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Wednesday, October 31, 2018

With a transcontinental location straddling both Asia and Europe, Turkey occupies a regional location of increasing economic significance and importance. Turkey’s largely free-market economy is driven by its industry and, increasingly, service sectors. The automotive, petrochemical, and electronics industries have risen in importance and surpassed the traditional textiles and clothing sectors within Turkey's export mix.

Turkey’s annual GDP growth averaged seven percent over the past year. The country’s GDP is US$2.173 trillion, while the GDP per capita is US$26,900. The GDP composition is 6.7 percent for agriculture, 31.8 percent for industry, and 61.4 percent for services.

Following the adoption of Law no. 6769 on the Protection of Industrial Property Rights in January 2017, Turkey now maintains a relatively comprehensive regulatory and legislative system for the protection of trademarks, patents, designs, copyright, and trade secrets. The Law, which includes provisions on the protection of patents, integrated circuits, industrial designs, trademarks and trade names, ensures that Turkey’s IP framework is better suited to the needs of IPR owners, and is more harmonized with global practice.

The main changes in the Law include the enforceability of co-existence agreements and letters of consent, which will enable the applicants to overcome a relative grounds rejection with the prior right owner’s consent. As for oppositions, the Law makes a clear distinction between well-known trademarks registered in Turkey and those which are not. This means that the owner of an unregistered well-known trademark will, therefore, be able to oppose applications for a mark identical or similar to a well-known trademark, for the same or similar goods and services. Furthermore, the Law introduces a new opposition ground: the defense of non-use. This stipulates that if the owner of the opposed application can claim that the opposing party has not used its trademark for more than five years with a justified reason after its registration date and in case of this defense, the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office will request the opposing party to provide substantial evidence regarding the use of the trademark. If they are not provided, the opposition will be rejected.

Accordingly, Turkey follows 11th edition of the Nice classification and multiclass applications are acceptable. Trademark examination is performed on formal, absolute, and relative grounds, and oppositions may be filed after 2 months from publication date. The protection term for a trademark is 10 years from filing date and is renewable for like periods.

On the patents front, it is possible to file patent applications in Turkey via PCT national stage entry or claiming Paris Convention. In line with expected PCT Rules, patents are protected for a period of 20 years, from the international filing date. Annuities are due annually on the anniversary of the international filing date and payable as of nationalization of the application in Turkey. A one year grace period is observed for late payment along with a surcharge.

Turkey remains a country with high aspirations that welcomes foreign investments. A healthy balance between the latter and local development is bound to be beneficial for the country’s own growth.

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