In January 2009 amendments were made to Decree Law no 556 in Turkey (on the protection of trade marks).
In particular, Article 61A was introduced, under which, inter alia, those offering to sell or selling goods using or creating confusion with the trade mark of another (i.e. counterfeits) would commit an offence and be subject to imprisonment and a fine……..but could avoid conviction if they revealed who supplied them with the counterfeit goods and led to the identification of the manufacturer of the goods and their seizure.
The precise meaning of this was unclear. Was it enough, for example, for an accused to produce invoices, ostensibly showing who had supplied them? Or was it necessary for such information to lead to the manufacturer themselves and/or the seizure of counterfeits? These were very important questions. In many instances it has been all too easy for raided traders to come to court for their first hearing, several months after the event, and produce invoices of highly dubious authenticity and then be let off by a court willing to accept they have done all they reasonably could to assist the police.
Now in a recent decision the law and practice have been clarified by the 19th Criminal Chamber of the Court of Appeal. This was an appeal by Ford against the acquittal of a defendant in November 2011 in the sort of circumstances outlined above. The Court of Appeal has ruled that Art 61A only operates to acquit the accused if he reveals the source, and the manufacturer, and causes the seizure of such goods at the same time. It will no longer be good enough to just come to court months later with invoices. Instead full cooperation at the time of the raid, or very shortly thereafter, would now appear to be the best and possibly the only way for the accused to benefit from the get-out clause in Art 61A.