Trade mark law, case II GSK 762/08

April 12th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

Bauer Publishing House owns the word-figurative trade mark TWÓJ STYL R-69382 which is registered for goods such as printed matter, newspapers, magazines, books, packaging, clothing, shoes, advertisement services for third-party hotel and catering services. In 2007 the Polish Patent Office issued a decision on the lapse of the right of protection for TWÓJ STYL trade mark in class 25 for goods such as clothing and shoes.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 6 February 2008 case file VI SA/Wa 1418/07 agreed with PPO’s decision and dismissed Bauer’s complaint. The Company filed a cassation complaint.


The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 12 March 2009 case file II GSK 762/08 has dismissed Bauer’s cassation complaint. The SAC ruled that, according to Polish case law and legal doctrine, the “genuine use” of a trade mark should be directed towards the consolidation of the brand in the market and should seek for its awareness between consumers and competitors. The opposite to “genuine use” is usually the occasional action taken in order to avoid a non-use accusations and actions that are taken other than for purposes of actual business activity. As part of the obligation to make genuine use of a mark, Polish doctrine established the concept of “preparatory action”, which allows to preserve of the right of protection for a trade mark and possible refutation of the non-use allegations. Examples of such “preparatory action” are: a contract of the importation of goods bearing the trade mark, intense advertising in the media or a license agreement for trade mark use. These are activities that aim to genuinely use a trade mark and such actions should be temporarily and functionally associated with the future use of a trade mark. According to the PPO’s findings the owner of TWÓJ STYL trade mark sold clothing with this sign, but this activity ended in 1998 with the last sale of these products.