Industrial design law, case VI SA/Wa 518/09

January 7th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 21 July 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 518/09 ruled that where the scope of creative freedom is greater, the assessment of the originality of the design may justify the thesis that the differences should have easily discernible character. By contrast, in the case of a design with a small range of creative freedom, even small differences will not remain unnoticed by the informed user. The design must be different from designs already known and cannot create the impression that a product of such a form of a design has already been seen. It is necessary to examine the compared designs, including the overall impression which is triggered by the design in terms of the so-called “informed user”. The term “informed user” indicates the person who uses the product/design on a permanent basis, so it is not, nor is the average consumer, or the average expert.

Wzór przemysłowy 11751

This judgment interpreted, inter alia, the provisions of Articles 103 and 104 of the Polish Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2001 No 49, item 508, consolidated text on 13 June 2003, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 119, item 1117, with subsequent amendments.

1. An industrial design shall be considered new if, before the date according to which priority to obtain a right in registration is determined and subject to paragraph (2), no identical design has been made available to the public, i.e. used, exhibited or otherwise disclosed. Designs shall also be deemed to be identical with those made available to the public if their features differ only in immaterial details.

2. The designs shall not be deemed to have been made available to the public within the meaning of paragraph (1), if it could not have become known to the circles specialised in the sector, to which the design belongs.

3. The provision of paragraph (1) shall not prevent a right in registration to be granted, if a design:
(i) has been disclosed to a third party under explicit or implicit conditions of confidentiality,
(ii) has been disclosed during 12-month period preceding the date according to which priority to obtain a right in registration is determined, by the designer, his successor in title or a third person with the right holder’s consent, as well as if the disclosure has occurred as a consequence of an abuse in relation to the designer or his successor in title.

Article 104
1. An industrial design shall be considered to have individual character, if the overall impression it produces on the informed user differs from the overall impression produced on such a user by any design which has been made available before the date according to which priority is determined.

2. In assessing individual character, the degree of freedom of the designer in developing the design shall be taken into consideration.

See also “Polish regulations on industrial designs” and “Polish case law on industrial designs“.