Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 517/08

June 20th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The recent judgment of the Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC) in Warsaw of 6 June 2008, case act signature VI SA/Wa 517/08 acknowledged that the Nice Classification should be used as an auxiliary tool to decide about of the same kind of goods which is also in the accordance with article 2(1) of the Nice Agreement Concerning the International Classification of Goods and Services for the Purposes of the Registration of Marks.

Subject to the requirements prescribed by this Agreement, the effect of the Classification shall be that attributed to it by each country of the Special Union. In particular, the Classification shall not bind the countries of the Special Union in respect of either the evaluation of the extent of the protection afforded to any given mark or the recognition of service marks.

HIRSCH-POL Sp. z o.o., filed before the Polish Patent Office (PPO) a request for partial cancellation of the trade mark rights for PRYMUS R-144135 trade mark owned by Krzysztof Moska and registered for classes 01, 02, 04, 16, 17, 19, 35 and 39. HIRSCH-POL Sp. z o.o. was claiming the priority of an earlier registered trade mark PRYMUS R-136008 in class 2. The PPO dismissed the request. HIRSCH-POL logged a complaint to the Voivodeship Administration Court in Warsaw.

The Court overruled the contested decision, finding that the PPO did not establish the scope of a protection for the PRYMUS sign and the Nice Classification is only an auxiliary tool to decide whether goods are of the same kind. Following the judgment, the PPO cancelled Moska’s trade mark in classes requested by HIRSCH-POL. This time Mr Moska lodged a complaint before the VAC, claiming violation of administrative procedure’s rules and violation of the rule of “certainty and confidence of State’s bodies”. The Voivodeship Administration Court in Warsaw held that the contested sign may lead to consumers’ confusion with regard to the origin of goods and that its previous conclusions which applied to the Nice Classification were correct.