Intellectual property (IP) serves as a crucial safeguard for creators, protecting their innovations, designs, and trademarks from unauthorized use. Among these protections, patents stand out, granting exclusive rights to inventors for a limited time. This not only safeguards their creations but also opens avenues for income, recognition, and a competitive edge. However, obtaining a patent isn’t always straightforward. Criteria such as novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability must be met. The application process, including detailed submissions and fees, adds to the complexity. For inventions that are simple, low-cost, or short-lived, a utility model might be a more suitable alternative. It protects the functional aspects of an invention with lower requirements, reduced costs, and a quicker acquisition process compared to patents. In regard to intellectual property protection regulations, this blog post provides insights into the advantages of patents and utility models, the prerequisites for filing applications, and the legal application processes in Turkey.

Intellectual Property Law and IP Protection System in Turkey

Turkey is a country that has a well-developed and modern intellectual property protection system, which is harmonized with international standards and conventions. Turkey is a member of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), the European Patent Organization (EPO), and the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), among others. Turkey also has a national patent and trademark office, called the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TÜRKPATENT), which is responsible for examining and granting patents and utility models, as well as registering trademarks, designs, and geographical indications. TÜRKPATENT also provides various services and information for inventors, applicants, and the public.

Regarding the dynamic landscape of intellectual property, Turkey has established a robust protection system through its Industrial Property Code, Law Number 6769. This legal framework encompasses various aspects, including patents and utility models, offering comprehensive protection for inventors and innovators.

Advantages of Owning a Patent

A patent is a legal right granted by TÜRKPATENT to an inventor or an assignee for an invention that meets the criteria of novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability. A patent gives the owner the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, offering for sale, or importing the patented invention without their consent for a limited period (20 years from the filing date).

Some of the advantages of owning a patent are:

  1. A patent can protect the technical and commercial value of an invention and prevent unauthorized copying or imitation by competitors.
  2. A patent can enhance the reputation and credibility of an inventor or an assignee as a leader in innovation and technology.
  3. A patent can provide a source of income for an inventor or an assignee through licensing or transferring the patent rights to others.
  4. A patent can encourage further research and development activities and stimulate economic growth and social welfare.

Components of the Intellectual Property Protection System

The basic components of the intellectual property protection system in Turkey are:

  • The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TÜRKPATENT), is the main authority responsible for examining, granting, registering, and enforcing patents, utility models, trademarks, designs, and geographical indications.
  • The Industrial Property Code No. 6769, which entered into force on January 10, 2017, regulates the legal framework for patents, utility models, trademarks, designs, and geographical indications.
  • The Law on the Establishment and Duties of the Turkish Patent Institute No. 5000, establishes the legal status, organization, duties, and powers of TÜRKPATENT.
  • The Decree-Law No. 551 on the Protection of Patent Rights, which was repealed by the Industrial Property Code No. 6769, but still applies to patent applications filed before January 10, 2017.
  • The Decree-Law No. 554 on the Protection of Utility Model Rights, which was repealed by the Industrial Property Code No. 6769, but still applies to utility model applications filed before January 10, 2017.
  • The international treaties and conventions that Turkey is a party to or a member of, such as the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property, the Patent Cooperation Treaty (PCT), the European Patent Convention (EPC), the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS), and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Requirements For Filing a Patent Application

To file a patent application in Turkey, an applicant must fulfill the following requirements:

  • The applicant must be either a natural person or a legal entity that is a Turkish citizen or resident, or a foreign person or entity that has a domicile or a real and effective industrial or commercial establishment in Turkey or in a country that is a party to the Paris Convention or a member of the WTO.
  • The applicant must submit a patent application form along with the following documents:
  • A description of the invention that discloses its technical features and problem-solution approach clearly and completely.
  • One or more claims that define the scope of protection sought for the invention.
  • An abstract that summarizes the main aspects of the invention.
  • An illustration of the invention, if necessary.
  • A power of attorney if the application is filed by an agent or representative.
  • A priority document if priority is claimed based on an earlier application filed in another country that is a party to the Paris Convention or a member of the PCT.
  • A petition for requesting either an examination report or a search report depending on whether the applicant opts for a regular patent or a short-term patent (see below).
  • The applicant must pay the prescribed fees for filing, publication, examination or search, grant, maintenance, etc.

Patent Application Process

The steps of the patent application process in Turkey are as follows:

Preliminary Research and Patentability Assessment: This step involves conducting thorough research to ensure that the invention is novel, inventive, and industrially applicable. It also involves identifying any prior art that may affect the patentability of the invention. A patent search can be done using various databases and sources, such as the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TÜRKPATENT), the European Patent Office (EPO), the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), and others.

Preparing the Patent Application: This step involves drafting a detailed description of the invention, including the claims, drawings, abstract, and other necessary documents. The patent application should comply with the formal and substantive requirements of the TÜRKPATENT, as well as the international standards and conventions. The patent application can be filed in Turkish or English, but a Turkish translation may be required later.

Filing the Application: This step involves submitting the patent application to the TÜRKPATENT, either online or in person, along with the required fees. The patent application can be filed as a national application, a PCT national phase entry, or a European patent validation. The filing date is the date on which the TÜRKPATENT receives the patent application and assigns a patent number.

Formal Examination: This step involves checking the patent application for its compliance with the formal requirements, such as the completeness of the documents, the payment of the fees, the language of the application, and the representation of the applicant. If the patent application meets the formal requirements, it proceeds to the next step. If not, the TÜRKPATENT issues a notification of deficiency and requests the applicant to correct the deficiencies within a given time limit.

Substantive Examination: This step involves assessing the patent application for its compliance with the substantive requirements, such as the novelty, inventive step, and industrial applicability of the invention. The TÜRKPATENT conducts a search and examination report, which contains the results of the search and the opinion of the examiner on the patentability of the invention. The applicant can request a substantive examination within three years from the filing date or the priority date, whichever is earlier. The applicant can also respond to the search and examination report and amend the claims within six months from the date of the report.

Publication and Opposition: This step involves publishing the patent application in the official gazette after 18 months from the filing date or the priority date, whichever is earlier. The publication of the patent application opens a six-month period for public opposition. Any third party can file an opposition against the patent application based on the grounds of lack of patentability, insufficiency of disclosure, or extension of the subject matter. The applicant can defend the patent application against the opposition by submitting arguments and evidence to the TÜRKPATENT.

Grant and Publication: This step involves granting the patent if the patent application meets all the requirements and overcomes any opposition. The TÜRKPATENT issues a patent certificate and publishes the patent in the official gazette. The patent is valid for 20 years from the filing date, subject to the payment of annual fees. The patent grants the owner the exclusive right to prevent others from making, using, selling, or importing the patented invention without the owner’s consent.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the Industrial Property Code reflects Turkey’s commitment to fostering innovation and protecting the rights of inventors. Navigating this legal landscape empowers individuals and entities to contribute to the country’s intellectual and industrial growth.

Patent and utility model protection are two important ways of securing the rights of inventors and innovators in Turkey. In this blog post, we explained the basic concepts of patent and utility model protection, the advantages of owning a patent, the requirements and procedures for filing a patent application, and the differences between patent and utility model protection.

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