Unfair competition, case V CSK 162/08

December 14th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 14 October 2008 case file V CSK 162/08 interpreted 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 SC held that an act of unfair competition within the meaning of Article 13(1) of the CUC is also based on introduction to the market by a third-party of products copied in the manner specified in that provision.