Cablegate: Special 301: Update On Copyright/Trademark

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.





E.O. 12958: N/A
SUBJECT: SPECIAL 301: Update on Copyright/Trademark

REF: Ankara 971

1. (U) Summary: A judge in Turkey's specialized
intellectual property courts outlined difficulties in
rendering effective IP enforcement as well as recent and
forthcoming changes in Turkey's IP regime. Turkey's
Trademark Association reported a rise in anti-
counterfeit court cases. The GOT provided seizure
statistics and a roundup of recent legislation in a
recently-issued investment climate report. End Summary.

Current Issues in the IP Court System

2. (SBU) In a meeting with Econoff and Econ Specialist
on March 4, Turkay Alica told us that IP enforcement is
hampered by the fact that most cases involve petty
street merchants rather than key figures in pirate
networks. Alica, who became the first judge in recent
memory to hand down a sentence of imprisonment in an IPR
case, maintained that criminal penalties have a greater
deterrent effect than civil penalties in the Turkish
context because of the difficulty or impossibility of
recovering damages from street sellers. The court
system is further taxed by repeat trials for some
convicted pirates, required because 2004 legislation
reduced penalties for some IP crimes. These retrials
add at least six months to a case, and as much as an
additional two years if the case is appealed to the
Supreme Court. Alica told us the Ankara IPR Court had
made 260 rulings and finalized 60 percent of its pending
cases as of December 2004.

3. (SBU) Alica noted the impact of new and prospective
legislation and regulations. He noted that the GOT
plans to introduce new trademark legislation to replace
the current decree with the force of law. The draft
trademark law defines the infringement crimes in detail
and governs whether cases will be subject to criminal or
civil provisions. A new copyright bill focuses on
banderole control and enforcement. The judge also
explained that that the new Criminal Code entering into
force April 1 will create alternatives in dispute
resolution. According to the new code and with the
consent of the parties, public prosecutors will in some
cases be authorized to appoint a mediator rather than
sending the case through the judicial process. Alica
also said that the recent Ministry of Justice decree on
investigating convicted pirates for tax evasion should
increase both deterrents to piracy and public awareness
of the problem (reftel).

Trademark Owners on Increased Court Cases

4. (SBU) Representatives of the Trademark Association
(TMD) recently told the press that they expected the
Justice Ministry decree and the new Criminal Code to
have a deterrent effect on counterfeiters. The press
reports an upswing in court cases against counterfeiters
following issuance of the decree, including cases
launched by Pfizer and Hewlett Packard. TMD President
Selcuk Guzenge claimed that the counterfeit market in
Turkey was as high as much as USD 4 billion and
generated exports of USD 200 million. These figures are
compiled from member company estimates, and exclude
counterfeit pharmaceuticals. Guzenge told us that he
believes that the GOT is focusing more on copyright
piracy than on trademark counterfeiting, and said his
organization will launch a "No to Counterfeit" campaign
in the near future.

Investment Climate Report Includes IP Review

5. (U) Following up on recommendations generated at the
2004 Investor Advisory Council (IAC) meeting, which
brought the Prime Minister together with CEOs of major
multinationals, the GOT issued a Progress Report (see f), which
includes a section on efforts to strengthen intellectual
property protection. In particular, the GOT reports
seizure data for the period since March 2004 as follows:

-- Compact disks (1,048,832),
-- VCDs (365,231),
-- DVDs (24,065),
-- Books (35,008) and
-- Tape cassettes (23,801).

6. (U) The IAC report also notes the following
legislation adopted in 2004:

-- Law 5101 amending various laws (related to copyright,
including the ban on street sales);
-- Law 5147 on Protecting Integrated Circuitry
-- Law 5118 on Ratification of Trademark Law Treaty
-- Law 5117 on Ratification of the Geneva (1999) Act of
the Hague Agreement Concerning the International
Registration of Industrial Designs. Edelman

© Scoop Media

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