Your practice encompasses all IP fields, as well as other areas of law. How do you keep up with developments when you must be so busy?
Once a week and regardless of how busy we are, we hold a meeting with our partners and senior and junior associates to discuss the developments in our practice areas, including court decisions, notes from remarkable articles and publications and amendments to the relevant regulations that have been published that week. Every week one of the partners or I assigns an associate to prepare a brief information note on the recent developments and answer any questions from other team members. We then discuss its effect, if any, on our practice and determine how we should respond.
What parts of your work do you find the most rewarding and why?
Together with our partners and associates, we combine a dedicated team and put our utmost efforts into every single case that we handle. Among many others, one of the most rewarding parts of our work is when we receive positive feedback from clients. For instance, in 2019 our firm won the Best Trademark Counsel award by Novartis group’s trademark department for the second time. Being rewarded and appreciated for our hard work by clients is the most joyful element of our work.
What skills should top-class IP lawyers possess?
Integrity is an essential skill for a top-class IP lawyer because we act on behalf of clients that rely heavily on our work. In addition, skills such as dedication, determination, reliance and honesty are vital. I am proud of my team because every member possesses these characteristics.
Further, top IP lawyers must be able to think outside of the box, have a broad understanding of the relevant legislation and be able to apply it and put themselves in a client’s position and understand its commercial needs. Finally, IP lawyers should be knowledgeable on regulatory mediums as this often helps clients to reach their goals faster and at a cheaper price.
Healthcare is a particular area of interest for you. What are the key IP issues for life sciences companies in Turkey at present?
The Industrial Property Code (6769) came into effect on 10 January 2017 and introduced a number of challenging issues into Turkish patent law – particularly for life sciences companies – that are still under discussion. The IP issues that life sciences companies currently face include:
- the post-grant opposition system;
- the unclear limits of the Bolar exemption;
- the impact of opposition procedures before the EPO on the enforcement and validity of Turkish validation of European patents; and
- the broad wording of the compulsory licensing provisions.
Further, the Turkish Personal Data Protection Law (6698) was published in the Official Gazette in 2016, and the Board of Protection of Personal Data recently started to operate effectively. Thus, pharmaceutical companies are working to comply with the law’s obligations in light of the board’s decisions.
How do you see the Turkish IP landscape developing over the coming years?
Despite the fact that the Industrial Property Code entered into force in early 2017, its implementation and enforcement – particularly by the IP courts – has been slow due to lengthy court proceedings. The Supreme Court of Appeals has issued few decisions on the Industrial Property Code so far. However, I believe that the common legal understanding of the Industrial Property Code will improve in the coming years as it is studied in depth by academics and interpreted by the IP courts in various cases. In general, knowledge and awareness of and interest in IP law have been developing rapidly in recent years, and I believe that Turkey will soon be in a much better position to fully align its legislation and practices with EU norms.
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