Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1291/11

November 23rd, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Patent Office refused to grant the right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark applied for the Polish law firm Komarnicka Korpalski Kancelaria Prawna sp.j for services in Class 35 such as advising on business and business management consultancy, in Class 36 such as financial consultancy and financial and accounting activity, and in Class 42 such as legal services.


The PPO pointed out that the sign was applied for broadly defined legal services, and it cannot be registered because it lacks sufficient distinctive character, therefore it cannot be the subject of exclusive rights as others would have been deprived of the possibility to use it. The PPO noted that the applied trade mark is a company name, but there are different regulations regarding company names and the names of individuals. The PPO ruled that the right to the company name is not absolute, effective in relation to all (erga omnes). The PPO stated that the case of each applied trade mark is always considered individually on its specific conditions, so the argument that there is plenty of registered trade marks that include the word “law”, and the PPO should also grant the right of protection in this case, was rejected The PPO did not agree with the argument that recent visits to the website could prove that the trade mark in question has acquired secondary meaning. According to the PPO, the applicant has not submitted any evidence documents to confirm it. Komarnicka Korpalski Kancelaria Prawna filed a complaint against this decision.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 31 August 2011 case file VI SA/Wa 1291/11 dismissed it. The Court agreed with the PPO and held that Internet address identifies a legal or natural person, but this identification is not equivalent, that the services provided by such person are marked with the same deisgnation.