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Design Protection System in Turkiye

Design protection is an essential aspect of intellectual and industrial property law that allows businesses to protect their unique designs and gain a competitive advantage in the market. In today's fast-paced economy, where designs are constantly evolving and changing, it is crucial for businesses to have a clear understanding of the design protection laws and procedures in their respective countries.

Both registered and unregistered design rights provide legal protection for business and designers in Turkiye under the Industrial Property Law no. 6769 and help safeguard their intellectual property. This article covers the essential aspects of design protection system in Turkiye, such as the requirements, application process, rights granted by registered and unregistered design, and maintaining and enforcing design rights.


The term "design", particularly the ”industrial design” has multiple meanings and applications across various fields. While it can refer to the creation of a product or system in the context of engineering, in the realm of intellectual property, design encompasses a range of features that can be perceived by the human senses such as shape, colour, form, texture, flexibility, and ornamentation, rather than technical elements.

Therefore, designs in our subject title generally pertain to aesthetic creations in both two-dimensional and three-dimensional formats, including patterns and models. While it has traditionally been referred to as industrial design in many literatures, the use of the term "design" has currently become more common. This was reflected in recent changes to the Industrial Property Law no. 6769, which replaced the term "industrial design" with the more broadly applicable term "design”.

Legal Protection

Designs are protected as "registered designs" when they are registered with the Turkish Patent and Trademark Office (TURKPATENT) and as "unregistered designs" when they are first made public in Turkey. Unregistered designs have a protection period of 3 years, while registered designs have a protection period of 5 years, which can be extended up to 25 years with 5-year renewals.

While not mandatory, registering designs offers advantages such as extended protection and a broader scope against similar designs, compared to unregistered designs.

Turkiye is a party to the Hague System for the International Registration of Industrial Designs, allowing applicants to register designs in multiple countries through a single application at lower costs.

Eligibility Requirements for Design Protection

A design must first meet the definitions of "design" and "product" and fulfil the criteria of "novelty" and "distinctive character."

A design refers to the appearance of a product, or a part thereof or an ornamentation thereon, arising from features such as lines, contours, shape, form, colours, materials or surface textures. Product, on the other hand, includes any object that is industrially or manually produced, as well as composite products, their parts, and presentations that are perceived together, graphic symbols, typographic characters, and packaging, excluding computer programs. A composite product is a product that consists of parts that can be replaced or renewed by disassembly or assembly.

Novelty refers to a design not being made public anywhere in the world before the application or priority date for a "registered design" or the date when the design was first made available to the public for an "unregistered design."

Distinctive character refers to the difference between the overall impression a design leaves on an informed user and the general impression any design made public before the application or priority date for a "registered design" or the date when the design was first made available to the public for an "unregistered design" creates on the same user.

A design can encompass both two-dimensional and three-dimensional aspects, with examples including the overall appearance of a food processor, as well as fabric or carpet patterns, and can involve an entire product or specific parts thereof, such as a car's headlights or the handle of a refrigerator.

Distinctiveness is determined by several factors, including the overall impression a design leaves on an informed user, its visual features, and the level of freedom that the designer had in developing the design. The more unique and original a design is, the more distinctive it will be considered, and the more likely it is to be eligible for protection. Expressions such as "three different features" or "30% different" that are often circulated as prerequisites for design registration lack are entirely false and any legal basis.

Grace Period Exception to Novelty

Disclosure of a design by the designer, successor, or a third party with their permission, or due to the abuse of the relationship with the designer or successor within twelve months prior to the application date or the priority date, if claimed, does not affect the novelty and distinctiveness of the design.

This means that, for example, this design may still safely be filed before the TURKPATENT within 12 months even if the designer or applicant has used it in commerce or presented it on social media.

Exclusions from Protection

Designs may be excluded from protection if they:

  • Do not meet the definitions of design and product

  • Lack novelty and distinctive character

  • Violate public morality or public order.

  • Have visual characteristics dictated by the product's technical function.

  • Have visual characteristics of products that must be manufactured in a specific form and dimension for mechanical assembly or connection to another product.

  • Improper use of sovereign signs, emblems, medals or symbols of public interest with religious, historical, or cultural significance, as per Article 6bis of the Paris Convention.

Filing Requirements

Applicants must file a form with the TURKPATENT containing:

  • Applicant's details.

  • A visual representation of the design suitable for reproduction.

  • The product's name, on which the design will be used or applied.

  • Designer's identity (with a possible request to keep the identity confidential).

  • A brief declaration about how the right to claim registration was obtained from the designer/s.

  • A postponing request for publication, if applicable.

  • The representative attorney's details, if appointed.

Turkiye recognizes foreign priority for design applications under the Paris Convention or agreement establishing the WTO.

The application may also include a description of the visual representation or sample of the design and the product class (according to the Locarno Agreement). The product name, class, and information provided in the description do not affect the scope of protection.

Multiple designs can be filed in a single application. Excluding ornaments and pattern designs, the designs or the products they are applied to must belong to the same class as specified in the Locarno Classification list.

A maximum of 100 (one hundred) design applications can be submitted within the scope of a multiple application.

Visual Representation

The visual representation can include photographs, drawings, or computer-generated images. While a brief description can be provided to clarify the design's features, it is not mandatory since visual representation takes precedence over any description provided.

It is recommended to provide views from different angles to give a comprehensive understanding of the design where necessary. Although there is no strict limit on the number of views, it is advisable to include sufficient views to cover all aspects of the design, especially for complex designs with intricate details.

For partial design applications, the visual representation must clearly indicate the specific portion of the design being claimed. This can be done by shading, hatching, or using a solid line to outline the claimed area. Unclaimed parts should be displayed in a less prominent manner or using broken lines to avoid confusion.

Since visual representations are crucial for registered design protection and one of the most common reasons for office actions on formal requirements, which typically result in irrecoverable consequences, it is strongly recommended to consult with attorneys on this subject. A comprehensive examination guideline is available on the TURKPATENT website for this purpose, but it is in the Turkish language.

Application Process

Design applications are submitted to the TURKPATENT via the electronic application system (EPATS) in an online environment.

The Office initially conducts a formal examination to ensure that the design application fully complies with formal requirements, as well as to determine if the design falls under any of the categories that are excluded from protection as mentioned above.

As a key aspect of the Turkish Design System, the Office performs novelty examinations. When a design application is submitted, the Examiner conducts a novelty search over prior designs. Filing a request for examination is not required. If the examiner finds grounds for rejection, such as a lack of novelty or the design being easily created, they will issue an office action, which may include a full or partial refusal decision.

To address the office action, applicants can submit arguments and/or amendments within two months. If a partial refusal is issued, the remaining part of the design must satisfy the protection criteria and retain its design identity to continue with the registration process. If no inconvenience is present, registration is granted and published in the Official Bulletin for a period of three months.

Third parties can oppose a registered design application within the said publication period, based on the grounds including lack of legal conditions, exclusions from protection, unauthorized filing, bad faith, and infringement of other IPRs.

Maintaining Design Rights

Design rights can be renewed for four consecutive five-year periods, up to a total of 25 years, by paying renewal fees. The design right holder must pay for renewal within six months before the expiry date of each five years. If not, a renewal request can be made within six months after the expiry date, with an additional fee. If neither renewal nor additional fees are paid, the design right registration will lapse.

Unlike patents or utility models, there is no use requirement to maintain the validity of a design registration.

Rights Granted by Registered Design Rights

Registered design rights grant the owner an exclusive right to use the design. Third parties cannot produce, market, sell, import, use for commercial purposes, or stock the product featuring the design without the owner's consent.

Design infringement actions can be brought on various grounds, such as unauthorized production or commercialization, transfer to third parties, or expanding rights acquired by a license, and disseizing the design right.

Specialized IP courts in Istanbul, Ankara, and Izmir handle design infringement actions. In other cities, the civil courts of first instance deals with IP infringement actions.

Remedies in registered design infringement actions include:

  • Preliminary injunctions.

  • Prevention and prohibition of infringing acts.

  • Compensation for material and moral damage (if the infringer is at fault and there is damage).

  • Confiscation of infringing products and/or equipment (with the option for the design right owner to request ownership).

  • Removal and destruction of infringing products and/or equipment (if essential to stop the infringing acts).

  • Publication of the court's decision.

Criminal remedies are not available for design infringement.

Design Search & Monitoring Infringement

Design searches play an important role in identifying similar or identical designs that may affect the registration and enforcement processes. However, the current state of image search technology is limited, making it challenging to perform comprehensive searches based on visuals alone.

Instead, the TURKPATENT design databases allow users to search using text-based queries such as applicant names, product names, classes, and so more. While this method is helpful, it may not cover all possible visual similarities. Therefore, it's essential to be cautious and conduct manual inspection for each design where required.


Understanding registered design rights in Turkiye is crucial for designers and businesses to protect their intellectual property effectively. By following the registration process and maintaining design rights, owners can ensure the exclusivity and longevity of their designs. Unregistered designs also offer a degree of protection, albeit for a shorter term and with some limitations.

Hasan Demirkiran
Turkish, Patent & Trademark Attorney European Patent Attorney, Mechaical Engineer

The information in this update is intended to be general information about Turkish IP Practice only and not comprehensive. It is not to be relied on as legal advice nor as an alternative to taking professional advice. All rights reserved. 
KORDINAT - Registered Patent & Trademark Attorneys -


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