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§Information on Intellectual Property in Turkey§



« Topics Related to Turkey »
  • Dr. Habip ASAN, the chairman of the management board of the Turkish Patent Institute visited the Japan Patent Office on May 9, 2017. Future corporation between the two countries was discussed.
  • The New Turkish Industrial Property Law went into effect on January 10, 2017. Provisions related to patent, design, geographical indication, and trademark were largely changed. The followings are important changes to the provisions related to patent:
    • Filing of a request for substantive examination was made obligatory. Accordingly, seven-year patents were abolished.
    • Post-grant opposition system was introduced.


1. Introduction

The Republic of Turkey (hereinafter referred to as "Turkey") is one of the NEXT 11, which was coined by the US investment bank Goldman Sachs as a group of emerging nations having a high potential of becoming the world's largest economies along with the BRICs.

This page will describe the outline of intellectual property information of Turkey.



2. Basic Information of Turkey

Turkey is a republic that possesses the Anatolian peninsula (Asia Minor) located in West Asia and the East Thrace located at the east end of the Balkan peninsula of Eastern Europe, stretching over the two large continents of Asia and Europe.

Its central position between Europe, Asia and the Middle East has allowed the country to thrive as a crossroad between East and West from time immemorial. With a territory of about 780,000 km2 (twice larger than Japan) and a population of about 73.72 million (2010), Turkey is one of the leading countries of the Middle East. Because the wide majority of the Turkish population are Muslims, the country is also famous as an Islamic country that has been modernized through separation of religion from politics. On the diplomatic front, Turkey is a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), traditionally as a Western country.



3. Patent Applications in Turkey

As indicated in the graph provided below, the number of patent applications filed in Turkey has been abruptly increasing since 2004, and reached 8000 in 2010.

The number of patent applications from Japan to Turkey, which was only 73 in 1999, rose to 141 (almost twice) in 2009 and to 189 in 2010. Although this number is still far fewer than the number of patent applications from Japan to other emerging nations such as China, it has been steadily increasing.

Note that, although not indicated in the following graph, the total number of patent applications filed in Turkey exceeded 12,000 and the number of patent applications from Japan to Turkey exceeded 370 in 2014.

The current trend is thus a year-after-year increase in the number of patent applications filed in Turkey. Given the potential of the country as a production center for the European market, the trend is bound to last.

[Reference] Transitions of Number of Applications Filed in Turkey by Country

〔参考〕トルコにおける国別の出願件数の推移(グラフ)



4. Obtaining Patent Rights in Turkey

4.1. Application Routes

Turkey is a member of the Paris Convention, the European Patent Convention (EPC) and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT).

As a result, foreign individuals and companies can file a patent application with the Turkish Patent Institute (hereinafter referred to as "TPI") and obtain patent rights in Turkey via one of the following three routes:

  • 1. Paris route
  • 2. PCT route
  • 3. EPC route

4.2. Procedures

Once a patent application is filed, the formal examination will be conducted first. In a case where an error(s) is found during the formal examination, reasons for refusal will be communicated to the applicant, which will be then provided with an opportunity to file an argument and an amendment.

The format of the application documents is similar to that used in Japan: front page, description, claims, abstract, and (if necessary) drawings. The application language is Turkish, but the filing of application documents in English, French or German is also allowed. In a case where any of the application documents is filed in those languages, a Turkish translation of the application documents must be submitted within one month from the date of filing, along with an additional fee.

The application which has passed the formal examination will be disclosed after an 18-month period from the date of filing (or 18-month period from the priority date if the applicant claims priority) by being published on the patent gazette.

One point of attention is the fact that the Turkish Patent Law requires the applicant to file a request for a prior-art search within 15 months from the date of filing (or within 15 months from the priority date if the applicant claims priority). If the applicant fails to file such a request, the application will be regarded as being withdrawn.

After the request for the prior-art search is filed, a search report will be communicated to the applicant, which must then file a request for substantive examination within 3 months from the date of communication.

Upon filing of the request for substantive examination by the applicant, the substantive examination begins. In a case where the Examiner judges that the application does not meet the requirements for patentability, the applicant will be notified of it, and will be provided with an opportunity to submit an argument and an amendment.

The patentability requirements are similar to those in Japan, the applicant having to comply with novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability requirements. In addition, as with Japan, discoveries, scientific theories, plans, methods and rules for performing mental acts, and subject matters contrary to public order and morality are regarded as being outside the scope of patentable inventions. Meanwhile, computer programs are also regarded as being outside the scope of patentable inventions, unlike the Japan Patent Law.

In a case where the Examiner judges during the substantive examination that the application meets patentability requirements, a decision of grant will be issued, and a patent right will be granted upon payment of the registration fees. The registered content will be then published. Upon completion of the 20-year period from the date of filing, patent right will expire.



5. Other Patent Types

In addition to the regular patents described above, the Turkish Patent Law also provides for patents of addition, secret patents, and utility model certificates, which will be schematically described below.


5.1. Patents of Addition

Inventions eligible for the grant of a patent of addition are inventions improving or developing the invention of a main patent. The invention of the patent of addition is required to share the overall inventive concept of generic nature with the main patent, and is required to improve or develop the invention of the main patent. In other words, novelty and inventive step are not required for a patent of addition.

An application for a patent of addition can be filed until the final decision for the main patent is issued. However, a patent of addition is not granted in the case that the main patent application is refused.

While the application is pending, it is possible to convert an application for a patent of addition into an application for a main patent.


5.2. Secret Patents

Secret patents refers to applications related to inventions which the TPI regards as being of high importance to domestic security and which may thus be kept secret for up to 5 months from the date of filing.


5.3. Utility Model Certificates

Utility model certificates are intended to protect inventions similar to those eligible for patent protection. However, unlike patents, inventions pertaining to a method, a manufacturing method or a chemical material are not eligible for a utility model certificate. The duration of a utility model certificate is 10 years from the date of filing.

For the registration of a utility model certificate, the invention is required to be "novel" and "industrially applicable". Similar to Japanese utility models, applications for a utility model certificate in Turkey are examined only to determine whether the application meets the formality requirements and whether the subject of the application is eligible for protection.

An application for a utility model certificate may be converted into a patent application until the application is registered, while a patent application may also be converted into an application for a utility model certificate.



6. New Turkish Industrial Property Law

The New Turkish Industrial Property Law went into force on January 10, 2017, compiling provisions related to protection for patent, design, trademark, and geographical indication. Although the new law has already gone into force on January 10, 2017, the former law still apples to those filed before January 10, 2017. The followings are the main revisions incorporated in the new law.


6.1. Design

6.1.1. Timing of Novelty Examination
Novelty examination was previously conducted for applications that have passed the formal examination. With the revisions, the novelty examination will be conducted during the formal examination.


6.1.2. Reduction in Post-Granted Opposition Period
Opposition by a third party was previously allowed to be raised within 6 months from the publication date. With the revisions, the opposition period is reduced from 6 months to 3 months.


6.1.3. Protection as Non-Registered Design
With the revisions, any designs that are made publicly available for the first time in Turkey will be protected as non-registered designs. This also makes it possible to exert a design right with respect to a third party who exploits a design that is identical or similar to the non-registered design. The duration of protection is 3 years from the date on which the non-registered design is made publicly available for the first time.


6.1.4. Feature Statement
With the revisions, the feature statement is no longer an essential document. Filing of a feature statement is now optional.


6.2. Trademark

6.2.1. Introduction of System for Letter of Consent
Previously, coexistence of identical or similar trademarks in registration was not allowed. With the revisions, even in a case a trademark application is rejected as being identical or similar to another registered trademark, it is possible to overcome such a reason for refusal by filing a Letter of Consent given by the right holder of the another registered trademark cited during examination. The Letter of Consent can be filed also before issuance of a notification of reasons for refusal.


6.2.2. Change in Opposition Period
Opposition by an interested party was previously allowed to be raised within 3 months from the publication date. With the revisions, the opposition period was reduced from 3 months to 2 months. However, the opposition to those filed before January 10, 2017 can be still raised within 3 months from the publication date.


6.2.3. Request for Evidence of Use Against Opposition
Previously, in a case where 5 years elapsed from registration of a trademark based on which an opposition was raised, the applicant was not able to request the opponent to submit an evidence of use. With the revision, the applicant can request the opponent to submit an evidence of use even in the above case. If the opponent fails to submit the evidence of use, the opposition will be dismissed.


6.2.4. Office in Which Request for Cancellation Due to Non-Use is Filed
Previously, a request for cancellation due to non-use was required to be filed in a court of justice. With the revisions, it will be possible to file such a request also in the patent and trademark office. Note that the patent and trademark office is given a grace period of not more than 7 years so as to prepare for receipt of the request. Until the grace period expires, the court of justice will receive the request as with the former law.


6.2.5. Color Trademark, Sound Trademark, and Motion Trademark
Reproduction of color trademark, sound trademark, and motion trademark on paper is no longer necessary.


6.2.6. Renewal Period
Previously, trademark right expired at an end of month. With the revisions, trademark right will expire on the actual expiration date of the trademark right. Renewal of a registered trademark can be requested from 6 months prior to expiration of the trademark, and can be requested until expiration of a grace period of 6 months from expiration of the trademark. This provision will come into force on January 10, 2018.


6.3. Patent

6.3.1. Obligation to File Request for Substantive Examination
Filing of a request for substantive examination was made obligatory for all applicants. Previously, it was possible to select either the examined-patent system or the non-examined patent system, which allows grant of patent without substantive examination with a protection period of seven years. Under the new system, any patent application for which no request for substantive examination is filed (within a given period) will be regarded as being withdrawn.


6.3.2. Introduction of Post-Grant Opposition System
Under the new post-grant opposition system, third parties will be allowed to oppose a patent within six months from the publication date of the gazette of the patent.



7. Trademark Application in Turkey

The number of trademark applications filed in Turkey, which was 19,790 in 1998, largely increased to 74,991 in 2008. This appears to be supported by the country's economic development, which enhanced the need for trademark protection in the country. The number of trademark applications filed in 2009 was 71,604, with a drop from 2008.

Out of the total number of trademark applications filed in 2009, the number of applications filed by Turkish residents was 59,838. This means that trademark applications are mainly filed by Turkish residents unlike patent applications. Meanwhile, the number of trademark applications from Japan to Turkey is 365 in 2009.

Since Turkey has acceded to the Paris Convention and the Madrid Protocol, basic regulations for trademark do not largely differ from those of developed countries. As such, it is possible to claim priority under the Paris Convention when filing a trademark application in Turkey, and it is also possible to file a trademark application by designating Turkey under the Madrid Protocol, based on an application which has been filed or registered in another member country of the Madrid Protocol.

Trademark applications are published after formal examination and substantive examination. (Pre-grant) opposition to a trademark application can be raised by any interested party within 3 months from the publication date. If a person who wishes to raise an opposition to a trademark application is not an interested party, that person can file, as a (pre-grant) opinion, an argument which argues that the trademark application constitutes a ground of unregistrability. Here, the difference from the opposition is whether the person is an interested party or not.

In a case where (i) a trademark application is recognized as having no defect as a result of examination, (ii) errors are sufficiently corrected by amendments, (iii) no opposition is raised within the given period, or (iv) an opposition raised to the trademark application is finally dismissed, the trademark registration will be granted a trademark right. Duration of trademark right in Turkey is 10 years from the date of filing, and is renewable per decade.


*Notes for Designation of Turkey Under Madrid Protocol*

Opposition can be raised within 3 months from the date on which an international registration was published on the trademark gazette of the TPI.

However, in a case where Turkey is designated under the Madrid Protocol and an opposition is raised within the above period of 3 months, the TPI will not notify the applicant and the WIPO of the opposition until a decision on opposition (first decision) is issued.


  • (i) Since the opposition to the international registration will not be communicated to the applicant, no clear deadline is defined for a response to the opposition raised to the international registration. It is possible to file a response (argument) to such an opposition within about 2 to 3 months from the date on which the opposition was raised, but there is no obligation to file such a response.
  • (ii) If an argument against the opposition is filed, the first decision will be issued by taking into consideration the argument. If no argument is filed, the first decision will be issued based solely on the written opposition filed by the opponent.
  • (iii) If the applicant has a complaint against the first decision, the applicant can request an upper authority (Board of Appeal or Intellectual Property Court) to conduct a re-trial. If the case is taken to court, huge cost and time of 1 to 2 years will be required.

In view of the above, it is preferable to request a Turkish local agent to monitor (watch out) whether an opposition is raised and, in a case where such an opposition is raised, make an argument to deal with the opposition before issuance of a first decision.


Under the circumstances, we provide a monitoring (watching) service for monitoring whether an opposition is raised to an international registration for which Turkey is designated (additional fees will be charged). If you are interested in the monitoring service, please feel free to contact us.



8. Design Application in Turkey

Designs eligible for protection

  • 1. Definition of Design
    Designs are defined as "meaning all various patterns that comprise the appearance of a good or of the whole of part of the ornaments of the good, which can be perceived through the five senses like lines, colors, type of texture, shape, sound, elasticity, other substantial characteristics, etc.
  • 2. Subject of protection
    "Goods" are defined as "industrial goods or handcraft goods, parts of complex systems, sets of articles, component goods, packing, exteriors, illustration symbols and typefaces".

  • (1) Articles eligible for protection
    - packing containers, images (designations of articles unnecessary), dynamic designs
    - real-estates, buildings, 3D images, holograms, light (fireworks, illumination, etc.), graphic symbols, textile (designations of articles unnecessary, layout and displays in stores, etc., icons, blueprints, etc., all of which are not eligible for protection in Japan, can also be protected in Turkey.

    (2) Articles not eligible for protection
    - computer programs, semiconductor products, things that are not visible to the nakes eye


The publication of a registered design can be delayed for a maximum of 30 months from the date of filing (priority date).

Duration of design right in Turkey is 5 years from the date of filing, and is renewable a maximum of 4 times. This means that design right can be maintained for a maximum of 25 years.


■Hague Agreement

  • 1) Concluded Hague Agreement: Geneva Act (1999)
  • 2) Effective Date: January 1, 2015
  • 3) Declarations Made by Member Countries:
    • Notification for reasons for refusal is filed within 12 months from the date of filing (Rule 18 (1)(b)).
    • Effective date of international registration (Rule 18 (1)(c)(i)).,br> • Longest duration of protection based on domestic law (Rule 17 (3)(c)).


9. Link to Turkish Information (*20100730 update)

Turkish Patent Institute:
http://www.turkpatent.gov.tr/

Turkish Patent Institute:
http://www.turkpatent.gov.tr/

Turkish Patent Law:
http://www.turkpatent.gov.tr/portal/default_en.jsp?sayfa=121

Database of Turkish Patent Institute:
http://online.tpe.gov.tr/EPATENT/servlet/EPreSearchRequestManager

(The above database allows for Turkish patent search, but the keyword search needs to be conducted in Turkish language.)


Annex: Turkish Economy Data

GDP Composition by Sector (Turkish Statistical Institute, 2009) Services: 56%, Industry: 19%, Agriculture: 25%
GDP (2009) $615.5 billion
GDP Per Capita (2010) $10,399
Economic Growth (2010) -8.9%
Main Exports/Imports (Turkish Statistical Institute, 2009) Exports: Automobile (12.0%), Machinery (8.0%), Steel (7.5%), Imports: Oil/Natural Gas (21.1%), Machinery (12.2%), Steel (8.7%)
Main Trading partners (Turkish Foreign Trading Institute, 2009) Exports: Germany (9.6%), France (6.1%), UK (5.8%)… Japan (0.2%; 67th), Imports: Russia (14.0%), Germany (10.0%), China (9.0%)… Japan (2.0%; 11th)
Currency Turkish lira


Patent and Trademark Attorney


Patent&Trademark Attorney / Specially Qualified Attorney For Infringement Litigation
Specialist
Nobukazu SHIOKAWA
Nobukazu SHIOKAWA Specialization: Bio-functional chemistry

In order to provide our clients with satisfying service, I endeavor to correspond politely and sincerely.
The fields I mainly work with are IT related. In this day and age, IT related inventions hold an extremely important position in the business world because of the high level of specialized knowledge required to obtain suitable IT invention rights. If you think IT related inventions are necessary for business, do not hesitate to contact me. I am sure I will be able to assist you.

Osaka Legal Department Design Division Assistant Manager
Patent&Trademark Attorney
Patent&Trademark Attorney
Keiko NISHIDA
Keiko NISHIDA A good design creates a great marketability, differentiating clients' goods from others.
Seeking for our clients' satisfaction, I strive to protect their valuable intellectual properties including design.
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