Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 897/09

October 28th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 20 October 2009 VI SA/Wa 897/09 held that the company name (firm) serves as the identification and prominence of the entrepreneur in the legal and economic transactions. It is also a carrier of certain information about the characteristics and qualities of business conducted by such entrepreneur. An unauthorized interference with the function of a company name infringes on the right to the name. The company name, also of the civil partnership, is a personal interests/asset of the company and relates to its identity when it individualize such entrepreneur. The firm/company name is subject to protection of personal rights/intrests under Articles 23 and 24 of the Civil Code, in conjunction with Article 43 10 of the Civil Code.


The Court ruled that the company name (firm) is the absolute personal right, effective erga omnes, and enjoyed by everyone including businesses and individuals that do business in the form of civil partnership. The right to a company name is formed with the entry of the entrepreneur in the business register, and in any event, when the company used for the first time in trade. Entrepreneurs may claim the right to the company name (the firm) after they have been registered in the Register of Entrepreneurs in the National Court Register or in the Economic Activity Records. The disclosure of trade name/company’s name is provided in the registry (National Court Register – Polish public register maintained by the selected regional courts and the Ministry of Justice which includes the register of enterprises). It has a declaratory nature. The Economic Activity Records are maintained by the municipality of the place of residence of the entrepreneur.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 January 2008 case file II GSK 298/07 held that the right of the company name is infringed if the registration of a trade mark conflicts and interferes with the exercise of the right to company name. See “Trade mark law, II GSK 298/07“. This conflict is based on misleading as to the identity of entities (acting under the company name and using the trade mark) and therefore it may jeopardize the company name (firm). Such conclusions were reached by the Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 26 April 2006 case file II GSK 31/06.

This case concerned the invalidation proceedings of word-figurative trade mark PIOR R-143502 owned by Przedsiębiorstwo Usługowo-Handlowo-Reklamowe PRIOR, Rostkowska Janina, Rostkowski Jan, Kuc Małgorzata from Chorzów.