Kenaroğlu Avukatlik Burosu
"We should be working to improve the anti-counterfeiting practice"
What led you to establish your own firm and what tips would you offer to others considering doing the same?
It did not take me long to realise that my relationship with clients was built on personal trust more than anything else. As such, I have always felt personally responsible for not disappointing them. By establishing my own firm, I could eliminate all the factors that restrict my ability to give them my best and could feel completely comfortable about the way that I work. My biggest dream was to build a team that takes care of each client as if it is the only one and helps clients in the most responsive, efficient and effective manner; I am very happy to have had the chance to achieve this by establishing Kenaroğlu. Those who are planning to build their own firms should be happy to take care of every need of their clients, their own team and the firm itself, without discriminating attorney work from administrative tasks, and should be present at all times.
How do you ensure that the team continues to be at the forefront of service provision and industry developments when spanning multiple focus areas?
With a team of almost 20 people and the advantage of being a boutique firm, we have a solid grasp of the changes in regulations and practices in different areas of intellectual property. For more than 15 years, we have represented clients in sectors ranging from automotive to fashion, cosmetics to media and electronics to pharmaceuticals. Our experience has enabled us to understand the needs of companies in different industries and the challenges that our clients face in order to offer them the most efficient solutions in all IP-related matters – from litigation to enforcement and prosecution to non-contentious work.
How are client demands changing and what effect has this had on the management of your practice?
Client demands have not changed significantly. Protecting their IP rights with the most cost-effective and time-saving solutions to match their image and understanding has always been the main objective. Yet, our client portfolio has grown in recent years and we have started to represent companies with differing attitudes and strategies in regard to protecting their rights and solving conflicts. As such, we have learnt how to assist clients in a way that reflects their unique image and style, without imposing the same method to every client.
What is the main IP challenge for rights holders in Turkey, and how can this be overcome?
The main IP challenge in Turkey at the moment involves the difficulties that we face in regard to enforcement. In particular, IP rights were protected against counterfeiting much more efficiently in the past. The criminal courts have become stricter in issuing criminal raid orders and have started requiring rights holders to submit evidence that is almost impossible to collect. Moreover, when a rights holder manages to overcome the bars raised by the legal authorities and proceed with a raid and subsequent criminal court action, the results are rarely a deterrent for counterfeiters. The biggest disappointment is that there is no acceptable reason behind any of these obstacles created by the authorities. The law is clear and strong enough to protect brand owners, but there is often a reason not to apply it against counterfeiters. This should change. The administrative and legal authorities should be reminded that they exist to protect IP rights when there is an infringement and that counterfeiting does not support the local economy.
Finally, how different do you think trademark practice will be in five years, and how can practitioners prepare for the future now?
Unlike in EU countries, where the IP world is settled in almost all terms, legislation and practice are still developing in Turkey and five years is a long time for a country like ours, where things change quickly and unexpectedly most of the time. I believe that there will be many changes in Turkish trademark practice in the coming years and I hope that these changes will aim to better protect the rights of brand owners. We should be working to improve the anti-counterfeiting practice through new areas such as AI. It is our task to follow developments in these areas worldwide in order to keep widening our perspective.
Founding Partner [email protected]
Yasemin Kenaroğlu is the founding partner at Kenaroğlu Avukatlik Burosu. She is registered as an attorney at law at the Istanbul Bar Association and as a trademark attorney before the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office. Ms Kenaroğlu has been working on IP-related litigation, enforcement, prosecution and counselling matters since 2003, leading Kenaroğlu since 2008. She represents foreign and multinational companies in a range of fields on trademark, patent, design, domain name and unfair competition-related matters.
Click here to see her WTR 1000 2019 profile.