Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1072/10

January 5th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

NSE Products, Inc., the owner of the CTM CHOLESTIN no. 000447318 requested the Polish Patent Office to invalidate the right of protection for CHOLESTERIN R-189581 trade mark owned by MEDICOFARMA Spółka z o.o. NSE claimed that both trade marks are similar which may cause the risk of consumers’ confusion, especially taking into account the fact that the goods are also confusingly similar (dietary supplements). These goods are purchased without a prescription, and often in places other than pharmacies. The PPO invalidated the right of protection and MEDICOFARMA filed a complaint against this decision.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 8 November 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 1072/10 held that the provision the Polish Act on Industrial Property Law that prohibits the grant of the right of protection for a trademark that is identical or similar to a trademark for which a right of protection was granted or which has been applied for protection with an earlier priority date (provided that the latter is subsequently granted a right of protection) on behalf of another party for identical or similar goods, if a risk of misleading the public exists, in particular by evoking associations with the earlier mark, is intended to protect business transactions/economic turnover against the confusion as to the origin of goods. The registration of trade marks, by which there would be created the right, the scope of which at least partially overlaps with the scope of the registration with an earlier priority was unacceptable for the Court. The judgment is not final yet.