Turkish Patent Institute introduces trademark examination guideline

The Turkish Patent Institute (TPI) has published a trademark examination guideline within the context of the EU twinning project entitled “Supporting Turkey for Enhancing Implementation and Enforcement of Industrial Property Rights", which is carried out by the TPI and the German Foundation for International Legal Co-operation (IRZ Foundation). This document was prepared in accordance with Law 5000 on the TPI’s Organisation and Functions, which allows the TPI to collaborate with other organisations and make information and documents available to the public. 

The guideline was created by all the staff within the TPI's Trademarks Department and Re-examination and Assessment Board, in collaboration with the Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market (OHIM) and judges from the German Federal Court, taking into consideration:
  • precedents of the Turkish Court of Appeals and OHIM;
  • the TPI’s practices and decisions; and
  • the Turkish doctrine.
The guideline was introduced as a non-legislative document that should be regarded as "general instructions" with no binding effect.

The guideline aims to set forth the criteria that will constitute the basis for the TPI’s trademark examination practice under Articles 7 and 8 of the Trademark Decree-Law 556 Pertaining to the Protection of Trademarks, which regulate the absolute and relative grounds of refusal, respectively. The guideline includes various examples for each ground of refusal (absolute and relative), and refers to case law by the Turkish and foreign courts that shaped trademark practice.

The target user of the guideline is said to be the TPI staff. However, it is evident that both rights owners and trademark practitioners can refer to the guideline in order to substantiate their arguments and direct the attention of the examiners to the issues mentioned in the document. Although the guideline has no binding effect, it is believed that it may influence the TPI examiners, especially where it provides very clear guidance or examples.

This guideline is available in Turkish and English at the TPI’s official website.

Ugur Aktekin and Zeynep Seda Alhas, Mehmet Gün & Partners, Istanbul

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