Database protection, case II CK 174/02

August 17th, 2005, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 7 January 2004 case file II CK 174/02 held that the acquisition of an electronic database and selling it to customers under a different name is deemed as an act of unfair competition, as defined in Articles 3 and 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 3
1. The act of unfair competition shall be the activity contrary to the law or good practices which threatens or infringes the interest of another entrepreneur or customer.
2. The acts of unfair competition shall be in particular: misleading designation of the company, false or deceitful indication of the geographical origin of products or services, misleading indication of products or services, infringement of the business secrecy, inducing to dissolve or to not execute the agreement, imitating products, slandering or dishonest praise, impeding access to the market and unfair or prohibited advertising and organising a system of pyramid selling.

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.

In 2001, the Republic of Poland has introduced to its legal system the Act of 27 July 2001 on Protection of Databases – APD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie baz danych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 128, item 1402 with subsequent amendments.