Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1099/10

October 20th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company Polski Koncern Naftowy ORLEN S.A. applied for the right of protection for word-figurative trade mark “BIG energy drink” Z-336460 for goods in Classes 06, 16, 32, 35, 43.


The Polish Patent Office issued a decision refusing to grant the protection in part of goods in Class 32 such as energy drinks, juices and juice drinks, carbonated and non-carbonated mineral water, drinks other than alcohol, syrups, concentrates for the preparation of drinks, sports drinks, nectars, beer and in part of services in Class 35 such as retail and wholesale sale services of energy drinks, juices and juice drinks, mineral water, alcoholic drinks, syrups, concentrates in the preparation of drinks, sports drinks. The PPO found also a conflicting CTM “BIG ENERGY” No. 002135812 registered for goods such as non-alcoholic beverages, fruit drinks, fruit juices and fruit nectars, bases and essences (included in class 32) for making the aforesaid beverages. ORLEN filed a complaint against this decision claiming that the refusal was based solely on the likelihood and hypothetical clues, not actual evidence of a convergence of signs and the resulting collision. There was also no presence of the product bearing the opposed trade mark on the Polish territory.


The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 August 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 1099/10 annulled the contested decision. The VAC ruled the relationship between the petrol stations retail networks and certain “additional products”, bearing their trademark, is becoming ever closer. In such situation it significantly reduces the risk of confusion – the risk of misleading the public, which includes in particular the risk of associating the trademark with an erlier trade mark. The consumer begins to associate certain product (e.g., energy drink), not only with a specific sign, but also with a specific network of petrol stations, in which the drink will be available. The judgment is not final.