Geographical Signs and Traditional Product Names Provisions in the Industrial Property Law (“Law”) No: 6769
Traditional product names are included in the Law
Traditional product names that were not previously regulated are also included under the Law’s scope of protection. The Law intends to preserve traditional product names that are confused with geographical signs, but have a different characteristic than geographical signs due its direct expression of the traditional quality of the product and the production method. It may be possible to ensure protection for signs that cannot be registered as geographical signs through their registration as traditional products. Those signs that meet the required conditions regarding food, agriculture, mining, handcraft and industrial products that come together through the joining of natural and social factors will benefit from protection provided that they are registered. The protection of geographical signs will ensure both rural development and the promotion of the country.
Specific applicants and applicant groups are determined for the registration of geographical signs and traditional product names
Producer groups, state institutions and organizations related with the product or geographical area where the product is arising from, public professional organisations and associations for the public weal and associations authorized to protect economic interests of their members are entitled to apply for the registration of geographical signs and traditional product names as per article 36. An individual application may only be made provided that it is proved the product has only one producer.
Application and objection processes are simplified
The publication requirement of the application in the Official Gazette and in the highest circulating national local newspaper has been revoked with article 38. According to this provision, an application shall be published only in the TP bulletins and thus, high announcement costs will be avoided.
Parallel to trademark registration process, the period of objection against the registration of geographical signs and traditional product names has been shortened from 6 months to 3 months as of the publication date of the registration application in the TP bulletin as per article 40.
Mediation has been introduced with the Law.
As per Article 40, if the TP deems necessary, it may encourage the parties to reconciliation. In such case, the provisions of the Law on Mediation in Civil Disputes No. 6325 shall be applied.
Logo use for geographical signs becomes compulsory
Persons entitled to use geographical signs and traditional product names shall use respective signs and names on the product or package together with the logo created by the TP as per Article 46. Logo use is compulsory for geographical signs. The use of traditional product names without a logo shall not be subject to the provisions of this Law. The purpose of such logo use is to increase consumer awareness. The logo use requirement will enter into force after one year as of the publication date of the Law as per Article 192.
In cases where the geographical signs and traditional product names and the logo cannot be placed on the product or package due to the characteristics of the product, the logo and the registered sign or name is required to be placed at a easily visible place at the enterprise of the right holder.
Yearly usage control is regulated.
With the purpose of introducing an effective inspection system to protect both the producers’ economic interests and the consumers’ trust regarding related products, Article 49 of the Law provides that an investigation authority authorized by the TP shall conduct an investigation on an annually basis and provide a report to the TP each year (while, according to the previous regulations, such reporting was done only every 10 years).