Unfair competition, case I ACa 147/99

August 10th, 2005, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Appellate Court in Lublin in its judgment of 27 May 1999 case file I ACa 147/99 ruled that the term “competitive activity” shall mean all actions taken in connection with participation in the market gambling, consisting in achieving maximum benefit from the sale of goods. The court also clarified the provisions of Article 13 of the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition – CUC – (in Polish: ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 47, item 211, with subsequent amendments.

Article 13.
1. Imitating a finished product by way of technical means of reproduction, to copy an external image of such product where it may mislead customers as to the identity of the producer or product, shall be the act of unfair competition.
2. Imitating functional features of a product, in particular its make, structure and form ensuring its usefulness shall not be deemed the act of unfair competition. Where the imitation of functional features of a finished product requires including its characteristic form, which may mislead customers as to the producer or product identity, the imitator is under obligation to adequately mark the product.

The Court held that according to article 13 of the CUC, it is the important, that the copied outer form of the product creates the likelihood of customer confusion as to the identity of the manufacturer or a product. This situation appears only when the product becomes a commodity, that goes on the market and it’s exposed for sale to buyers.