Trade mark law, case II GSK 67/10

April 14th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Patent Office invalidated the right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark 1001 R-157046 registered for goods in Class 16 such as posters, albums, almanacs, stationery, blocks, drawing blocks, brochures, magazines, charade magazines, prints, forms, newspapers, calendars, calendars with loose pages, filing cards, cards, card-notices, postcards, comics, books, crossword puzzles, stationery, stickers, notepads, covers, bookmarks, drawing kits, notebooks, and owned by Agencja Wydawnicza TECHNOPOL Spółka z o.o. The PPO ruled that this trade mark lacks distinctiveness. TECHNOPOL filed a complaint against this decision but it was dismissed by the Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 18 September 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 1164/09. Technopol filed a cassation complaint.

R-157046

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 10 February 2011 case file II GSK 67/10 dismissed it and ruled that a trade mark which lacks primary distinctiveness will acquire distinctiveness or secondary meaning through advertising, if it is used for so long that it will be associated not with the original descriptive content, but the source of its origin – a specific goods produced by a particular manufacturer. The practice of different publishers who used different numbers and numerals in tiles of magazines did not allow for 1001 to acquire secondary meaning.