Edition 68: 2 August 2018
Editorial Team:
Orçun Çetinkaya, LL.M., Ezgi Baklacı, LL.M., and Pelin Oğuzer, LL.M.
Turkey Announces Professional Standards for Ethics and Compliance Management

Turkey has announced National Profession Standards of Ethics and Compliance Management Level 6 (“Standards“). The Standards address the role and responsibilities for an Ethics and Compliance Manager (“Manager”). They address requirements, the working environment and conditions, tools and equipment to be used, as well as codes of conduct which must be followed. They also cover measurement, evaluation and documentation systems.

Accordingly, a Manager is responsible for:

– Establishing and implementing ethics and compliance programs, as well as related policies and procedures.

– Identifying roles and responsibilities within the organization.

– Establishing communication mechanisms within the framework of legislation, service procedures, quality requirements, risk management priorities and ethical principles which the organization is subject to.

– Conducting briefings, trainings and awareness studies regarding implementation of the ethics and compliance program.

– Monitoring, reporting and updating the program and keeps track of violations and notifications.

The Standards were prepared by the Association of Ethics and Reputation, upon delegation by the Vocational Qualifications Authority and published in Official Gazette number 30446 on 9 June 2018. Please see this link for full text of the Standards (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Introduces Additional Duties for Certain US-Origin Goods

Turkey has introduced additional duties on certain US-origin imported goods, in response to new duties on steel and aluminium introduced by the US. The duties range from 4% to 70% for imported food, alcohol, coal, cosmetic products, PVC, motor vehicles and chemicals from the US.

Please see this link for the full text of Decision number 2018/11973, published in Official Gazette number 30459 on 25 June 2018 (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey’s Central Bank Raises Interest Rates

Turkey’s Central Bank has increased interest rates applied to rediscount transactions for promissory notes, as well as advance transactions.

According to the changes:

– The discount interest rate applied to rediscount transactions for promissory notes with a maximum three-month term increases from 8.75% to 18.50%

– The interest rate applied to advance transactions increases from 9.75% to 19.50%

The full text of the Communiqué published in Official Gazette number 30463 on 29 June 2018 can be found here (only available in Turkish).

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Turkey Announces 2018 to 2020 Strategic Plan for Designs

The Turkish Design Advisory Council (“Council”) has announced the Design Strategy and Action Plan for 2018 to 2020 (“Plan”). The Plan aims to establish a global profile for Turkish designs and addresses recent trends in the sector. It aims to improve the local design sector’s quantity and quality, meet development needs, increase the effectiveness of government supports, support the public’s use of design, transform design education, as well as increase the Council’s effectiveness.

In this context, the Plan outlines objectives, as well as specific actions to support each objective.

Objective 1: Improve the public and private sector’s capacity for design management, production, and use, via the following actions:

– Establish a Design Valley where businesses can access information, data, research and consulting services related to designs.

– Increase the Council’s effectiveness.·       Organise educational and informative activities on effective management of design processes.

– Provide training programs for design, development and management processes, taught by professional designers at R&D and Design Centers. 

Objective 2: Increase the effectiveness of governmental design support and entrepreneurship related to designs, via the following actions:

– Analyse existing government support for designs and develop recommendations for improvement.

– Include industrial design as an evaluation criterion for R&D, product development and commercialization support.

– Include design academics or professionals in R&D selection and evaluation boards, as well as product development projects which require design.

 Objective 3: Increase HR capacity and quality related to design, via the following actions: ·       Increase the design-related professional competence of “Technology and Design” teachers.

– Ensure name consistency between undergraduate and postgraduate education programs.

– Take measures to increase the quality of design education at the undergraduate and graduate level.

 Objective 4: Increase the existence and awareness of Turkish design at a national and international level, via the following actions:

– Determine and implement a communication strategy for international promotion of Turkish design.

– Organise a Turkish World Design Forum.

– Prepare written and visual materials to increase design awareness.

– Introduce Turkish designers at a national and international level.

– Organise joint activities with international design institutions and councils.

– Arrange design awareness-raising activities in science centers.

– Establish a design museum.

Objective 5: Support and guide decision-making processes by developing information and data capacity for designs, via the following activities:

– Determine data sets for design and create a design inventory database.

– Record the elements of Turkish design culture and local knowledge.

– Conduct a sectoral analysis of the design activities in Turkey.

The actions noted above have been assigned to various government and private institutions, including:

– The relevant ministries.

– The Turkish Patent and Trademark Office.

– The Undersecretariat of Treasury.

– The Council’s member institutions.

The Council’s committees are responsible for following up and monitoring these activities.

The Plan was published in Official Gazette number 30462 on 28 June 2016. Please see this link for the full text of the Plan (only available in Turkish).

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European Court of Justice: Louboutin's Trademark for Red Shoe Soles is Valid

The Court of Justice of the European Union has declared the iconic red sole of Christian Louboutin’s shoes to be a trademark. The court considered the trademark’s validity and declared that it does not aim to protect the shoe’s shape (as the defendant claimed) but rather it sought to protect the application of red on the shoe’s sole. Therefore, the court held that the colour red applied to the sole of a shoe can be protected as a positional mark within the European Union.

Christian Louboutin filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against a Dutch company. The company argued that the red sole of a shoe was not capable of trademark protection on the basis that the trademark solely constitutes the product’s shape. It claimed that Christian Louboutin’s trademark was invalid, relying on Article 3 of Directive 2008/95. This provision states (amongst other things) that marks which consist exclusively of the shape which gives substantial value to the goods will be declared invalid.

A Dutch court referred the question to the Court of Justice, to consider whether the notion of shape includes non-three-dimensional properties of goods, such as their colour.

The Court of Justice took the usual meaning of the word “shape” to be “a set of lines or contours that outline the product concerned”. Therefore, it concluded that a colour per se, without an outline, clearly does not constitute a shape.

The Court of Justice stated that even though the trademark noted a shape (an outline of the shoe’s sole), this factor is not relevant to the case at hand because:

– The trademark’s wording did not seek to protect the shape. Rather, the wording seeks only to protect the application of a colour to a specific part of the product.

– The shape’s outline is intended only to show the positioning of the red colour which is covered by the trademark registration.

Please see this link for the full text of the Court of Justice’s decision.

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