 10 years) as from publication of the registration in the Official Trademark Bulletin.

An emblem, to be designed by the Turkish Patent Institute, must be used on the product or its packaging, particularly with respect to geographical indications.


Introduction of consent letters

The draft law introduces letters of consent, by which the owner of an earlier trademark may consent to registration and use of an identical or similar trademark that is subsequently filed for the same or similar goods or services. A letter of consent should be notarised and submitted to the Turkish Patent Institute either simultaneously with the trademark application or upon refusal.

The existing law does not allow for the coexistence of identical or similar trademarks, even if the prior rights holder issues a letter of consent to coexistence.

Opposition period shortened to two months

The opposition period – previously three months – has been shortened to two months, although it is still calculated from publication of the application in the Official Trademark Bulletin. The bulletin has been published twice a month since the beginning of 2016.

Bad faith cited as explicit grounds for opposition and invalidity

Among the available grounds for opposition, bad faith is explicitly cited in the draft law. The bad-faith issue has been considered by the Turkish Patent Institute in opposition actions and by the courts in invalidity actions. Now practice and law will be harmonised.

Counterclaims of non-use during opposition

The draft law enables the applicant for a trademark that is subject to opposition to require from the opponent evidence of use of the trademark on which the opposition is based, if the five-year grace period for non-use has elapsed. Examination of the opposition will be limited to the goods or services for which the opponent has proven use. The opponent's failure to prove use will result in rejection of the opposition.

Mediation during opposition proceedings

In an effort to encourage mediation, the Turkish Patent Institute will be entitled to invite parties to settle oppositions through mediation as per the Mediation Law. For the first time, the draft IP Law will enable parties to use mediation as a means of alternative dispute resolution in administrative practice.

Cancellation powers of Turkish Patent Institute

The Turkish Patent Institute will institute administrative cancellation proceedings within seven years of the entry into force of the IP Law.

These proceedings will include cancellation of a registered trademark on the grounds of:

  • non-use;
  • becoming generic (for the products or services on which it is used);
  • deceiving the public (as to the characteristics, quality or geographical source of the products or services); or
  • use of a guarantee trademark contrary to the technical regulation.

The Turkish Patent Institute will become entitled to handle cancellation requests after a transition period of seven years.

'Fair use' definition broadened

The 'fair use' definition has been broadened whereby the rights holder shall not be able to prohibit a third party from using a trademark in the course of trade for the purpose of identifying or referring to goods or services, where the use of that trademark is necessary to indicate the intended purpose of those goods or services - in particular, as accessories, spare parts or equivalent parts.

Patents, industrial designs, trademarks and geographical indications

Shift from national to international exhaustion of rights

The draft law introduces the international exhaustion of rights principle, to replace the existing national exhaustion principle.

Registered IP rights no longer valid defence against infringement claims

It was previously accepted that trademark and industrial design rights registered with the Turkish Patent Institute constituted a legitimate defence against infringement claims, unless the registered rights were cancelled and removed from the register. This case law caused preliminary and permanent injunction requests to be delayed or rejected until cancellation of the infringer's trademark or design right. The draft law aims to codify a common provision by which registered trademark, patent and industrial design rights do not constitute a legitimate defence against any infringement claim brought by the owner of an earlier IP right. The provision will require an intensive clearance search before using IP rights – even if they are registered.

Criminal provisions

While the draft law introduces criminal provisions for trademark infringement, there are no criminal provisions concerning patent, industrial design and geographical indication infringements.

The draft law regulates criminal offences concerning trademarks through a provision stating that use of an identical or confusingly similar trademark in any of the following activities constitutes infringement of another party's registered trademark rights:

  • producing goods or providing services;
  • exposing for sale or selling goods or services;
  • importing or exporting goods or services; or
  • purchasing, retaining, transferring or storing goods for commercial purposes.

Infringers will be liable to imprisonment for between one and three years and a fine.

Establishment of mid-level appellate courts

On July 20 2016 Turkey added a new layer to its court system – the appellate courts, between the first-instance courts and the Supreme Court. The objective is to reduce the caseload of the Supreme Court and achieve consistent, higher-quality jurisprudence.

Figure 1 shows the present litigation procedure incorporating the new appellate courts.

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.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Okan Çan
Emre Kerim Yardimci
Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:
  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.
  • Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.
    If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here
    If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here

    Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

    Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

    Use of www.mondaq.com

    You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


    Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

    The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


    Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

    • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
    • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
    • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

    Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

    Information Collection and Use

    We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

    We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

    Mondaq News Alerts

    In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


    A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

    Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

    Log Files

    We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


    This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

    Surveys & Contests

    From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


    If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


    From time to time Mondaq may send you emails promoting Mondaq services including new services. You may opt out of receiving such emails by clicking below.

    *** If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of services offered by Mondaq you may opt out by clicking here .


    This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

    Correcting/Updating Personal Information

    If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

    Notification of Changes

    If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

    How to contact Mondaq

    You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

    If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.

    By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions