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Criminal Sanctions for Trademark Infringements in Turkey

Introduction

The rights arising from a registered trademark belong exclusively to the trademark owner. Therefore, the trademark owner may take civil actions if their registered trademark is infringed. Detailed information on trademark infringement and civil sanctions may be accessed here, in another one of our articles.


In addition to civil actions, the trademark owner may also take criminal actions to prevent infringement. Criminal sanctions concerning trademark infringement are listed in Article 30 of the Industrial Property Code numbered 6769 (the “IP Code”).


In this short article, we will be explaining the criminal sanctions regulated in Article 30 of the IP Code.


Criminal Sanctions

Criminal sanctions concerning trademark infringement are regulated in Article 30 of the IP Code. According to Article 30 of the IP Code, different sanctions are specified for each act listed below, and these specified sanctions are as follows:

  • Anyone who produces goods or provides services, places on the market or sells, imports or exports, purchases, possesses, transports, or stores for commercial purposes via infringement in the trademark right of others through quotation or ambiguity, shall be sentenced to imprisonment from one year to three years and imposed a punitive fine of up to twenty thousand days.

  • Anyone who removes the sign that indicates the trademark protection from a product or packaging without authorization shall be sentenced to imprisonment from one year to three years or imposed a punitive fine of up to five thousand days.

  • Anyone who, without authorization, acts on a trademark right that belongs to someone else via transferring, licensing, or pledging shall be sentenced to imprisonment from two years to four years and shall be imposed a punitive fine of up to five thousand days.


Under the respective provision, imprisonment and punitive fines will be applied to trademark infringers. If the above-mentioned acts are committed by a legal entity, additional security measures shall be taken.


Please note that the infringed trademark must be registered in Turkey for the respective sanctions to be applied.


“Effective Remorse” Mechanism

According to Article 30/7 of the IP Code, anyone who sells or releases counterfeit goods to the market, submits information about where they acquired such counterfeited goods, and assists in identifying the manufacturers and confiscating the products shall not be sentenced.


Fast Destruction Procedure

The fast destruction procedure for infringing goods is introduced in Article 163 of the IP Code. Accordingly, if the infringing goods confiscated or stored under protection due to the infringements mentioned above cannot be preserved at the trustee, after taking sufficient samples from the goods, the remaining goods shall be sent to the financial administration of the locality.


After taking the sample, the prosecutor may also request the destruction of the remaining goods from the competent court if there is a risk of damage, loss of value or if the storage thereof incurs serious costs. However, an expert examination must be completed for the goods to be destroyed.


Competent Authority for Criminal Sanctions

Trademark infringement lawsuits are handled by specialized IP Courts, namely, the Criminal Court of Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights where the plaintiff resides or where the infringement has taken place, or the effects of the acts are observed.

However, the investigation and prosecution of related infringements are subject to a criminal complaint.


For further queries, please contact: Dogukan Berk Aksoy, LL.M. Attorney at Law | Trademark Attorney | Patent Attorney E: dogukan.aksoy@aksoy-ip.com T: +90 312 969 09 63 Elif Koturoglu Attorney at Law | Trademark Attorney E: elif.koturoglu@aksoy-ip.com Evren Firat Goklu Legal Trainee | Trademark Attorney E: firat.goklu@aksoy-ip.com

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