The European Commission published the Counterfeit and Piracy Watch List which aims to reveal the most problematic marketplaces and service providers in terms of IPR and copyright infringement on 01.12.2022. The list also intends to raise consumer awareness concerning risks of purchasing IPR and copyright infringing products and highlight proliferation of infringing goods on online platforms due to Covid-19 pandemic. The report has once again underlined the key-role Türkiye plays in the fight against counterfeiting not only in the transportation but also the production of the counterfeited goods.
The report states that counterfeiting in the EU poses a serious threat regarding public health. Considering that Türkiye was revealed to be the main source of counterfeited clothing and medicine, one can easily detect Türkiye’s critical geopolitical position regarding EU’s public health concerns. To be exact, the report underlined the data from the report “EU enforcement of intellectual property rights: results at the EU border and in the EU internal market 2020” which indicated Türkiye, as the main country of provenance for medical products with 58.1% of the counterfeited articles.
Furthermore, the report is crucial given that it designates physical marketplaces located around the globe which are likely to cause harm for IP rightsholders from the EU, thus creating the core of the watch list. Anticipatedly, in Türkiye’s case, plural physical marketplaces were designated in Istanbul and İzmir.
In Istanbul, The Grand Bazaar, which is a famous tourist attraction found its way to the watch list again following the 2020 Watchlist. The report highlights the difficulty in obtaining search warrants continues and that there is little to no progress regarding number of raids operated. In addition, Ak Çarşı was designated in parallel with the 2020 report as another strategical physical market in Istanbul which presumably makes millions worth of counterfeit product sales per year. Unfavorably, no visible progress was detected for this target as well. Finally, Bedesten Çarşı in İzmir was reported by stakeholders as an important physical target for the high-volume sales of counterfeited shoes.
With regard to Türkiye’s ongoing and/or aggravated trends in counterfeiting and piracy, the European Commission’s annual country includes The Commission’s assessment and views in terms of fulfillment of Türkiye’s obligations of membership. IPR’s being an important criteria during membership process, the Commission gives their recommendations about the legislation and implementation of intellectual property laws in this report.
In Türkiye report 2022 published 12.10.2022, it is advised that enforcement measures to fight more efficiently against industrial and intellectual property rights should be improved including enforcement on online sales of counterfeit and pirated goods, amelioration of judicial procedures in obtaining search and seizure warrant and a better functioning of accelerated and simplified destruction proceedings.
In Türkiye Report 2021 and 2022, it is appreciated that the Türkiye has a good level of preparation in the area of legislative alignment and institutional building, and increased number of trainings for various target groups including the customs training for customs officers throughout Türkiye were held.
To conclude, it can be stated that even though the watch list has not drastically changed vis-à-vis the physical targets for Türkiye compared to the watch list in 2020, the Commission’s watch list report reveals critical data including the counterfeit goods imported from Türkiye and bad-reputed markets in terms of counterfeiting and piracy and, , these are believed to be connected to deficiencies in implementation and enforcement of IPR legislation in Türkiye such as difficulties in obtaining search and seizure decision or notice and take-down process. Keeping in mind that these are only the Commission’s view, due to Türkiye’s geographical connection with EU and candidate membership status, we believe that these reports are quite beneficial to see Türkiye’s position in counterfeiting market in the world and to better align our enforcement practice with our well-established IPR legislation.