Turkey | Constitutional Court strikes down Article 14 of Trademark Decree-Law on non-use: consequences
11 January 2017
Client Alert | Turkey | Intellectual Property
In a decision numbered 2016/189 K. published in the Official Gazette dated 6 January 2017, the Constitutional Court cancelled Article 14 of the Decree-Law No. 556 on the Protection of Trademarks.
According to Article 14, if, within a period of five years following the registration, the trademark has not been put to use without a justifiable/legitimate reason or if the use has been suspended for an uninterrupted period of five years, the trademark shall be cancelled on grounds of non-use.
Within the decision, the Constitutional Court has stated that trademark rights are property rights, and according to Article 91/1 of the Turkish Constitution, the Council of Ministers is entitled to issue decrees having the force of law. However, such Decree-Laws cannot regulate fundamental rights such as property rights, among others, except during martial law and states of emergency. Therefore, since the Decree-Law No. 556 limits trademark rights, which are considered as individual property rights, Article 14, which was challenged before the Constitutional Court, was considered to be contrary to Article 91/1 of the Turkish Constitution.
The Constitutional Court therefore cancelled Article 14 of the Decree-Law based on Article 91 of Turkish Constitution, and did not conduct further examination on the subject matter.
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