Procedural law, case VI SAB/Wa 236/11

March 27th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

On May 2009, FAKRO PP sp. z o.o. requested the Polish Patent Office to invalidate the European patent No. PL/EP 1706557 “window and insulating frame kit” that was granted under the European Patent Convention on the territory of the Republic of Poland. On December 2010, the company filed a complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw, arguing that the Polish Patent Office did not take any substantive action to decide the case. The PPO argued that it set the hearing date in February 2011, but the hearing was adjourned, and the Adjudicative Board of the PPO ordered the owner of the challenged patent to supplement the evidence in the case within 2 months from the date of the publication of the order. In addition, the PPO noted that the applicant’s representative requested a correction and supplement the minutes of the hearing held in February 2011, a hearing on this matter was set for June 2011. The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its order of 9 June 2011 case file VI SAB/Wa 73/10 discontinued the proceedings. The Company filed a cassation complaint. The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 25 October 2011 case file II GSK 2108/11 repealed the contested order and sent it back for the reconsideration. The SAC held that the VAC should dismiss the complaint or decide on the failure to act.

The Voivodeship Adminsitrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 3 January 2012 case file VI SAB/Wa 236/11 ruled that the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure governing time limits for settling cases shall not apply to cases heard by the Polish Patent Office in litigation procedure, but the PPO should make all-out efforts to settle the case within six months from the submission of the request. The VAC ruled that the case for invalidation of the patent at issue was pending before the PPO for more than two and a half years and even during the proceedings before the Courts, it did not end in any decision. Inactivity of the Polish Patent Office in this case was obvious.