2 August 2016 // Open Forum Programme Update // Turkey Update
FICPI 16th Open Forum - Working Programme Update
With only two months to go until the start of FICPI’s 16th Open Forum in the beautiful city of St. Petersburg, Russia, we are delighted that at this stage, registrations are well ahead of the two previous successful Fora in Sorrento and Barcelona and the St. Petersburg Forum expected to sell out completely in the next couple of weeks. You are strongly urged to register now to avoid missing out on this unique opportunity to attend world-class working sessions on patents, trade marks and IP practice management in a remarkable location.
We are pleased to announce some updates to the working programme:
New keynote speaker: On Friday, 7 October 2016, Dr. Saule Tlevlesova, president of the Eurasian Patent Office, will join EPO president, Benoît Battistelli, to give an update on the regional patent systems in Europe and Eurasia.
Trade Secrets: Immediately after the keynote presentation on Friday morning, our session on trade secrets “Keep it Secret, Keep it Safe” will be joined by Jeff Pade (US) in the place of Jim Pooley. Few practitioners can claim Jeff’s level of experience in international trade secret matters, as he was part of the defence team in the DuPont v. Kolon litigation, which went on for many years. Jeff has recently co-authored an article comparing the new U.S. trade secret statute with the EU Trade Secrets Directive.
Retirement & Mentoring in a Firm: We are delighted that Peter Huntsman (AU) and Brett Slaney (CA) will join Session 4.3 to explore the topic Retirement & Mentoring – Keeping Knowledge Within the Firm from the perspectives of a recently retired partner and a remaining partner on Thursday afternoon, 6 October 2016, respectively in place of David Carmichael and Hetal Kushwaha.
Closing out Friday afternoon, 7 October 2016, Stefan Hubacher (CH) and Donna A. Tobin will replace Jonathan Cohen and Marcus Luepke for the Session on Geographical Indications: Practical Strategies and Pitfalls for Businesses.
We also announce that Michael Alt will no longer participate in Session 3.3 and John Hackett will no longer participate in Session 6.2.
Thanks to Aydin Deris, FICPI’s ExCo sub-delegate from Turkey, we can provide an update on recent developments in Turkey following what appears to have been an unsuccessful attempt at a military coup.
“It appears that there may be a power struggle involving and affecting many governmental and non-governmental bodies and institutions. Its impact will be wide-ranging and long-lasting at the parliamentary, administrative and judiciary levels, particularly in view of the sheer number of persons involved and the very nature of the measures taken.
There were some encouraging signs during these recent events, such as the large number of people coming out in the streets and risking their lives in support of Turkey’s democratic institutions, and the refusal of large parts of the armed forces to support the coup attempt, distancing themselves from the putschists and staying in their barracks in allegiance to civil authority.
It is hoped that all of these events will evolve into a more consensual modus operandi at the political and decision-making level and lead to increased social cohesion.
The impact on IP Rights in Turkey
At the law-making level, the current state of uncertainty is likely to affect the enactment of the newly prepared draft Code of Intellectual Property, which is intended to repeal and replace the current Decree-Laws on Patents and Utility Models, on Trademarks, on Designs and on Geographical Indications with a single text. According to the governmental timetable prior to the coup attempt, the draft Code was due to be enacted by the end of June. We had been informed that due to additional work necessitated by the debates at the parliamentary committee level the parliamentary vote on the proposed new code had been postponed to September.
As the political priorities may have changed in view of the coup attempt, it would be hazardous to make any estimates for a timetable for the enactment of the new Code at this stage.
At the judiciary level, the numbers speak for themselves. It has been reported that about 3,000 judges and public prosecutors have been dismissed from their positions, and that several hundreds of them have been arrested on charges of association or collaboration with coup leaders. Our esteemed colleague Mr. Mehmet Gün has pointed out that these figures represent about a fifth of the entire body of the judiciary. There will clearly be an adverse effect on invalidation and enforcement actions, particularly in terms of length of proceedings. Whether or not this reduction in the size of the judiciary will affect the content and the quality of the decisions can only be determined over time; we will be able to see if the levels of fairness and efficiency, which we have come to expect in the past, can be maintained, as the judges and public prosecutors function under the pressure of an increased workload.
One further element to consider is the effect these events may have on the Appellate Courts which had been expected to be operational by now. The fact that all these changes are occurring within the same time period could have serious consequences on the state of the judiciary in Turkey.
At the administrative level, it is suggested that about 35 to 40 officials have been dismissed from their functions at the Turkish Patent Institute. That would be a reduction of about 8-9 per cent of the workforce, which has already been heavily impacted by workload pressures both in patents and in trademarks. At this stage the full extent of the effect of recent events on the corps of patent and trademark examiners is not known. On the basis of the numbers of which we are aware alone, delays in the prosecution at the Office level are to be expected.
In view of these uncertainties and all of the changes of which we are now aware, it is strongly suggested that you attempt to minimise and manage these uncertainties by closely monitoring the developments in Turkey and by allowing extra time in the prosecution and maintenance of IP applications and IP rights in Turkey, to avoid any potential loss of rights.”
ExCo Sub-Delegate, Turkey
FICPI and its members in Turkey will continue to monitor the situation and keep you updated in a timely manner.