IP Litigation Overview in Turkey
In terms of intellectual property enforcement, Turkish IP Law and regulations thereof, allows both civil and criminal actions. Preliminary injunctions can be claimed in actions. Intellectual property litigation in Turkey generally begins at specialised IP or civil courts depending on the place of judgement, and moves on to the Supreme Court if an appeal is filed. There are 4 special heavy penal courts and 3 specialised civil courts.
If the infringer is resident in Ankara, Istanbul or Izmir the criminal or civil case will be lodged before the IP courts. Almost half of the total actions taken so far have been in Istanbul which is the biggest city in Turkey. In other cities, Ankara and Izmir, the case will be lodged with the civil courts acting as IP courts. Criminal proceedings can be instituted by filing a complaint directly with the public prosecutor.
The exclusive rights conferred by an IP right are mainly directed at prohibiting third parties from using such intellectual property.
Generally, civil actions may include requests for determination of infringement, cessation of the acts of infringement, seizure of counterfeit goods and compensation of damages. Criminal actions may include imprisonment, pecuniary penalty, worksite closure and commercial prohibition.
* With the New IP Law No.6769 which has entered into force as of 10th January 2018, there is no longer criminal actions for trademark matters.
Persons making false statements during the process of forgiveness an IP right in Turkey, those removing, without authorisation, the sign indicating an IP right on a product or those falsely presenting themselves as the owner of an IP right are subject to a penalty and imprisonment of up to 3 years.
Despite timescales are dependent upon the complexity and type of the intellectual property right, in general cases with little technical involvement such as trademark/ design infringement or unfair competition take approximately 2-3 years to complete, whereas patent infringement cases may take up to 3 years or more to complete, given the essentiality for court expert reports.