UNFAIR COMPETITION AND LAWSUITS THAT MAY BE FILED

Turkish Commercial Code  (“Code”) has introduced some regulations regarding unfair competition with the aim of to protect the interests of all participants and to provide an undistorted and honest competition environment. The Code defines that the misleading acts and commercial practices to affect the relations between competitors or between suppliers and customers or contrary to good faith are unfair and illegal. In this article, we would like to mention about unfair competition conditions and lawsuits that may be filed.

The Cases Of Unfair Competition

In order to be able to talk about unfair competition, there must be deceptive or dishonest acts. The Code stipulates the major actions and behaviours which deem as unfair competition. However, they are listed as examples for unfair competition situations and they are not limited. The following are listed as major unfair competition behaviours in the Code:

  • Advertisements and sales methods contrary to the rule of honesty and other illegal acts,
  • To lead to breach or termination of the agreement,
  • Unauthorized use of other people’s work products,
  • Disclosure of production and business secrets unlawfully,
  • Not complying with business conditions,
  • To use transaction terms contrary to the rule of good faith

In addition to these cases, the acts of infringement of the trademark right may also create an unfair competition and the lawsuits may be filed in the context of the Code.

The Lawsuits That May Be Filed In Case Of Unfair Competition

According to the Code, the person whose customer portfolio, credit, professional reputation, commercial activities or any other economic activities have been damaged may file the following cases:

1.Determination of unfair competition (declaratory action): The persons who have been damaged because of unfair competition may claim for determination of unfair competition actions.

2.Prevention of unfair competition: If there are still ongoing unfair competition actions, the plaintiff may claim for suspension of those actions.

3.Abolition of unfair competition: The plaintiffseeks elimination of the unlawful consequences of the act of unfair competition. The destruction of vehicles and products that constitute unfair competition may also be requested.

4.Pecuniary and non-pecuniary compensation: In the cases for compensation for the damages suffered due to unfair competition, the fault of the perpetrator and the harm suffered must be proved. The judge determines the amount of compensation by taking into account the amount of damage suffered, the special circumstances of the concrete case and the degree of fault of the perpetrator.

5.Criminal case: The Code regulates a prison sentence in the cases determined in the Article 62 of the Code, up to two years or a judicial fine upon complaint of the persons who are entitled to bring a civil action.

Who Can File The Lawsuits?

In addition to above mentioned persons, the Code allows the customers whose economic benefits are harmed or placed in danger by the unfair competition acts to file lawsuits as well. Furthermore, the chambers, the professional associations and the non-governmental organizations with the aim to provide protection of consumers’ economic benefits have a right to claim for the first three legal actions.

In Which Court Should Unfair Competition Lawsuits Be Filed?

These lawsuits regarding unfair competition should be filed before the Commercial Courts of First Instance within one year from the learning of the act and in any case within three years from the realization of the act. However, if unfair competition is an act that requires criminal punishment, the longer statute of limitations provided for in the criminal code will also be considered valid for civil cases.

The trial of the crime of unfair competition is carried out by the Criminal Courts of First Instance. The person who learns that the crime has been committed and the perpetrator, should use the right to complain within six months from the date of learning.

To Whom the Lawsuits May be Filed?

Unfair competition cases should be filed against the perpetrator who committed the act of unfair competition. If the act of unfair competition is committed by the employees or workers during their services, the lawsuit can also be filed against the employer.

If the unfair competition actions committed by press, publication, communication, and IT enterprises, lawsuits may be brought against the persons listed in Article 58 of the Code and within the framework of the conditions listed in the same article.

Interim Injunction

The plaintiff can also request an interim injunction before the unfair competition lawsuit is filed or together with the lawsuits. If it is requested and the unfair actions violate the plaintiff’s rights, the judge may also decide confiscation of the goods subject to unfair competition by the customs authorities during import or export.

Conclusion

Unfair competition in free market conditions is an issue that the concerned people should be extremely careful about. Persons who have suffered losses due to unfair competition have the opportunity to take legal action in the context of law. In order to protect the legal rights and interests specialist lawyers should be consulted on this issue.

Att. Dilara KARTALOĞLU KILIÇ

TARLAN-BAKSI LAW FIRM


ATT. AYLİN TARLAN- ATT. DERYA BAKSI

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