Turkish IPR laws are mainly compatible with EU legislation and provide a
legal basis in combating against IP infringement. However, some obstacles for an
effective protection still remain, i.e. a growing backlog of both criminal and
civil cases and the lack of overall deterrence in results. A new IPR law is
expected to be published to overcome some pending issues in late 2016.yyy
Turkey is a civil law country with 23 specialized criminal and civil IP courts
in cities including Ankara, Istanbul and Izmir and a special prosecutor´s bureau
responsible for IPR investigations. Civil and criminal cases cannot be heard by
the same court.
Civil IP courts may order a preliminary injunction to stop the infringement and/or
to seize the infringing products which can be claimed before or alongside the
proceedings, however such an injunction is rarely granted, unless very strong
evidence of infringement is available.
An IP holder may request a civil IP Court to issue a judgment ordering the
defendant to stop infringing actions and make compensation for damages. The
judgment of the IP Court may also include the confiscation and destruction of
counterfeit products, along with machinery and other equipment used to produce
For criminal proceedings, a right holder must file a complaint against the
infringer with the public prosecutor. Criminal actions are commonly used and are
the most effective tool in anti-counterfeiting tasks. Only lawyers who are
registered with one of the Turkish bars can represent parties before the courts.
Patent or trademark attorneys cannot represent a party in legal proceedings or
formally appear before the Turkish courts, except for their presence as
independent official experts appointed by the Judge.
National police conduct raids upon the instruction of prosecutors or ex officio
for some copyright infringements and upon complaint for counterfeit materials.
In the current organization structure, the General Directorate of Police
consists of central and provincial units. These are the police departments at
the General Directorate and State Security Sections in the provinces.
As for the share of responsibilities, State Security Units deal with
intellectual and industrial property rights frauds, whereas Organized Crimes
Units are responsible for organized intellectual and industrial property rights
frauds. The prosecutors instruct these units in accordance with this job
Customs applications are an effective tool used by the customs authorities to
protect IP. Customs applications and enforcement Customs applications can be
filed for intellectual and artistic works (copyrights), patent and utility model
rights, industrial design rights, geographical indications, trademarks,
supplementary protection certificates and other intellectual and industrial
The “centralized” customs applications can be filed electronically at the
Turkish customs authorities by using an electronic data exchange system. If the
rights holder is located abroad, a representative specifically appointed by an
attorney or other authorized person can file a request on behalf of the rights
holder. It is important for the rights holder to provide information to allow
the customs authorities to easily recognize the goods during their routine
It is recommended for right holders to take note of the followings:
- Protect your rights through their registration, if possible, by applying to
the Turkish Patent Institute and to customs beforehand.
- Remember that a registered IP right, whether it is fair or not (i.e. with bad
faith) should be invalidated at first before taking effective infringement
actions and any earlier use of counter party is assumed to be legal and can
hardly be challenged.
- Try sending warning or C&D letters if necessary but do not trust that they
will always be taken into consideration seriously or in-time by the counter
- Seek advance professional advice from lawyers and professionals on how to deal
with the legal actions, secure evidence and amicable approaches.
- Put protective measures in place in respect of confidential information and
- Engage lawyers and enforcement as quickly as possible and take appropriate
Please see “legal environment” directory for court actions, time scales and