In connection with the COVID-19 pandemic, Turkish Parliament has approved the Law No. 2/2633 adapting the measures to suspend time limits for various administrative and legal proceedings including the ones concerning IP rights and it came into force upon its publication on today’s (26 March 2020) Turkish Official Gazette.
The Turkish PTO and the legal authorities will fully remain at the disposal and the below measures in the Law are aimed to extend deadlines just in case;
- Time limits for administrative proceedings ,including the ones before the Turkish PTO, expiring between 13 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 have been suspended by 1 May 2020. This suspension includes all procedural deadlines from payment of any official fees for obtaining or maintaining any IP rights to filing responses to office actions and from submission of oppositions and appeals to submission of evidences to prove use of opponent’s marks and claiming priority.
- Time limits for civil legal proceedings expiring between 13 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 have been suspended by 1 May 2020. This suspension includes all deadlines irrespective of whether they have been set by the Courts or are statutory in nature from filing civil court actions with infringement, nullification and unfair competition claims to filing court actions for cancellation of the Turkish PTO decisions, from responding court actions and preliminary injunction requests to submission of evidences, from submission objections/statements on expert reports to filing appeals to the decisions of First Instance Courts, Regional Courts of Justice or Court of Appeals or responding appeals, from payment of ordered legal fees to starting or maintaining mediation proceedings. On the other hand, time limits for proceedings required to conduct preliminary injunction orders are kept out of this suspension measure and will keep running as usual.
- Time limits for filing criminal complaints and for conducting search and seizure orders due to infringement and unfair competition actions which are subject to jail and fine will keep running, but all other time limits for subsequent proceedings in criminal legal actions expiring between 13 March 2020 and 30 April 2020 have been suspended by 1 May 2020 regardless of whether they have been set by the Courts or are statutory in nature.
- Hearings of civil and criminal court actions falling into this suspension term can be postponed by the Courts to any date later than 30 April 2020 in practice May 4th, since May 1st is a public holiday, followed by a weekend).
The suspended time limits for administrative and legal procedures will start running again after 30 April 2020. And there will be another 15 days extension for the deadlines which would have ended in or less than 15 days to 13 March In case of continuation of the pandemic, this suspension term may be extended for once up to six months by the President without prejudice to change of its scope and terms.