An important tool for IP rights owners in Turkey is the recordation of their registered IP rights with Turkish customs administration.
The basic conditions for the protection of IP rights at Turkish customs are the followings:
- The relevant IP right should be registered in Turkey
- An application for “customs recordation of IP right (protection)” should be filed in Turkey
If you meet the above two conditions, it is possible to legally stop trading counterfeit products at Turkish customs.
Once your application for the customs recordation is accepted, then the relevant Industrial property info (trademark, patent, design, etc.) and/or copyright info is uploaded to the national database of Turkish customs. After that all the info will be available at all customs ports of entry to Turkey.
So that what are the basic requirements for the application of customs recordation in Turkey? Let me tell you in brief:
- Applications for the recordation of customs protection of IP rights are filed through the “Intellectual and Industrial Property Rights Program” by using the online infrastructure of the Turkish Ministry of Commerce.
- The application can be filed by either the owner of the “industrial and intellectual property right” (for Turkish citizens only) or by a Turkish attorney who is authorized by an Apostilled power of attorney or a legal representative – distributor of the owner of the right.
- There are some information and documents that must be submitted during the application. For example:
- contact information of the right owner,
- type of the IP right (trademark, patent, design, geographical indication, topographies of integrated circuits or copyright),
- registration information and documents related to this IP right,
- technical information and visuals regarding the original-genuine product,
- description of the counterfeit-suspicious products
- visual-technical information about the counterfeit product (if any)
Then the application is examined by Turkish Ministry of Commerce and if it is accepted, your IP right is recorded at Turkish customs and the file can be viewed (online) by all customs administrations in Turkey.
By comparing the info provided at the recorded IP right and the similarity of the suspected goods, Turkish customs officials can seize or exclude the suspected (infringing) goods. Then the officials notify the owner or attorney of the IP rights about the date of importation, port of entry, description and quantity of goods, country of origin and names and addresses of manufacturer, exporter, and importer. In some cases, also the photographs of the seized goods are provided with the IP rights owner in order to verify if the subject goods are counterfeit or genuine.
Well, also let me mention very briefly what happens after the suspicious products are stopped at the customs and the owner is informed:
If the right holder declares that the products in question are counterfeit, then he must file a lawsuit in the competent court and obtain an injunction order within 10 working days, or first obtain an injunction order from a court and then file a lawsuit in the competent court within 10 working days from the date of the injunction order. If a justified excuse is submitted to customs administrations, then the waiting period can be extended. If the confiscated products are perishable, then the holding period of the goods is 3 working days only. After that there will be a court process and it may be possible to destroy the counterfeit products according to the decision to be issued.
The customs recordation is valid for one year and it is possible to renew the protection period annually at the end of each period.
I also strongly recommend you ask for the help of a Turkish attorney in order to file & follow up the whole process.