Polish patent attorneys – substitution and delivery of documents

May 16th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

According to the provisions of Articles 240 and 241 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 of 13 June 2003, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 119, item 1117, with subsequent amendments, a representative shall be authorised to appoint a substitute (substitution).

Article 240
1. Except for the persons referred to in Article 236(2), a representative shall be authorised to appoint a substitute (substitution).
2. Authorisation by another joint right holder shall not be required for performing conservatory action.

Article 241
1. Where two or more persons are parties to a proceeding and no representative has been appointed, the persons concerned shall be required to indicate one address for service. Failing to indicate such address, the address of the person named first in the application or in another document, on the basis of which the proceeding is instituted, shall be deemed to be that address.

2. At a party’s request, the Patent Office shall also send letters addressed according to paragraph (1) to the addresses additionally indicated by that party. This provision shall also apply accordingly, where only one person who has appointed a representative is a party to the proceeding.

As the effect of establishing a substitute, the same relationship, which was established between a party and a patent attorney is also created between a party and a substitute, while maintaining the existing powers of attorney. This means that the party has two equivalent proxies since the establishment of an effective substitution. See for instance opinions presented by the Supreme Court Civil Chamber in a judgment of 13 February 2004, case file IV CK 269/02, the Supreme Court Civil Chamber in a decision of 7 November 2006, case file I CZ 78/06, or judgment of the Voivodeship Administraive Court in Poznańof dnia 20 February 2007, case file I SA/Po 1432/06.

On the basis of provisions of Article 40 of the Administrative Proceedings Code – APC – (in Polish: Kodeks postępowania administracyjnego) of 14 June 1960, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 30, item 168, consolidated text of 9 October 2000, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 98, item 1071 with subsequent amendments, where a party has established a representative, all documents are delivered to the proxy and not a party.

Article 40.
§ 1. Documents shall be served on the party to proceedings, and if the party is acting by a representative – on that representative.
§ 2. If a party to proceedings has appointed an attorney then documents shall be served on the attorney.
§ 3. If a case has been commenced at the instigation of two or more parties the documents shall be served on all parties, unless the application indicates that one of them is authorised to receive service.

Due to the limitation established for granting the substitute power of attorney only to patent attorneys and provisions of article 237(1) of the IPL which provide that there can be only one proxy for one legal action, in case of existence of a substitute, all correspondence will be delivered to one person – the agent or a substitute.

Article 237
1. In the performance of one act a party may be represented by one natural person only.
2. A power of attorney shall be in writing and shall be included in the files on performance of first legal act.
3. Where the power of attorney covers two or more cases, it shall be included in the files of that of the cases, in respect of which the first act is performed by the representative. When acting in other cases covered by the power of attorneys, the representative shall be required to furnish a certified copy of the power of attorney.
4. A patent agent shall be allowed to certify himself a copy of the power of attorney granted to him.
5. Failing to pay a due stamp duty for the power of attorney, the Patent Office shall invite the representative to make relevant payment and in case it should not be made, it shall additionally invite the party to confirm, within the fixed time limit, the acts performed by the representative. Failing to observe the fixed time limit, the provision of Article 223(4) shall apply accordingly.

The decision in this regard will be taken following an assessment of attorney documents and attorney substitution. However, in the case of granting substitution of confluence with the scope of powers of attorney and without indicating an address for delivery of documents, the Polish Patent Office will continue to deliver documents only to a substitute.