The Industrial Property Code No. 6769 (“IP Code”), which came into force on 10 January 2017, makes a clear distinction between the cancellation and invalidation of the trademarks and regulates the reasons for termination under three headings. These are (i) the invalidation of the trademark (Article 25), (ii) the cancellation of the trademark (Article 26), and (iii) other reasons for termination (expiry of term of protection and not renewing the trademark in prescribed time, surrender by the trademark owner of its trademark right; Article. 28/1).
The administrative cancellation procedure for the cancellation of trademarks, which did not previously exist in Trademark Law, is regulated under the heading “grounds for cancellation and cancellation request” in Article 26 of the IP Code and thus complies with the EU Directive No. 2015/2436 and Regulation No. 2017/1001.
Article 26 of the IP Code lists the grounds for cancellation under four headings: (1) non-use of a registered trademark for five years without a justifiable reason; (2) use of a guarantee trademark and/or a collective trademark contrary to technical regulation; (3) trademark misleading the public concerning the nature, quality or geographic origin of the goods or services for which it is registered; and (4) trademark becoming generic for the registered goods or services.
Article 26 of the IP Code states that the cancellation of the trademark shall be decided by the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (“TÜRKPATENT”). However, pursuant to Article 192 of the IP Code, this provision will enter into force seven years after the code’s enactment, i.e., on 10 January 2024. According to Article 192 of the IP Code, this provision entered into effect yesterday, 10 January 2024, which is exactly seven years after the law’s enforcement, and from yesterday onwards, the requests for cancellation of a trademark will be evaluated and decided solely by TÜRKPATENT. Although no announcement has been made or no regulation or guideline has been published on the procedure by TÜRKPATENT so far, TÜRKPATENT announced today that they are now accepting preliminary applications for non-use cancellations via the electronic filing system, namely EPATS.
While the initiation of preliminary applications for non-use cancellations has quelled speculations about a delayed start, numerous unanswered questions persist. These include concerns related to procedural intricacies, the merits of cases, uncertainties surrounding corporate organization, and notably, the commencement date of administrative examinations. It is apparent that substantial challenges lie ahead in navigating these administrative and procedural complexities.
Therefore, it is important to implement the necessary additional regulations as soon as possible to avoid any potential problems that may arise in practice. We anticipate significant changes in administrative and procedural matters, and we believe that this transition will be smoother for both parties. We are excited to see what this new era of non-use cancellation actions will bring to the world of intellectual property, and we eagerly await the clarification of any existing ambiguities in due course.