Turkey

Trademark practice in Turkey has undergone substantial changes since the passing of a new IP law in 2017. The legislation – which unites all aspects of intellectual property under one legal umbrella for the first time – brings the national set-up more closely in line with the EU system. Among other changes, processes have been streamlined, the scope of protection has been broadened and bad-faith trademark cancellations have been introduced at the IP Office. The shockwaves which swept across the country following the attempted coup of 2016 also continue to reverberate: criminal proceedings against those allegedly involved have affected Turkey’s professional classes, including lawyers and the judiciary. Political instability also has had a knock-on effect on the economy by deterring potential foreign investment. However, local trademark professionals report an improved economic climate since the 2017 constitutional referendum.

Firms: enforcement and litigation

Firms: prosecution and strategy

Aktürk AB

Full-service law firm Aktürk AB makes its debut in the WTR 1000 this year, following effusive praise from clients. With both IP agents and attorneys at law on its bench, the “dynamic and experienced team” offers joined-up counsel across the trademark spectrum. Name partner Bora Aktürk is the lifeblood of the practice. A well-rounded corporate lawyer with a strong branding focus, he approaches each brief with a panoramic perspective, extracting maximum value from intangible assets. His horizons go well beyond national boundaries: Aktürk protects clients across a plethora of far-flung jurisdictions. Of late he has registered and defended a number of marks for Gano Excel Turkey and has also enjoyed successes shoring up the Turkish-American Association’s brand.

Ankara Patent Bureau Ltd 

One of the oldest – and most highly esteemed – IP agencies in Turkey, Ankara Patent Bureau is a “tried and tested” choice for demanding prosecution mandates. With more than 100 well-drilled staff on its books, utilising cutting-edge support systems, it manages the heftiest portfolios with poise. Overseeing the filing practice is Ekin Dericioğlu Kurt, a sagacious adviser and former general secretary of the International Association for the Protection of Intellectual Property’s national branch. The firm has developed a broader offering in recent years, thanks in part to the efforts of Korcan Dericioğlu. He tackles trademark and domain name disputes with alacrity; a certified licensing professional, he also has a flair for closing brand-rich deals.

ATG Law Firm

Founded three years ago, fast-growing boutique ATG Law Firm is making a splash with its insightful counsel on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious divide. The dynamic ensemble is incredibly responsive and wholly dedicated to brand protection. Prosecution and transactions maven Gizem Akgüloğlu “has been a breath of fresh air since we started instructing her”, enthuses one client: “She has a first-class attitude, provides exceedingly clear and helpful advice, and is very modern and forward thinking in her approach. Having used Gizem, I would find it difficult to entrust my Turkish trademark work to anyone else.” Heading the IP team is Ahmet Akgüloğlu who joined from Gur Law Firm in 2016. The versatile lawyer can handle any branding scenario, but really comes into his own when resolving heated spats – either through litigation or as a panellist on the National Arbitration Forum. He also exploits ancillary expertise in internet, media, competition and advertising law. According to one patron: “Ahmet gives professional guidance, replies quickly and handles cases proactively. He excels in cases where trademarks overlap with other issues.”

Deriş Attorney-At-law Partnership 

With deep roots in the Turkish legal landscape – it has been practising in the country for 105 years – Deriş remains at the forefront of brand protection in Turkey: “It is the very best on the market”, according to one peer. Combining a law firm and IP agency, the outfit caters for all needs: “excellent at acquiring and managing rights”, it also “shows great prowess in litigation”. Thriving practice groups in adjacent disciplines – IT, media, advertising and competition law – ensure that branding matters are assessed from every angle. Among its team of “well-trained and highly skilled professionals”, which includes 25 lawyers and 27 trademark attorneys, Okan Can is a “star performer”. The crack litigator “is vastly experienced and outstandingly well versed in IP law”. “Excellent” practitioner Emre Kerim Yardımcı deftly handles both prosecution and litigation mandates. He is called on by many blue-ribbon clients to coordinate multifaceted cross-border projects. The other pillar of the practice is Mehmet Nazim Aydin Deriş, a versatile lawyer with specialist know-how in pharmaceutical and agro-chemicals regulations.

Destek Patent Inc

Well-oiled filing machine Destek Patent “is way ahead of the pack in Turkey”. With 14 offices stationed across the country, its practitioners manage a vast array of portfolios with composure, dishing up “intelligent, timely and pragmatic advice”. Cultivated strategist Ersin Dereligil provides assured leadership; he is equally capable in national and EU prosecution instructions.

Erdem, Kaya & Partners 

Consistency and efficiency are the hallmarks of Erdem, Kaya & Partners’ work: the firm makes good use of the latest IP docketing systems and is ISO 9001:2008-certified. Most renowned for building iron-wrought trademark protections, it is also a hardened battler in branding wrangles and handles IT and competition law matters with panache. Operating nimbly across the board is team captain Ahu Güneyli, a former Fulbright scholar who “is very accomplished and has outstanding specialist knowledge”.

Esin Attorney Partnership: a member firm of Baker McKenzie International

Baker McKenzie is the only global practice with a major presence on the Turkish trademark scene. Bolstered by unmatched support structures for prosecution and customs monitoring, local member firm Esin Attorney Partnership’s IP team outshines local rivals in national and international portfolio management, especially in the fast-moving consumer goods and luxury sectors; the ensemble is also increasingly making its mark in must-win litigation and high-value transactions. Patrons appreciate the “excellent collaboration, diligent service and first-rate legal knowledge” of the local team, which is led with verve by Mine Güner. She is a “practical and reliable partner who adopts a highly commercial approach and understands clients’ businesses to the core”, the rising star has recently been putting her admirable regulatory knowledge to good use in stewarding Abbott Laboratories’ Turkish portfolio of over 500 marks. She also handles General Electric’s national brand rights, dispensing sage advice on a variety of filings, searches, renewals and oppositions.

Gün + Partners 

“The clear market leader for intellectual property, Gün + Partners boasts a star-studded client roster and has outstanding enforcement and prosecution capabilities.” The splendid general service firm has one of the largest branding departments nationally, with more than 25 dedicated lawyers and seven trademark attorneys. The side is home to seasoned experts as well as many of the country’s most promising young professionals, who receive stellar training. “The obvious choice for complex briefs, its elite team has deep insight into trademark case law and has fine-tuned instincts when it comes to assessing the likelihood of a positive verdict in court.” A veritable font of wisdom, Mehmet Gün founded the firm and earned his stripes acting in a number of landmark IP cases. The department is currently led by Uğur Aktekin, who provides perceptive advice on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious schism. “He is reliable, responsive and detail-oriented. His level of knowledge is extraordinary and he always gets results.” One of Turkey’s most dynamic trademark lawyers who is highly praised by her peers, Zeynep Seda Alhas is an essential name for the address book. Promoted to partner in 2017, she dispatches civil and criminal litigation briefs with aplomb; bringing counterfeiters to book is her particular forte. “Zeynep gives well-informed advice that is practical and to the point. She is experienced, but always keeps up-to-date with the latest legal developments; she is extremely motivated and constantly looking to learn more.” Leading the charge in the fight against fakes is Bariş Kalaycı, who works effectively with customs and police authorities. Hande Hançar Çelik knows how to devise winning prosecution strategies; she also tackles disputes with alacrity, showing a particular flair for settlement agreements. Another key contact when contentious matters arise, Mutlu Yıldırm Köse makes her first appearance in the WTR 1000 this year. “She is service driven, going the extra mile for the client, and always gives quick, clear and thorough responses to questions.”

IctemLegal

Clients flock to IçtemLegal for its A-to-Z trademark offering. Although most distinguished in litigation – it recently scored a decisive victory for Budweiser Budvar – the business law firm also excels in transactions and other cross-disciplinary matters. As Turkey’s sole Interleges member, the Içtem professionals perform adroitly in multi-jurisdictional instructions. With a profound understanding of everything branding-related, founding partner Serkan Içtem brandishes polished negotiation and advocacy skills; he won a favourable decision for Aldi against Albi of late and has recently been arguing Glock’s case in an infringement spat.

Istanbul Patent AS

Expertly guiding foreign and domestic clients around Turkish brand protection obstacles, Istanbul Patent combines faultless filing services with far-sighted strategic counsel. For many years a leading non-contentious practice, it has lately been building a sterling reputation for nimble work in opposition proceedings. Mainstay Güven Çalik is sure-footed in the most complicated prosecution projects.

Kahveci Law Office

Kahveci Law Office is an assiduous campaigner in the war against counterfeiters; its professionals possess intimate knowledge of the Turkish judiciary and work seamlessly with customs and police authorities in every corner of the country. The super-vigilant Vehbi Kahveci spearheads the practice and has a talent for getting imitations removed from the marketplace swiftly.

Kenaroğlu Intellectual Property

Vibrant IP shop Kenaroğlu Intellectual Property combines laser-focused expertise with flexible, personalised service. “It has excellent proactive lawyers who do not just report and summarise the facts, but provide practical and detailed advice. They are very thorough, familiar with latest case law and bring forward arguments in a very structured way. Clients are in safe hands with them.” Despite being a compact firm, it manages heavyweight portfolios with ease and represents some of the world’s most famous fashion houses. The firm also punches above its weight in contentious circumstances: according to one client, it is “exceptional in litigating against, and negotiating with, infringers – we’ve had more success with Kenaroğlu than with any other practice in Turkey”. Founding partner Yasemin Kenaroğlu continues to build on her fantastic reputation. One patron describes her as “absolutely excellent, she studies each case in detail and finds creative ways of solving problems, bearing in mind the particularities of your brand and your commercial needs. Her team is very easy to work with too.” She is flanked by rising star Yasemin Aktaş Dağ, co-head of the litigation group, who acquits has a strong track record in administrative and judicial spats.

Moroğlu Arseven 

“Head and shoulders above the rest of the legal market”, Moroğlu Arseven acquires, manages and defends trademarks for a slew of household names, many of which have instructed it for years. A “top-class general practice with a boutique-like IP department”, it dazzles in cases where trademarks intersect with other commercial law issues, as well as in pure branding matters. The firm “has a panoramic outlook – it is very business minded, tactically astute and focused on outcomes. Its team works efficiently and intelligently, is flexible and quick to reply to requests.” Providing inspired leadership is Işık Özdoğan, an “excellent litigator who has proven herself a compelling advocate in dicey disputes. She is creative in her approach and masterful in her application of the law to achieve wins.” For these reasons, Özdoğan is entrusted by world-renowned brands such as Twitter, Amazon.com and Starbucks. She is able to call on the prodigious talents of Ezgi Baklacı Gülkokar and Gökçe İzgi, who make their sophomore appearance in the WTR 1000. Baklaci is a staunch enforcer with a knack for formulating effective anti-counterfeiting campaigns; İzgi is similarly robust in dealing with infringers and is a particular specialist in pharmaceuticals and tobacco industry regulations.

NSN Law Firm

Having consolidated its position in the upper echelons of Turkish IP practice, NSN Law Firm is a trusted partner in all aspects of brand protection; known for its razor-sharp litigation skills, its squad also shows finesse in demanding prosecution mandates. Selma Ünlü is the lynchpin of the practice and upholds the highest standards of service: she “is committed, proactive and on the ball, providing prompt reports and updates about new developments. Her strategies are always tailor-made to the situation.” The gold-tier ranked litigator and level-headed adviser is especially popular with big-name clients in the pharmaceuticals industry – a sector of which she has microscopic knowledge. Fellow life sciences maven Gülay Göksu makes her debut in the WTR 1000 this year, having garnered enthusiastic plaudits from the market.

OFO VENTURA 

OFO VENTURA is celebrating 10 years in business, which have earned it praise from peers and clients alike. Backed-up by modern systems, the slick, forward-thinking practice can be relied on for efficient and tactically astute brand rights development. Founding partner Ozlem Futman tackles the trickiest trademark puzzles with composure.

Stock Industrial Property Services AS

Stock Industrial Property Services has been defending brands valiantly since 1887, making it Turkey’s longest standing IP shop. Widely celebrated for its portfolio management capabilities – which have been refined over many decades – of late it has been fighting its clients’ corners in trademark disputes. As one fellow practitioner states: “it is a firm you can have great confidence in, its professionals are exceedingly knowledgeable, have well-rounded skill sets and are internationally minded.” Versatile branding consultant Ömer Dündar embodies these qualities, dispensing shrewd guidance across the soft IP lifecycle. Another “excellent attorney”, Kazim Dündar is particularly lauded for his ability to resolve heated conflicts amicably.

Suluk Intellectual Property Law Firm

Blue-chip clients flock to IP shop Suluk Intellectual Property Law Firm for its combination of holistic brand counselling and hands-on case management. One patron avers: “The firm understood our objectives from the start and built a strategy that achieved them in an efficient manner. Its team kept us informed at all times, providing crucial advice at key milestones. The lawyers were diligent and prevented unforeseen problems from arising.” Founding partner Cahit Suluk has a granular understanding of IP law, having authored 14 books and over 40 articles on the subject. He brings a sure touch to alternative dispute resolution efforts, but also defends rights holders valiantly before civil and criminal courts when necessary. His colleague Zeynep Balçik is a key ally when contentious circumstances arise: she is resolute in nail-biting negotiations, often bringing conflicts to an end through judicious licensing ventures.

Turunç

Having developed rapidly in recent years, the full-service IP offering at Turunç is attracting a torrent of new instructions from both domestic and international clients. Its team covers all angles for brand owners, combining in-depth knowledge of intellectual property with expansive commercial law nous and diverse industry expertise – especially in the automotive and fashion sectors. Practice co-head Esin Çamlibel works adeptly on both sides of the contentious/non-contentious split. She has represented General Motors in disputes with unauthorised users of its trademarks in Turkey and has registered several new marks for Koruyucu, a large national health services provider. Together with her colleagues, Çamlibel has also sealed a number of IP-heavy agreements: she assisted Borsa Istanbul to establish a strategic partnership with NASDAQ and helped Android Industries to set up a new company and factory for manufacturing car parts.

Other recommended experts

IntraLegal’s Hakan Akdag is a priceless ally in all contentious circumstances; an accomplished linguist, he is especially popular with international clients. Working from his eponymous law firm, Riza Ferhan Cagirgan serves up a polished prosecution service to a host of grateful patrons. Team leader at Özdirekcan Dündar Şenocak, Esra Dündar Loiseau is best known as a tenacious defender of brand owners’ rights. As a force to be reckoned with in disputes, she also helps blue-chip clients build fortress-like portfolios. Having recently moved from Stock Industrial Property Services to Gür Law Firm, Deniz Sayin knows where the country’s prosecution pitfalls lie and how to avoid them.

Individuals: enforcement and litigation

Individuals: prosecution and strategy