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Legal Environment

Turkish industrial property rights legislation allows both civil and criminal actions. Preliminary injunctions can be claimed in actions. IP litigation in Turkey generally begins at specialized IP or civil courts, depending on the place of judgment, and moves on to the Supreme Court, if an appeal is filed.

Lawsuits can be classified under five basic categories:
(1) civil actions due to infringement of registered rights,
(2) criminal actions,
(3) invalidation actions against registered rights,
(4) actions for stating non-infringement and
(5) annulment actions against Turkish Patent Institute verdicts.
There are thirteen specialized IP courts in Turkey, which handles about 4.000 new IP cases each year. Only appointed ordinary civil courts can hear IP matters in other cities.
If the infringer is resident in Istanbul, Ankara or Izmir, the criminal or civil case will be lodged before the IP courts. In other cities, the case will be lodged before the district courts acting as IP courts.
If the plaintiff is not a Turkish citizen, court of the domicile of the registered attorney will be his commissioned court.
The exclusive rights conferred by an IP right are mainly directed at prohibiting third parties from using such intellectual property. In general, 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 can be instituted by filing a complaint directly to the public prosecutor. Criminal actions may include imprisonment, pecuniary punishment, closure of job sites and prohibition of commerce.
Only the first instance court takes into consideration the legal and technical facts of the case in depth. Expert reports are mostly trusted by the Judge and generally two expert reports are prepared during the first instance since the first one is opposed by either party. The appeal court generally reviews the basic legal arguments without entering into technical details. Therefore, the parties are bounded by the arguments submitted during the first Instance proceedings. Additional arguments are not permitted before Supreme Court of Appeals
Timescales are dependent on the complexity and type of the IP right. In general cases, with little technical involvement, such as trademark/industrial design infringement or unfair competition, this may take approximately two years to complete for the first instance. Patent infringement cases may take up to three or more years to complete, given the necessity for expert reports.

As for the duration of invalidation suit, there may be maximum three instances:
(i) the proceedings in the court of first instance (Specialized IP Court) takes about 2-3 years (as of the institution of the action depending on the number of hearings, notification to the other party, collecting the defenses, petitions exchanged, number of expert reports issued and oppositions filed there against etc.;
(ii) the proceedings in the court of second instance (Appeal/ Supreme Court) takes about 1 year; and 
(iii) very rarely third instance court (Higher Council of Supreme Court) decides in 6 months

Provide that a European patent validated in Turkey is related to the case and opposition proceedings before the EPO are in question, Judge “may” suspend the case until the outcome thereof upon request by either party.

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