In Turkey, with the enactment of the Code on Amending Certain Codes published in the Official Gazette dated 26 March 2020, the time limits in legal and administrative proceedings are suspended until 30 April 2020.
The provision, which is also relevant to intellectual property rights, reads as follows:
“Provisional Article 1: (1) Due to COVID-19 epidemic disease seen in Turkey, in order to prevent the loss of right;
a) As of 13 March 2020 (including this date), all time limits as to the origination, exercise and termination of a right, including the time limits for filing lawsuits and enforcement proceedings, applications, complaints, oppositions, warnings, notifications, submissions and the statute of limitations, peremptory terms and mandatory administrative application terms; and the time limits regulated under the Administrative Procedure Code, the Criminal Procedure Code and the Civil Procedure Code and the other codes which include procedural provisions, and in this respect, the time limits determined by judges, and the time limits in the institutions of mediation and reconciliation, …
are suspended until 30 April 2020 (including this date). The respective terms will continue to run as from the day after the suspension will end. The terms, which expire in 15 days or less as of the starting date of the suspension, deem to have extended 15 days as from the day after the final day of the suspension. If the epidemic continues, the president of the republic may extend the suspension period no longer than 6 months once and can limit the scope regarding this period. These decisions are published in the Official Gazette.”
As the respective article does not exclude intellectual property related matters from the scope of the suspension, and, on the contrary, explicitly indicates that the respective suspension covers all of the time limits, it can be concluded that the time limits regarding the intellectual property rights (regardless of the type) are also suspended until 30 April 2020 for all proceedings before the courts and the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (the “Office”). Therefore, the suspension should be applicable to all time limits regarding, including but not limited to:
The proceedings related to the payment of annual fees and renewals, oppositions, responses, appeals, and all other proceedings carried out before the Office,
The lawsuits to be filed against the decisions of the Office and against third persons, and in all proceedings in the respective lawsuits in relation to the origination, exercise and termination of the intellectual property rights.
However, please note that the Office and the courts are still open, and thus in a position to accept new filings. Nevertheless, we may expect some delays in their operations and decisions.
Please also note that as per the article 90 of the Constitution of the Republic of Turkey, international agreements duly put into effect are also in the force of code in Turkey. However, there is no official announcement made so far as to whether or not the respective provision suspending the time limits on the legal proceedings is also applicable to international agreements. Therefore, the international applicants of intellectual property rights, who want to act cautiously, should still comply with the deadlines previously set out (as if the suspension in time limits is not applicable to the international agreements), especially in their filings, which ensure their international applications to be protected under national law (e.g., national phase applications for the PCT filings and the validation applications for the EPC filings).
Update (dated 30 April 2020): As per the Presidential Decree published in the Official Gazette dated 30 April 2020, the suspension period in legal and administrative proceedings (including IP proceedings) has been extended until 15 June 2020 (including this date).
For further queries, please contact:
Dogukan Berk Aksoy, LL.M.
Attorney at Law | Trademark Attorney | Patent Attorney
T: +90 312 514 20 14