As part of the measures to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the legal time limits in Intellectual Property Courts (“IP Courts“) and the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“TPTO“) were suspended from March 13, 2020 to April 30, 2020 with the Law No. 7226, as we informed you in our alert published on March 30. On April 30, 2020, the President of the Turkish Republic issued “The Decree to Extend the Suspension Period to Prevent the Loss of Legal Rights” (“Decree“), extending the suspension of time limits to June 15, 2020.
Time limits will start to run the day after the suspension period ends on June 15, 2020 (on June 16, 2020). Time limits that expire in 15 days or less as of the suspension period (March 13 or March 22), will end 15 days after June 15, 2020. A chart explaining the calculation of the new deadlines for the TPTO was published on TPTO’s announcements page.
Although these legal measures seem to provide potential temporary relief in terms of protecting rights holders’ intellectual and industrial property rights, rights holders must consider the practical impact of legal measures on their legal proceedings.
What Does the Decree Mean in Terms of Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights?
Although time limits were suspended until June 15, 2020, legal proceedings can still be carried out before the IP Courts and TPTO. In terms of IP Courts, legal proceedings can be conducted online via the Online Judiciary System (“UYAP“). Proceedings regarding industrial property rights before the TPTO are carried out electronically via the online system called EPATS . Proceedings before the TPTO are not disrupted and it is possible to carry out proceedings without waiting for the new deadlines.
In this context, it is highly likely that rights holders plan to complete the proceedings regarding intellectual and industrial property rights by the extended deadlines. However, considering the potential workload piling up for the IP Courts and TPTO, and the possibility of encountering technical problems in the upcoming periods, it is advisable to complete the proceedings immediately and within the statutory deadline in order to not experience loss of rights.
Regarding intellectual and industrial property rights proceedings before both the IP Courts and TPTO, the suspension of time limits is reassuring for both rights holders and professionals in this extraordinary period. However, considering that all proceedings can be carried out though online systems, it is recommended to carry out proceedings online instead of waiting for the extended deadlines. If rights holders think that they will be unable to complete the proceedings due to the circumstances of COVID-19 by the new deadlines, it is recommended to insert a record indicating that the proceedings could not be performed due to force majeure, for future evidence.
Please stay up to date with further developments through the Esin Attorney Partnership Coronavirus Helpdesk.