Trademark Law in Turkey Key Developments and Predictions - 2020

In this year's report, we focus on the eight main challenges encountered in the interpretation and implementation of key changes introduced by the IP Code.

Trademark law has continued to evolve at a slow pace within the course of the last year, while January, 2020, marks the completion of the third year of Industry Property Code No. 6769 (“the IP Code”).

The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“TÜRKPATENT” or “the Office”) issued guidelines in an aim to bring clarity on absolute grounds examination, and a new guideline is to be announced within the first half of 2020. The decisions of TÜRKPATENT in opposition and appeal phases are now more predictable in cases where a non-use defence has been introduced. A new software, EPATS, has been adopted very recently by TÜRKPATENT, which requires all transactions to be made electronically. It is hoped to provide assistance to practitioners in their prosecution of applications, and in reviewing the file histories of trademarks.

The guidance of the Court of Appeals for various new rules introduced by the IP Code has not been available, as most of the cases decided under the IP Code have yet to come before the Court of Appeals, due to the length of the court proceedings. However, the first instance courts thoroughly implement those new rules in which there is no ambiguity, including non-use defence, and register use defence in infringement actions.

This paper covers issues regarding implementation of some of the new rules introduced by the IP Code, such as loss of right due to acquiescence and registered use defence in infringements, as well as recent case law regarding the concepts that remain the same or similar under the IP Code, such as the scope of protection of weak trademarks and the genericide of trademarks.