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Within the scope of industrial property rights, Statutory Decrees on trademarks, patents, industrial designs and geographical signs was first prepared in June 27, 1995 in Turkey. The topics pertaining to trademarks, patents, industrial designs and geographical signs had been studied separately and the first legal regulations in concordance with European Union Acquis were carried out in the processes of harmonization. The said Statutory Decrees guiding over 20 years has now been replaced with laws along with various amendments.

The new IP Code No. 6769 has entered into force in January 10, 2017, and introduced massive changes along with itself. One of the most outstanding changes in the IP rights is the change in the name of Turkish Patent Institute to Turkish Trademark and Patent Institute.

Along with the new Code, letter of consent has become the most attractive topic regarding trademarks. By means of the letter of consent, a chance would be offered to rightsholders to register trademarks that is indistinguishably same/similar and have the same/similar goods and/or services to prior marks. In addition to this, while publication period for trademarks was 3 months, it has been decreased to 2 months with the new IP Code.

Another important change is proof of use. Accordingly, the applicant may request the opponent to prove use of the trademark(s) for the goods and services used as grounds to opposition on the condition that those trademarks were registered for more than five years starting from the application/priority date. If the opponent can prove the use, then the opposition will be accepted. If the opponent cannot prove the use, then the opposition will be rejected for those goods/services.

Amendments are not only limited to trademarks, but also there are massive changes for designs. Designers may demand to keep their names secret in design applications. Publication period of designs has been decreased to 3 months from 6 months. What is more, the designs first introduced to public in Turkey can be protected as unregistered design for 3 years as from introduction to public. The obligation for presenting description for designs has been changed to optional as well.

Massive changes and innovations in patent are countless. New 4 Paragraph has been added to inventions that cannot be patented and patentability criteria have been explicitly determined.

Unexamined patent system has been eliminated by the new law and obligation for presenting novelty search report has been required for utility models. Grant period of patents has been decreased to 7-27 months from 17-42 months.

Novelty search and examination reports would be prepared by Turkish Patent and Trademark Institution in a shorter time without sending them to foreign offices and name of inventors can be kept private.

As for geographical indications, a new concept has been introduced. Products which are not included in the scope of PGI and PDO shall be protected as "Traditional Specialty Guaranteed.” Different emblems shall be used in order to distinguish between GIs and TSGs. Time period for presenting auditing reports pertaining to GIs has been decreased to 1 year from 10 years.

Undoubtedly, the new IP Code will make the Turkish IP proceedings more functional and more adapted to international practice and regulations.

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