The concept of service inventions in Turkey, or as it is more commonly known in practice, the concept of employee inventions in Turkey, is mentioned in the Code of Obligations numbered 6098 within the labour legislation, and Article 427 of the Code, which is titled “E. Industrial and intellectual property rights”, stipulates that the provisions of special laws shall apply to the rights of the employee and the employer on service inventions, their acquisition and other industrial and intellectual property rights.
The special law referred to in the article is the Industrial Property Law No. 6769. Articles 113 to 122 of the aforementioned law contain regulations on the right in question. Additionally, the “Regulation on Employee Inventions in Turkey, Inventions Made in Higher Education Institutions and Inventions Arising in Public Supported Projects” entered into force after being published in the Official Gazette dated 29.09.2017 and numbered 30195.
According to the third article, the purpose of the regulation issued based on Articles 113 to 122 of the Industrial Property Law No. 6769 is determined in Article 1 as determining the procedures and principles regarding the price tariff related to the inventions of employees and the arbitration procedure to be followed in case of dispute, inventions made in higher education institutions and inventions arising in projects supported by public institutions and organisations, and according to this purpose, the scope is determined as follows in Article 2:
– Private and public sector employees, employees working in public institutions without prejudice to special regulations, and employees working in state economic enterprises and their subsidiaries and affiliates, and the determination of the price to be paid by employers to employees who have service inventions and the arbitration procedure to be applied in case of dispute,
– Issues regarding the notification obligation, right ownership, application, objection procedures and sharing of the income obtained from the invention regarding the inventions made in higher education institutions,
– Issues related to inventions arising in projects supported by public institutions and organisations.
In particular, it should be noted that the Law and the Regulation have expanded the scope of the concept of service invention (labour invention) according to the Code of Obligations by naming the inventor as “employee”. According to Article 2 of the Law and Article 4 of the Regulation, an employee is a person who is in the service of another person according to a private law contract or similar legal relationship and who is obliged to fulfil this service relationship with the employer in personal dependence in relation to a certain work performed by the employer and public officials. The part of the sentence up to the part on public officials essentially corresponds to the definition of labour. However, the Regulation includes public servants in the definition since it will cover public personnel due to its subject matter and uses the term “employee” to define the target group.
Additionally, according to Article 113 of the Law, the provisions regarding employees shall also apply to students and interns who serve without pay for a certain period of time.