New Plant Varieties

– Law No. 5042, on the Protection of Breeder’s Rights for New Plant Varieties, effective as of January 15, 2004.
– Regulation of August 12, 2004, concerning the application of Law No. 5042, amended on September 14, 2008.

Membership in International Conventions

– International Convention for the Protection of New Varieties of Plants (UPOV), 1991 Act since November 18, 2007.

Filing

Applicant: a breeder or his successor in title. 

Applicants not living in the country: must appoint a local representative. 

Naming of breeder(s): is compulsory. 

Scope of the protection: covers each variety of all plant genera and species that is new, distinct, uniform and stable. All the varieties and species listed in the code system of UPOV can be protected in Turkey. 

Novelty: a plant variety is deemed to be new if the propagating or harvested material of the variety has not been sold or otherwise disposed of to the public at the date of filing of an application by or with the consent of the breeder more than one year prior to the application in Turkey, or more than four years (six years for trees or vines) if an application is originally filed elsewhere.

Distinctiveness: a variety is distinct if, on a date of application or right of priority, it is clearly distinguishable from any other varieties of common knowledge that are existent. 

Uniformity: a variety is deemed to be uniform if, subject to the variation that may be expected from the features of its propagation, it is sufficiently uniform in its relevant characteristics. 

Stability: a variety is deemed to be stable if its relevant characteristics remain unchanged after repeated propagations or, in the case of a particular propagation, at the end of each cycle.

Examination, Protection

Examination of an application is carried out by an administrative agency of the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry pursuant to Law No. 5042, both as to form as well as for compliance that the conditions are met for the grant of a breeder’s right of a new plant variety.

Ownership: is vested in a breeder (or his successor in title) that developed a variety. In the case of an ownership by two or more breeders, the rights are jointly owned. Each right holder may (1) proportionate with his share, dispose of his ownership rights; (2) make use of the jointly owned plant variety subsequent to advising his partner(s) in writing; (3) take the necessary measures for the protection of the plant variety concerned; and (4) in case of an infringement, introduce a civil law court action against an infringer and notify his partner(s) of the action taken. In absence of an agreement to the contrary in writing between an employer and his employees or unless the situation derives from the nature of the breed or discovery involved, an employer is the owner of a new variety bred or discovered and developed by his employees. 

Rights of a breeder entitle the owner from preventing others in exercising certain acts, which include producing, conditioning for the purpose of propagation, offering for sale, selling or otherwise marketing, exporting and importing, and stocking the protected species. The referred rights will also apply in relation to varieties that are essentially derived from the protected variety, where the protected variety is not itself an essentially derived variety. 

Duration of protection: starts as of the date of grant of the right of protection and terminates by the calendar year-end of the twenty-fifth year. For trees, vines and potatoes, the duration of protection expires by the calendar year-end of the thirtieth year.

Opposition: may be filed within three months after publication of the application in the Bulletin of Plant Varieties. An opposition to be admissible may only be based on arguments against novelty, distinctiveness, uniformity and stability of a variety sought for protection.

Disputes about ownership: can be settled before a civil court. 

Annuities: are due and need to be remitted in the course of January of a year during the life-time of a breeder’s rights to maintain the rights in force throughout the protection term. Failure to pay an annuity during the month of January of a current year causes the exhaustion of a breeder’s right, by operation of law. A case of exhaustion due to non-payment of annuity is to be communicated by the Turkish Ministry of Agriculture and Forestry in the Bulletin to be next published. As of the date of a Bulletin in which a notice is published and in a term of six months to follow, a right owner may seek the reinstatement of a proprietary right that has been treated as exhausted; and may obtain the reinstatement of the breeder’s right by proving that the annuity may not have been timely paid due to a force majeure.

Compulsory licenses: may be available due to lack or insufficient exploitation of a protected variety on the grounds of public interest or for national defense or health purposes as of the end of the third year following the grant of a breeder’s right.