In 2008, the Prime Ministry of Turkey published Circular 2008/7 to establish the Intellectual Property Rights Coordination Commission. The Commission is responsible for building a national strategy plan for IPR where its members would come together twice a year. In its February 2009 meeting, the Commission decided to start to work on a national strategy plan for GIs under the coordination of the Turkish Patent Institute (TPI).
Accordingly, two workshops – one of which at the national level and the other at the international level – are organised with the attendance of non-profit organisations, academics, related public authorities and judicial members. In the national workshop, the systematic problems of the GI system are determined and discussed. Then, TPI evaluated the workshop and prepared a draft document for the strategic plan. The international workshop is organised with the co-operation of WIPO; after that, according to good examples discussed at the international workshop, the goals and actions stated in TPI’s draft document are reviewed.
Then the draft document of TPI was drawn to the attention of participants and revised according to feedback; this year the final version is published in the National Official Gazette.
Considering Turkey has been a candidate country for the EU for years and that Turkey’s IPR systems are based on or inspired by EU IP law, we can see the EU effect in the Strategic Plan as well. Not only for those reasons but also due to the naturally developed/needed GI system, the relative public awareness of GIs and the number of goods protected through GI regimes makes the EU a region that deserves to be followed up closely indeed.
For those reasons, with the statistics, the Strategic Plan points out the importance and financial effect of GIs in the EU economy and gives brief information on the registration of GIs there.
The Strategic plan indicates that Turkey needs a more effective legislative system on GIs and such legislation should be in the form of “Code” but not “Decree Law” as it is now since the present system causes problems in practice.
Turkey is a member of three international agreements, namely Paris Convention, TRIPS Agreement and Madrid Agreement for the Repression of False or Deceptive Indications of Source on Goods but not the Lisbon Agreement. In the Strategic Plan, within the section development of legislative system parallel to international developments, it is stated that the Commission will compare the Lisbon Agreement with the national legislation and practice, and analyse the potential effects of being a Lisbon member. The TPI has regularly sent examiners to meetings, workshops of WIPO regarding the Lisbon Agreement and followed up developments. Surely, observations of those examiners and knowledge they acquired will have great help, nevertheless considering the recent developments, the mission of the Commission now seems to be broader and may take more time to complete.
The Strategic Plan covers many sections, so it is impossible to give full coverage about its content in one article. Therefore, in further articles I will continue to touch other sections.
Özlem Fütman is a member of the MARQUES GI Team and a lawyer with Ofo Ventura in Istanbul