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International Designs

Like many other intellectual property rights, designs are valid only in the countries where they are registered. If a product subject to design is to be used abroad, it is required to file a design application and obtain protection in those foreign countries too. In particular, if an export company makes or strategically plans to make exports to a foreign country, such company must file a design application in that foreign country within 6 months at latest. The 6-month limitation imposed on foreign applications is a requirement of the international Paris Convention, which Turkey is a signatory of. Once the mentioned period of 6 months is expired, the design will not be considered as new anymore, as result of which the design will be refused as it will fail to meet the first criterion of patentability, namely the criterion of “novelty”.

A right holder intending to get his design, for which an application is made in Turkey, also protected abroad may follow three different paths:

  1. a) Classic Country-Based Patent Application: This type of application is always valid, unless 6 months have passed after its first application date. Design practices are generally similar to one another all around the world. But there might be also certain differences. Therefore, if a design in Turkey is normally eligible for registration in a given country, the application file must be prepared according to the legislation of that country. Applications are made via the patent representative of the relevant country, as is the case for patents and trademarks. Classic country-based patent applications are generally the more expensive and laborious the higher the number of countries. This type of application can be preferred if there is little chance to get registration via national or collective application systems, or if a foreign country is not party to the related agreements.
  2. b) International Application under the Hague Convention: Turkey is member to the Geneva Act of the Hague Convention (1999) ever since 2005. Design protection can be obtained in the member countries of this convention be single application. In other words, a design owner in Turkey may get his design registered in the 47 countries that are member to the Hague Convention, including Turkey (99 Geneva Act). According to this convention, applications are filed at WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization) and all procedures are then performed by WIPO. Thus, standardization of procedures and significant cost savings are obtained.
  3. c) Regional Design Application: Design protection can be achieved with a single design application in countries that are part of a certain region such as the European Union countries or some African countries. The primary advantage of this system is that a single application will provide common protection in the countries of the region involved. What is of highest interest for Turkey in this respect is the European Union Community Design, which comprises 27 European countries. Besides, OAPI design protection is available in some African countries.

The most important issue to be taken into account in international design applications is to have very good knowledge about the relevant national and international practices. According to international conventions, the representatives of a country are not allowed to conduct transactions in another country. Thus, if a transaction is to be conducted in another country, contact must be established with the representative of that country. In this case, the second important issue is to know well the representative of the relevant country. Under normal circumstances, a representative can be found on the internet and assigned with the required tasks. However, all intellectual property rights are of high importance and inevitable harms can result if such an important task is assigned to somebody by relying just on information available on a website.

Kordinat performs its foreign design protection activities via experienced patent representatives that are knowledgeable on the subject. The foreign representatives, with whom Kordinat has been collaborating abroad for many years, are reliable representatives who work at optimum prices.