Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1388/07

January 15th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 11 May 2004, the Polish Patent Office issued a positive decision on the registration of EAU DE TOKYO R-153843 trade mark for goods in Class 3. It was applied for by the MGT Parfum Création from Hofheim-Wallau on 7 September 2000.


Kenzo Societe Anonyme from France filed a request for invalidation of the right of protection claiming it was granted in violation of the provisions of Articles 8(1) and 9(1)(i) of the old Polish Act of 31 January 1985 on Trade Marks – TMA – (in Polish: Ustawa o znakach towarowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 15, with subsequent amendments.

Article 8
A trade mark shall not be registrable if:
(i) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence;

Article 9
(1) Registration of a trade mark for goods of the same kind shall not be permissible where:
i) it resembles a mark registered on behalf of another enterprise to such an extent that it could mislead purchasers as to the origin of the goods in ordinary economic activity;

The request had to be based on the old Act because the trade mark application was filed while the old act was in force. KENZO was claiming the similarity of marks, KENZO TOKYO BY KENZO R-207663 and TOKYO BY KENZO R-207662 and their reputation. The French company has also argued that the German company imposes its trade mark on similar bottles to Kenzo’s bottles. On February 2007, the PPO rejected the invalidation request and KENZO has appealed this decision.


The German company did not respond to the correspondence on this matter and no other address was known. During earlier hearings on July 2008, the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw had to ask the President Polish Chamber of Patent Attorneys to designate a curator for the German company. The curator did not agree with KENZO arguments. He pointed that the assessment had to be a comparison of the signs as they were registered, and not the packaging.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 27 November 2008 case file VI SA/Wa 1388/07 dismissed the complaint. The Court acknowledged the fact that the PPO did not negate the reputation of KENZO trade marks. According to the VAC, the PPO was not obliged to take into account KENZO’s reputation, since the Office found that the disputed signs were not similar. The Court did not agree with the argument that these signs had similar associations because cosmetics marked by them come from Japan. According to Judge Olga Żurawska-Matusiak such conclusion would be too far-reaching. She also pointed that the PPO has properly assessed both trade marks. The issue of passing off of packages should be decided by a civil court in a different proceedings.