9 May 2016Jurisdiction reportsIsik Ozdogan and Ezgi Baklaci

Turkey: bated breath following IP law consultation

Turkey’s current laws comply with most of the international treaties and conventions to which Turkey is a signatory. However, the draft law aims to comply with the Trademark Law Treaty (1994) and also introduces new provisions in light of amendments in 2015 to the TRIPS Agreement and the EU trademarks directive and regulation.

The draft law would introduce promising improvements to the Turkish system, clarifying grey areas which tend to cause problems in practice. A major improvement is that the draft law accepts consent letters based on the existence of an earlier trademark as an available method to overcome a provisional refusal. The current law does not accept consent letters, co-existence agreements and sister company arrangements as overcoming such provisional refusals by the TPI.

Currently, even if the prior registration owner consents to the later trademark, the TPI will not cancel its provisional refusal. The draft law would allow a provisional refusal to be overcome by submitting a notarised letter of consent from the earlier trademark owner. The legislature aims to protect applicants which are economically or otherwise related and intend to co-exist in the market.

The draft law clarifies and enacts some practices which are currently accepted by the courts and TPI on the basis of precedent. Bad faith is included as a ground for refusal/cancellation. Although not previously listed among the grounds for refusal, in light of a recent Court of Appeal decision, bad faith has been accepted in practice as a ground for refusal.

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