Trade mark law, case II GSK 115/06

October 29th, 2006, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 20 September 2006 case file II GSK 115/06 held that the surname or family name could serve as a trade mark that distinguishes the goods or services of a particular undertaking from goods or services of the same kind that originate from other entrepreneurs. However, in the present case, the owner of the trade mark KOZŁOWSKI R-115647, before he applied for registration of this sign, had the knowledge that for many years before registration of his trade mark, the Kozłowskis family have used their surname to designate products such as brushes and brooms. Pursuant to Article 7(1) of the TMA, as a trade mark may be registered only such a sign, that possess sufficient distinctiveness in normal economic activity. Therefore, the Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 7 December 2005 case file VI SA/Wa 905/05 properly found that, in the case described above, the purchaser of the goods would have considerable difficulty in identifying the source of origin of goods and reasonably assumed that the trade mark subject of this preceedings does not have a concrete distinctive character.