Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 451/10

July 17th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

In 2009, the Polish Patent Office declared that the right of protection for REAL trademark owned by real SB-Warenhaus GmbH from Germany, lapsed partially. The German company requested for the suspension of the contested decision. The request stated that the contested decision would cause a negative economic impact for real SB-Warenhaus GmbH, which, through a Polish subsidiary, uses lapsed trade mark continuously since 1997. The German company has made far-reaching financial investments to build market position of REAL trade mark, in Poland – around 10 million PLN. In addition, the public awareness of the brand position, has not only financial backing but also social, because the company built on Polish territory large-area markets, which are operated under the name REAL, therefore, renaming the company and its markets would also affect the 13,500 employees. Given the increasing competition in the market, other competitors, could in good faith (or intentionally) use this trade mark. There was therefore a real risk that, until final completion of this case, the distinctive character of REAL trade mark would be weakened.


The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 451/10 decided to stay the execution of the questioned decision and ruled that if the decision of the Patent Office has not been suspended, REAL trade mark used by the Polish subsidiary could not be used, and others could exploit the position of this trade mark. The Court also agreed that financial outlays made for the creation and operation of REAL’s supermarkets, were large, and the scale of employment in these supermarkets and the necessary change of the company name and the supermarket, could adversely affect the situation of workers.

See also “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 452/10“.