Trade mark law, case II CSK 428/06

June 18th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court Civil Chamber in its judgment of 7 March 2008, case file II CSK 428/06 ruled that the fact that the company has been operating on the Polish market for several years, has a rich tradition, and its trade marks are well known because of the long-term mass production, continuous use and continuous presence in the market, advertising, and customers and that they will associate the sign and its manufacturer with a product, cannot determine the method of accepting these signs to the category of reputed trade marks.

The selection of reputable trade marks is made by using a different criterion than the one which help to distinguish a group of well-known trade marks. The Reputation of the trade mean its attractiveness, the value of advertising and the ability to stimulate the sales of goods marked. It is therefore a criterion referring to the particular quality of a mark rather than to the degree of knowledge about such sign. It expresses the opinion that a reputable sign, which – unlike trade marks used as the indication of origin – implements a “clean” function of attracting customers. In the absence of legal definition, a reputed trade mark should therefore be assess according to the abovementioned criteria, rather than by knowledge in the market that provides the basis for a well known trade marks.