Selda Arkan, Senior Managing Partner, Alfa Patent Stan Advoka Ltd, Istanbul, Türkiye

Selda in Zurich

If you have ever met Selda at a FICPI event, wherever you are from in the global community, she may well have chatted to you in your native language.

That’s because she is fluent in Turkish, English, French, German and Spanish, and has a good level of expertise in Italian, Dutch and Portuguese. She also has a smattering of Japanese.

The proficiency with languages is partly the result of being born in Istanbul to a diplomat father and growing up in Spain, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Mexico, Germany, as well as her native Türkiye.

Professional Background & Expertise

Selda’s impressive language skills are matched by her expertise and experience in IP law gained over a 40-year career.

She entered the IP world in 1985, joining a firm in Brussels, Belgium.  Her next career move was back to her native Türkiye to join an IP firm in 1992 and qualify as a Turkish chartered patent and trademark agent.

The achievement of becoming Türkiye’s first ever qualified European Patent Attorney came in 1997 – three years before Türkiye ratified the European Patent Convention (EPC).

Upon the accession of Türkiye to the EPC, Selda served on many committees and as a council member from 2000-2023, a board member from 2000-2017 and vice president 2008-2011.

Following the achievement of becoming Türkiye’s first qualified European Patent Attorney, Selda founded her own firm, Alfa Patent, which she grew for 20 years before merging with Stan Advoka in 2018 to form Alfa Patent Stan Advoka Ltd, where she is currently the senior managing partner.


Education & Training

  • 4-year curriculum B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1981 from Middle East Technical University, Ankara
  • Post graduate studies on polymers at the Brussels Free University 1982-1984 
  • Followed by CEIPI basic courses attended in Brussels and Strasbourg.


Professional Satisfaction as an Independent IP Attorney

Even after 40 years as an IP attorney, Selda says she is still curious and eager to learn about new ideas and inventions, especially those that involve new technology.


“Moreover, I also do very much enjoy working on technical notes for litigations which makes me feel as if I was playing chess with the adverse party, calculating their next possible moves and, preparing documents to have a response to all future arguments.”


This is reflected in the value that her firm offers clients.


“We believe that the biggest value we bring to our clients is that they are confident and sure that their IP matters are in good hands and that all our efforts will be put into protecting their inventions.”


One approach the firm takes to make sure that clients are reassured that every step of the process is smoothly prosecuted and correctly documented is to always have one main attorney responsible for each file and at least one co-responsible, who are in constant communication with the client.


Recent Client Challenge

Selda’s love of successfully managing litigation was reflected in a recent case which her firm won for a client.


“I did particularly enjoy that one of the infringement proceedings we won lead to a jurisprudence in the Turkish court that ‘when restoration to former condition of a part that has been totally worn out is at issue, then the activity is not repair but reconstruction’.”


Changes to the IP Profession

Selda reflects on the changes to the life of an independent IP attorney since she entered the profession in the 1980s when everything was on paper, all meetings were held in person and the fastest means of communication was the telex.


“Now we can pay the fees and file the applications electronically, hold most of our meetings through Vi-Co, and everyone including the clients and the examiners is expecting a much faster reaction. 


“It is likely that it will go through an important change again with the use of the Artificial Intelligence but I believe that the clients will always need an experienced IP attorney to solve their problems, therefore I am confident that our profession will continue to grow.”


Value of FICPI membership

Selda was a founder of FICPI Türkiye in 2017 and joined International in 2000.

Since then, she has held various committee and board positions for the Türkiye section and is currently a member of the International ExCo.

After more than 20 years, she is very clear on the value of FICPI membership.


“Being a member of FICPI is a privilege giving a feeling of acceptance, confidence, and trust to other members in all aspects, be it the handling of the files or the payment of the invoices. 


“For example, to file for a client in a new country if I do not know anybody there, the first thing I do is to look who are the FICPI members in that country. 


“Moreover, through attending FICPI meetings, I can still learn many new things and feel in which direction our profession will go because FICPI has a high influence on the development of the IP field through the resolutions.”


Final word – outside of work

Outside of the complexities of life as an independent IP attorney, work, Selda looks to relax with the simple pleasures of life.


“We have a weekend house on the second biggest island near Istanbul and my free time is spent mostly there walking and playing with our dog, swimming, cooking, as well as gardening flowers and fruit trees in our garden.”