Archive for: personal rights or interests

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 347/10

October 29th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 9 July 2005, the Polish Patent Office registered word-figurative trade mark “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU” R-164275 for Grzegorz Majewski “SINONIS” from Katowice. Michał Gramatyka, Wojciech Harmansa, Adam Saczka and Sławomir Olko filed a request for the invalidation of the right of protection. They claimed that they were members of the music band “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU”, the band’s name is a common right and therefore the registration of this name as a trademark by Grzegorz Majewski violated the rights of other band members. The applicants alleged that Majewski filed for the registration at a time when he was not an active member of the band and he also knew that “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU” continues its operation, accordingly he acted in bad faith. Bad faith is also confirmed by the fact that based on the granted right of protection for the trade mark in question, Majewski demanded the cessation of business activity of the other band members. The sign in question is a word-figurative trade mark and similarities that exist may mislead the public with “PERŁY I ŁOTRY” R-194932 trade mark registered for Firma Usługowo-Handlowa HARPEL II Wojciech Harmansa. See also “Trade mark law, case Sp. 211/08“.

R-164275

The Polish Patent Office dismissed the request and concluded that there was no reason to believe that the grant of protection to the trade mark at issue violated the personal rights of applicants if a civil court’s judgment submitted during the invalidation proceedings included a statement that they are not entitled to such a personal right/interest to the band name. The applicants filed a complaint against this decision.

R-194932

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 24 August 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 347/10 annulled the contested decision and ruled it unenforceable. The VAC held that there was a breach of procedural law. The Court held that the PPO, in fact, did not properly examine the request for invalidation. The PPO based its findings only on certain statements issued in the judgment of the Apellate Court in Katowice, and draw more far-reaching conclusions. And so, from the finding of the Appellate Court that plaintiffs have not demonstrated the fact that they are entitled to the name of the band “Perły i Łotry Szanghaju”, the PPO reached a conclusion that the applicants shall have no personal or property rights, and then ruled the argument of acting in bad faith as unfounded. This jugdgment is not final.

Personal interest, case XXIV C 760/09

October 26th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Kataryna, actually Katarzyna Sadło appeared in the Polish blogoshpehre shortly after the so-called Rywin affair. Since then Kataryna simultaneously publish her blogs on both blox and salon24.pl websites. She quickly became well-known person who comments on political life in Poland and received a large number of comments. Her identity quickly began to attract the interest of the mass-media. A few journalists were suspected for writing under this pseudonym. Kataryna gave interviews in press but did not disclose her identity.

In May 2009, the owner Salon24 website announced that Krzysztof Czuma, son of the Polish Minister of Justice Andrzej Czuma, sent a letter to Salon24 seeking the removal of lying and offensive blog entry of “a Kataryna”. Salon24 responded that the content of the blog posts does not affect the TOS of Salon24 and therefore it will not be removed. However, Kataryna announced that if the minister Czuma would like to bring the civil lawsuit against her, she will reveal her personal data.

Shortly after that, the Polish daily newspaper “Dziennik Polska-Europa-Świat” published information that it knows the identity of the blogger. Although the newspaper did not publish her name, but described it in a way that allowed for unambiguous identification. These were more than enough information to let Internauts to identify Katarzyna Sadło as Kataryna.

Kataryna decided to reveal (tweet) the contents of SMS, which has received from Sylwia Czubkowska, a journalist reporter from Dziennik, in which the she urged Kataryna to disclose her identity in the newspapers and warned that otherwise the information may be used by “Fakt” which is a tabloid owned by the same publisher – Axel Springer Poland. Kataryna sued Axel Springer, the publisher of “Dziennik” and the editors of this newspaper for violation of her right to privacy. The case was brought before the District Court in Warsaw case file XXIV C 760/09, however it was settled out of the court.

Computer crime, case V KK 391/11

September 20th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Mr Łukasz Kasprowicz publishes frequently different news and information about the municipal office at Mosina on his website (blog) available at mosina.blox.pl. Zofia Springer the Mayor of Mosina filed private charges against Mr Kasprowicz on the basis of Article 212 § 2 of the Criminal Code – CRC – (in Polish: Kodeks Karny) of 6 June 1997, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 88, item 553, with subsequent amendments.

Article 212. § 1. Whoever imputes to another person, a group of persons, an institution or organisational unit not having the status of a legal person, such conduct, or characteristics that may discredit them in the face of public opinion or result in a loss of confidence necessary for a given position, occupation or type to activity shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to one year.

§ 2. If the perpetrator commits the act specified in § 1 through the mass media shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years.

§ 3. When sentencing for an offence specified in §1 or 2, the court may adjudge a supplementary payment in favour of the injured person or of the Polish Red Cross, or of another social purpose designated by the injured person a supplementary payment (nawiązka).

§ 4. The prosecution of the offence specified in § 1 or 2 shall occur upon a private charge.

The mayor felt insulted by some of the stories published by the blogger and concluded that the routine writing about her and the office is undermining its reputation. The Observatory of Media Freedom in Poland run by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights was present during the hearing as a person of trust, based on Article 361 § 3 of the Criminal Proceedings Code – CRPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Karnego) of 6 June 1997, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 89, item 555, with subsequent amendments. During the hearing on 9 May 2010, Łukasz Kasprowicz was referred by the Court for a psychiatric examination (in search for the opinion of an expert psychiatrist), and the counsel for the defence was appointed by the Court.

The Regional Court in Poznań Stare Miasto in its judgment of 25 January 2011 case file VIII K 745/09/8 sentenced Łukasz Kasprowicz for three hundred hours of community service and prohibited Mr Kasprowicz from performing professional activities as a journalist for one year, which also means the annual ban on publishing articles on the Internet. Mr Kasprowicz appealed. The District Court in Poznań in its judgment of 8 June 2011 case file IV Ka 266/11 overturned the questioned judgment. The Court acquitted Mr Kasprowicz of 13 charges, and in the other two the Court decided to discontinue the case/proceedings due to the relatively low social harm of the actions. Zofia Springer filed a cassation complaint to the Supreme Court of the Republic of Poland.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 16 October 2012 case file V KK 391/11 decided that opinions published on websites are not different from these expressed in other media. Therefore, the assessment on the infringement of personal rights should be not applied differently.

Trade mark law, case V CSK 293/09

September 2nd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Polish company Technopol sp. z o.o. succeeded to register in the Polish Patent Office over a hundred word and word-figurative trade marks in the form of Arabic numeral “100” and its multiples (200, 300, etc.) together with the word “Panoramicznych” or “Panoram”. Technopol was sued by another Polish entrepreneur, Roman Oraczewski who publishes crossword magazines under such titles as “222 Panoramiczne”, “333 Panoramiczne”, “500 Krzyżówek”, “300 Krzyżówek z Uśmiechem”, “300 Krzyżówek Panorama Rozrywki”. Mr Oraczewski claimed protection to its press titles and Technopol filed counter claims based on Article 10 of the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition – CUC – (in Polish: ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 47, item 211, with subsequent amendments.

Article 10.1. Such indication of products or services or its lack, which may mislead customers in relation to the origin, quantity, quality, components, manufacturing process, usefulness, possible application, repair, maintenance and another significant features of products or services as well as concealing the risks connected with their use, shall be the act of unfair competition.
2. Releasing for free circulation products in the packing which may cause effects referred to in section 1 above shall be the act of unfair competition, unless the use of such packing is justified by technical reasons.

Technopol requested the court to issue preliminary injuction ordering Mr Oraczewski to cease the sale and introduction to the market of all his magazines bearing titles that are identical or similar to Technopol’s trade marks. The Court granted the injunctive relief. Mr. Oraczewski did not agree with such order and after couple of years this case ended in a final dismissal of the application for preliminary injunction. Mr. Oraczewski sued Technopol for the compensation for the loss incurred due to the enforcement of the injunction. He claimed over 67.000.000 PLN loss. According to Article 746 §1 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, when a preliminary injunction has been granted and the plaintiff fails to file the principal claim, withdraws it, the claim fails for procedural reasons, or is dismissed as unfounded, the defendant may demand compensation for the loss incurred due to the enforcement of the injunction. The claim expires if it is not pursued within one year from the moment the loss occured. This provision makes a plaintiff who obtained a preliminary injunction but ultimately failed with its principal claim liable towards the defendant for the loss caused by the injunction.

100_panoramicznych-cover

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 25 February 2010 case file V CSK 293/09 held that the liability provided under Article 746 § 1 of the CPC is independent of plaintiff’s fault. However, the Court dismissed Mr Oraczewski complaint because he did not follow the preliminary injunction order.

See also “Trade mark and Press law, VI SA/Wa 2135/08” and “Trade mark law, case V CSK 71/09“.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 574/10

August 23rd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 574/10 ruled that Article 8 of the Paris Convention is a “conflicting norm” i.e. a norm/rule in private international law that points to appropriate substantive law that should be applied in a given case. The “trade name” on the basis of Article. 8, 9, 10 bis of the Paris Convention covers both the company name as an indication of business and company name in the subjective meaning. A trade name is the name of an entity being endowed with a right (merchant, trader, businessman – the subject of rights ), under which it is established and is performing its business activity, usually organized as the company/enterprise (the object of rights). It is therefore a designation of a business, which includes distinctive elements, and all these elements that allow for the individualization of economic activity.

R-194401

The disclosure of company’s name in the registry (National Court Register – Polish public register maintained by the selected regional courts and the Ministry of Justice which includes the register of enterprises) has a declaratory nature and provides the legal basis for the possibility of setting up/starting a business, therefore the priority of use decides on the priority of right to the company name.

Personal interest, case I C 144/10

August 15th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

A Polish citizen filed a civil suit against Nasza Klasa company – the owner and operator of social networking website. He seek an apology and a payment for the infringement of his personal interest by the fact that Nasza Klasa refused to provide the plaintiff with personal data of the person who set up a fake profile, and allowed for the creation of such a profile, which was finally closed after several unsuccessful requests.

The Inspector General for Personal Data Protection in its decision of 5 March 2010 ordered Nasza Klasa to provide the plaintiff with information (full name, address, e-mail and IP address of a computer) of the person who set up the profile of the YYY number on nasza-klasa.pl website, ordering at the same time, to fulfill the obligation referred to in Article 33(1) of the Polish Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with subsequent amendments.

Article 33
1. At the request of the data subject, within the period of 30 days, the controller shall be obliged to notify the data subject about his/her rights, and provide him/her with the information referred to in Article 32 paragraph 1 point 1-5a as regards his/her personal data, and in particular specify in an intelligible form:
1) the category of personal data contained in the file,
2) the means of data collection,
3) the purpose and the scope of data processing,
4) the recipients of the data and the scope of access they have been granted.

While executing this decision Nasza Klasa informed the plaintiff that the fictional profile was set up on behalf of a person of a first name “s d.”, the second name “w. I’m gay”, having e-mail address xyz@wp.pl. At the same time the company informed the plaintiff that it has no data with regard to IP addresses from which the profiles are set on its website, these data are not collected, and kept or archived. However, as it was also clear from the order of the District Court in Poznań of 16 June 2010 on an ongoing parallel criminal proceedings that Nasza Klasa provided the Police with the IP number, host and e-mail address of the person who has registered this fictitious profile containing personal information of the plaintiff.

The District Court in Wrocław in its judgment of 23 July 2010 case file I C 144/10 ruled that the way that Nasza Klasa has executed the decision bears hallmarks of malignancy, where the repetition of the contents of the fake profile certainly violated the plaintiff’s dignity. The Court noted also that the activity of Nasza Klasa which allows its users for the opening of online accounts, including fictitious accounts does not have the characteristics of illegality. Therefore, the plaintiff was not allowed to infer the responsibility of Nasza Klasa, because during the use of legal mechanisms, there was an infringement of his personal interests. In other words, the illegal nature has only the act of the direct infringer – an unknown person who registered fictional profile on nasza-klasa.pl website, that was containing personal information of the plaintiff, including his image, in the context of information insulting him.

The mere creation of a registration/login mechanism within defendant’ hosting services, without any specific negligence in the performance of duties imposed by law cannot justify the defendant’s liability for the infringement of personal rights of the plaintiff. According to the Court such reasoning would justify shifting the liability of the direct offender of personal right to the hosting service provider.

The Court held that Nasza Klasa committed a violation of personal rights by refusing to grant the plaintiff an access to personal data of the person who set up a fake profile infringing on his personal interest and being opprobrious to his identity, despite the fact that the plaintiff was entitled to obtain it, which was confirmed by final decision of the GIODO. The Court ruled that Nasza Klasa company as a professional hosting provider, which created and maintains a social networking website – in accordance with its TOS – should be aware of how the decision of Inspector General for Personal Data Protection should be executed. Moreover, Nasza-Klasa was aware of the circumstances of the plaintiff’s case, which lasted almost a year. At that time, the plaintiff has shown a determination to assert his rights, despite the fact that without a personal data of the offender, has repeatedly been put in a kind of a hopeless situation, not only by law enforcement, but also by Nasza-Klasa company. Since Nasza-Klasa did not have the name of the person who registered the fictitious profile with the data of the plaintiff, it shall inform the plaintiff and explain the problem and execute the decision of the GIODO with regard to available data (IP, e-mail address of the perpetrator). Nasza Klasa decided to file an appeal complaint. The Appelatte Court in Wrocław in its judgment of 18 Nobember 2010 case file I ACa 1129/10 reversed the previous judgment and dismissed the suit.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 746/09

August 10th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of a story decribed in “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 2284/08” that concerned the trade mark HERITAGE FILMS. The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 10 August 2010 case file II GSK 746/09 dismissed the cassation complaint brought by Zygmunt Piotrowski. The SAC held inter alia that the provisions of the TMA or the IPL do not provide in the course of the litigation proceedings lead by the Polish Patent Office, for the possibility to control the legality of the administrative proceedings that concerned the registration of a given trade mark. The legality of a decision granting the right of protection should be challenged in different proceedings.

Heritage

The Court noted that Mr Piotrowski confused the concepts of “invalidation of the registration right” or “invalidation of right of protection for a trade mark” with the annulment of the decision on the granting of the right. There are different grounds for such decisions and other procedures on their issuance, but in case of the breach of the provisions listed in Article 29 of the Trade Marks Act, those conditions may overlap, and only in this case they might be raised in the opposition proceedings. Consequently, the invaliditon of the protection right, although identical in its consequences, cannot be identified with the institution of the annulment of the decision on the granting of the right of protection.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 495/09

August 10th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 14 March 1994, Polish entrepreneur operating under the name Usługi Pogrzebowe “Hades” Włodzimierz Wasilewski from Częstochowa applied for the right of protection for HADES Z-130892 trade mark in class 45, funeral services. Another Polish entrepreneur operating under the name Nowak Tomasz Firma Pogrzebowa HADES from Łódź filed an opposition to a final decision of the Patent Office on the grant of the right of protection for HADES R-148641 trade mark.

R-148641

Tomasz Nowak claimed that the Polish Patent Office ruled on the discontinuance of examination proceedings for HADES Z-130892 because of the failure to pay application fees and on 6 March 1999, he decided to file for the right of protection for word-figurative trade mark HADES Z-198798 in classes 26 31 39 42. On 26 September 2001 the PPO granted the right of protection for HADES R-132619 trade mark. Tomasz Nowak argued that the resumption of proceedings by the Patent Office on the application of HADES Z-130892 trade mark, which led to the granting of the right of protection, deprived him of part of the right acquired in good faith and the possibility to obtain the protection for the next sign. According to Tomasz Nowak the decision on the grant of the right of protection for HADES R-148641 trade mark, not only violates his right to earlier acquired trade mark, but most of all it violates the principle of certainty and security of legal transactions. It leads to a situation where the market will experience two identical trade marks, registered for identical goods, however, enjoyed by the various owners, which is contrary the rules of trade mark law of course.

R-132619

The PPO dismissed the opposition and Tomasz Nowak filed a complaint against this decision of the PPO. He based its claims on provisions of article 8(1) and (2) of the old Polish Trade Mark Act – TMA – (in Polish: Ustawa o znakach towarowych) of 31 January 1985, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 15, with subsequent amendments.

Article 8
A trademark shall not be registrable if:
1) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence;
2) it infringes the personal or economic rights of third parties;

Tomasz Nowak also challenged the examination proceedings which led to the registration of the questioned trade mark.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 14 January 2009 case VI SA/Wa 1941/08 ruled that legal provisions invoked in the complaint cannot be applied to assess the legality of the registration proceedings conducted by the PPO. Accordingly, the request for invalidation of right of protection of HADES trade mark under these provisions was irrelevant. The provisions of the TMA, or the IPL does not provide in the course of the litigation proceedings lead by the PPO, the possibility to control the legality of the administrative proceedings that concerned the registration of the questioned trade mark. The Court ruled that the allegations of violation of the administrative procedure by the PPO could only qualify as a basis for annulment of the decision. Tomasz Nowak was required to bring such claims in the complaint, however he did not so. Tomasz Nowak filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 June 2010 case file II GSK 495/09 dismissed the cassation complaint. The SAC ruled that the VAC could not review the decision on the grant of a right of protection for HADES R-148641 trade mark. The VAC had to decide within the scope of the complaint and shall be bound by the legal ground invoked by the requesting party. The SAC also expressed the view that the registration of the name of someone else’s company does not preclude the registration of a trademark but the right to a name of the company must be infringed, and the existence of such right has not been proven by Tomasz Nowak. The complainer has not demonstrated that he had the right to name of the company. Actually both entrepreneurs have the right to use HADES sign as their business name. The complainer also argued that the mere prior use of the sign and not in relation to the applicant, but in relation to the entitled to the right of protection, provides a sufficient argument that the questioned trade mark infringes personal or economic rights of third parties. The SAC ruled that this view is incorrect. It clearly refers only to infringement of personal or property rights.

Telecommunications law, case I OSK 1079/10

August 3rd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of a story described in “Personal data protection, case II SA/Wa 1598/09“. The Supreme Administrative Court in its order of 15 July 2010 case file I OSK 1079/10 decided to stay the execution of the decision issued by the Inspector General for Personal Data Protection (GIODO), and ruled that the Polish Act of 16 July 2000 on Telecommunications Law – TLA – (in Polish: Prawo telekomunikacyjne), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 171, item 1800 with subsequent amendments, provides broader protection of personal data because of telecommunications confidentiality, than the provisions of the Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 29 October 1997, No. 133, item 883, unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with subsequent amendments. The Court held that the disclosure of IP addresses which enable identification of specific individuals, that was ordered during administrative proceedings initiated with regard to disclosure of such data, while such proceedings did not ended with judgment in force, may violate the provisions of Article 160 of the TLA.

Article 160.
1. An entity participating in the performance of telecommunications activities within public networks and entities cooperating with it shall keep the telecommunications confidentiality.
2. Entities referred to in paragraph 1 shall maintain due diligence, within the scope justified by technical or economic reasons, while securing telecommunications equipment, telecommunications networks and data collections from disclosing the telecommunications confidentiality.
3. A person coming into possession of a message not meant to be read by him/her when using radio or terminal equipment shall keep the telecommunications confidentiality. The provisions of Article 159 (3) and (4) shall respectively apply.
4. The recording of a message acquired in a manner described in paragraph 3 by a body executing control of telecommunications activities in order to document a violation of a provision of the Act, shall not be a violation of the telecommunications confidentiality.

While assessing the validity of the request to stay the execution of GIODO’s decision to disclose the requested IP address at this stage of proceedings, the Court agreed with the author of the cassation complaint, that the execution of the questioned decision at this stage makes it impossible to reverse the actions taken after the disclosure of the IP addresses, and such action should be seen as causing the effects that are difficult to reverse according to Article 61(3) of the Act of 30 August 2002 on the Law on Proceedings Before Administrative Courts – PBAC – (in Polish: Prawo o postępowaniu przed sądami administracyjnymi), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 153, item 1270, subsequent amendments.

§ 1 Filing a complaint does not stay the execution of the act or actions.

§ 3 After the delivery of a complaint to the court, the court may issue at the request of the applicant, the order to stay the execution, in whole or in part of the act or actions referred to in § 1, if there is a risk of causing significant damage or cause to be difficult to reverse, with the exception of the provisions of local law which entered into force, unless the special Act excludes the stay of their execution. The refusal to stay the execution of the act or actions by the authority, does not deprive the applicant of action to the court. This also applies to acts issued or adopted in all proceedings conducted within the same case.

The SAC held that if the Supreme Administrative Court would agree with the cassation complaint filed against the judgment of the Voivodeship Administrative Court of 3 February 2010 case file II SA/Wa 1598/09, the effects of the execution of the questioned decision could not be reversed, because the IP address identifying a specific person is available to another participant in the proceedings. Accordingly, the court held that the correct solution at this stage of proceedings, is to stay the execution of the questioned decision also with a view to the impact of which its execution might result in, as well as the nature of the protection of personal data resulting from the relevant regulations such as, inter alia, the TLA.

See also “Polish regulations on personal data protection” and “Polish case law on personal data protection“.

Criminal law, case III KK 234/7

July 26th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Barbara W. was charged by the Prosecutor for insulting Mieczysław W. by posting on 30 June 2005 comments regarding his peron such “erotomaniac” on a website ocen.pl that is used to evaluate academics by their students. The charges were based on the provisions of Article 212 of the Criminal Code – CRC – (in Polish: Kodeks Karny) of 6 June 1997, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 88, item 553, with subsequent amendments.

Chapter XXVII
Offences against Honour and Personal Inviolability
Article 212
§ 1. Whoever imputes to another person, a group of persons, an institution or organisational unit not having the status of a legal person, such conduct, or characteristics that may discredit them in the face of public opinion or result in a loss of confidence necessary for a given position, occupation or type to
activity
shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to one year.
§ 2. If the perpetrator commits the act specified in § 1 through the mass media
shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of deprivation of liberty for up to 2 years.

The case went through all instances. The Supreme Court in its order of 7 May 2008 case file III KK 234/7 dismissed the cassation filed by Mieczysław W. and ruled that the provisions of Article 216 of the CRC should be invoked in this case, instead of Article 212 of the CRC.

Article 216
§ 1. Whoever insults another person in his presence, or though in his absence but in public, or with the intention that the insult shall reach such a person,
shall be subject to a fine or the penalty of restriction of liberty .
§ 2. Whoever insults another person using the mass media,
shall be subject to a fine, the penalty of restriction of liberty or the penalty of
deprivation of liberty for up to one year.

The Court ruled that the Internet is a medium of communication, as provided for in Articles 212 § 2 and 216 § 2 of the CRC, by means of which the offender may commit both defamation and insult. However, it was impossible in the current state of the law to rule that the mere provision of a computer to a third party decides on the criminal responsibility of its owner, in case if turned out that a person using such computer would be guilty of the offense. The Court held also that freedom of the press and other mass media that is guaranteed in the Article 14 of the Constitution, should also include media, as referred to in Article 216 § 2 and 212 § 2 of the CRC.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1873/08

July 20th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 25 May 2005, the Polish Patent Office granted the right of protection for the word trade mark MIESZKO R-165555 for goods in Class 29. ZAKŁADY PRZEMYSŁU CUKIERNICZEGO “MIESZKO” S.A. filed a notice of oppostion. MIESZKO S.A. claimed infringement of its company name and identicality with its trade mark MIESZKO R-87813 registered with an earlier priority for goods in Class 30. The PPO dismissed the opposition and ruled that both trade marks are identical, but Mieszko is a male name of Slavic origin, and the goods differ to the extent that there is no risk of consumers confusion. The very similarity of the signs, however, cannot be a sufficient argument to invalidate the right of protection for the word mark.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 17 March 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 1873/08 dismissed the complaint.

Personal interest, case VI ACa 1402/09

July 16th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Appellate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 15 July 2010 case file VI ACa 1402/09 held that even if a website only republishes articles or summaries of works published in major periodicals, it is not absolved from responsibility for infrigement of personal interests of a person who was described in such an article.

Industrial design and trade mark law, case II GSK 481/09

July 14th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of the history described in “Industrial design and trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 710/08“. Rosinski Andrzej Rosinski Michal Rosinska Joanna Zaklad Produkcji Opakowan Rosinski i S-ka, Sp. J. decided to file a cassation complaint to the Supreme Administrative Court, hoping that the Court would clarify the interpretation of Article 117(2) of the Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2001 No 49, item 508, consolidated text of 13 June 2003, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 119, item 1117, with subsequent amendments.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 May 2010 case file II GSK 481/09 ruled that there is no issue of wrong implementation of the provisions of Article 11 of the Directive 98/71/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 13 October 1998 on the legal protection of designs. The Court noted that even the preamble of Design Directive explicitly states that Member States should remain free to fix the procedural provisions concerning registration, renewal and invalidation of design rights and provisions concerning the effects of such invalidity. Therefore, there is no need to refer a question to the Court of Justice of EU for a preliminary ruling. The SAC did not agree with arguments that the issue of finding that the exploitation of the industrial design infringes third parties’ personal or author’s economic rights shall be decided by civil court and not by the PPO. The question of similarity of the questioned design and 3D trade mark should also be decided by the PPO. The Court did not follow arguments presented by the General Court in its judgment of 12 May 2010 in case T-148/08, Beifa Group Co. Ltd v Office for Harmonisation in the Internal Market, Schwan-Stabilo Schwanhaüßer GmbH & Co. KG. However, the SAC did agree with the Polish company that facts of the case were not handled properly by the Voivodeship Administrative Court. Therefore, the SAC annulled the questioned judgments and returned the case to the VAC for reconsideration and ordered the Polish Patent Office to pay the Polish company a reimbursement of costs of the cassation compliant.

The Court noted also that if the trade mark that was used as a basis of the application for invalidation of the industrial design, is a sign that was registered with an earlier priority in Germany, which is not identical with the Community design that was questioned in the aforementioned application, is similar to this design, the law of the Member State (in this case § 14 section 2 pt 2 of Markengesetz, similar to Article 296 of the IPL) affords Unilever, the proprietor of the mentioned trade mark, the right to prohibit use of this sign in a later design only if because of the similarity of the design to the said trade mark and identical or similarity of the goods or services, which relate to the trade mark and the later design, there is a likelihood of confusion.

See also “Polish regulations on industrial designs” and “Polish case law on industrial designs“.

Personal interest, case VI Aca 1460/09

July 12th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Małgorzata F. sued a residential community and the advertising company for infringement of her personal interest that according to Małgorzata F. occured by placing on the building in which she lives a big banner advertising, which concealed all windows of her apartment. The plaintiff did not ask for financial compensation but only for the apology to be published in the media.

The Appellate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 9 July 2010 case file VI Aca 1460/09 held that such advertising does not constitute an infringement of personal rights, in particular immunity of residence, because it rather concerned the so-called domestic peace (mir domowy). The court suggested that the right way for such disputes is to challenge the resolutions of the community or to base a lawsuit on the rules on the protection of property, and not the path of protection of personal interests.

See also “Advertising law, reclaim the windows“.

Trade mark law, case IX GC 104/06

July 5th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

In 2003, Polish company Zakłady Tytoniowe Lublin started to produce “Full Flavor ZTL Mont Blanc” and “Light ZTL Mont Blanc” cigarettes. Te tanie papierosy miały być konkurencją dla przemycanych z Ukrainy papierosów Monte Carlo. These latter cheap cigarettes were meant to be competition for Monte Carlo cigarettes smuggled from Ukraine.

R-160948

German company Montblanc – Simplo sued Polish company for infringement of Montblanc trade marks’ reputation, unfair competition delict and infringement of personal rights/interest. Montblanc – Simplo demanded the cessation of production of these cigarettes and the publication of a statment on illegal use of the trade mark, in nationwide newspapers.

R-160949

The District Court in Lublin in its judgment case file IX GC 104/06 dismissed these claims. The court held that that the contested name is written on cigarette packs separately (as the name of a mountain peak) and in a figurative aspect it has a different color, font and background. Therefore it cannot mislead consumers, what is more important, these are goods of various kinds. The expert in the field of commodities found that use of the trade mark for cheap cigarettes has no effect on the reputation of Montblanc sign and there is no percolation of the two groups of consumer of both products. Also an expert in the field of social psychology, did not reveal blurring of Montblanc reputation by the use of the geographical name “Mont Blanc” on the cheap cigarettes.

Trade mark law, case XXII GWzt 17/09

June 28th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Leszek Dudarski sued PRO-MED POLSKA Daniel Celej for the infringement of the CTM KLIMUSZKO no. 003533692. Mr Dudarski is a licensee of this trade mark. The CTM is the surname of Father Czesław Andrzej Klimuszko, the famous priest and herbalist. The right to use the word trade mark KLIMUSZKO and recipes belongs to the church order Prowincja Św. Maksymiliana M. Kolbego Zakonu Braci Mniejszych Konwentualnych w Polsce (Franciszkanów). The order acquired this right by way of inheritance.

PRO-MED POLSKA Daniel Celej used signs such as BRACIA KLIMUSZKO SYROP CZARNY BEZ Z ŻURAWINĄ and Bracia Klimuszko on its syrup products and in advertising. PRO-MED argued that its trade marks and labels of syrup packagings are based on the history of monk brothers Jan and Albert Klimuszko. The folklore story abouth these two monks is known in eastern Poland. The identicality of Klimuszko names was unintended and entirely coincidental.

The Court for the Community Trade Marks and Community Designs (in Polish: Sąd Okręgowy w Warszawie Wydział XXII Sąd Wspólnotowych Znaków Towarowych i Wzorów Przemysłowych) in its judgment of 21 December 2009 case file XXII GWzt 17/09 ruled that the examination of the risk of confusion is the normative issue, and that there exist similarity of signs and goods. The Court prohibited the defendant from the use of the trade mark BRACIA KLIMUSZKO SYROP CZARNY BEZ Z ŻURAWINĄ in the course of trade and in advertising of syrup products.

Internet domains, case I ACa 1334/07

June 17th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The District Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 29 August 2007, case file XVI GC 756/06 dismissed the complaint filed by “Euro–net” sp. z o.o. against the judgment of the Court of Conciliation for Internet Domains at the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications of 23 March 2006 case file 22/05/PA in which the Court of Conciliation dismissed the “Euro-net” complaint against Rafał Falęcki in case of infringement of trade mark rights and unfair competition delict/tort concerning eurortv.com.pl domain name.

The Appellate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 16 April 2008 case file I ACa 1334/07 dismissed the appeal, although it also found that some of the allegations included in the complaint proved to be accurate. The Court of Conciliation violated the adversarial rule because it has conducted an investigation of evidence ex officio, by looking on web pages and performing a search for disputed words “euro” and “rtv” in Google. The Court has not made any survey protocol or notes. This was made personally by the arbitrator without a request of both parties, however, the parties have not raised any comment to that evidence. The Court of Conciliation should issue the provision of evidence, indicating the date and place to carry out, so the parties could participate in this investigation. However, the appeal did not contain any allegations as to the veracity of the abovementioned evidence. The court may conduct investigation of evidence ex officio and on its own initiative but it should do it only in situations of an exceptional nature.

The Appellate Court did not agree with the “Euro-net” that the circumstances in which the investigation of evidence was conducted required special knowledge, and therefore should be subject to expert opinion. The Court of Conciliation made only a visual overview of the web pages of the plaintiff and the defendant, to which it was not necessary to posses special knowledge in the field of IT. The Appellate Court held that since the issue of the case was the infringement of “Euro-net” rights of protection for trade marks that was allegedly made by Rafał Falęcki in the Internet, therefore the inspection of his websites was sufficient way to determine whether and how the defendant used plaintiff’s trademarks. The expertise is not needed for such action, because a regular Internet user usually does not have such knowledge. It was a regular Internet user who could be mislead, in particular by a risk of associating the domain name with a registered trade marks, as defined in Article 296(2)(ii) of the Polish Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2001 No 49, item 508, consolidated text of 13 June 2003, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 119, item 1117, with subsequent amendments.

2. Infringement of the right of protection for a trademark consists of unlawful use in the course of trade of:
(ii) a trademark identical or similar to a trademark registered in respect of identical or similar goods, if a likelihood of misleading the public, including in particular a risk of associating the trademark with a registered trademark, exists;

However, there were no doubts for the Court that provisions of article 153 of the IPL mean that one cannot infringe the protection rights for a trade mark in the Internet.

Article 153
1. The right of protection shall confer the exclusive right to use the trademark for profit or for professional purposes throughout the territory of the Republic of Poland.
2. The term of the right of protection shall be 10 years counted from the date of filing of a trademark application with the Patent Office.
3. The term of protection may, at the request of the right holder, be extended for subsequent ten-year periods in respect of all or of a part of the goods.
4. The request referred to in paragraph (3) shall be submitted before the expiration of a running protection period, however not earlier than one year before the expiration thereof. The request shall be submitted together with the payment of a due protection fee.
5. The request referred to in paragraph (3) may also be submitted, against payment of an additional fee, within six months after the expiration of a protection period. The said time limit shall be non-restorable.
6. The Patent Office shall make a decision on refusal to extend the term of protection for a trademark, where the request has been submitted after the expiration of the time limit referred to in paragraph (5) or the due fees referred to in paragraphs (4) and (5) have not been paid.

According to the Court, one cannot use signs (or its elements) or similar trade marks, in its Internet domain names, if its business deals with selling the same group of products. There was no question that the mentioned above rule belongs to the fundamental socio-economic principles of the legal order of the Republic of Poland. However, in this case, such conditions were not met, bacuse all signs constituting “Euro-net” trade marks and used by Rafał Falęcki lack distinctive character, there was no risk of confusion, and there existed the exclusion of protection of signs as set out in article 156(1)(ii) of the IPL.

1. The right of protection shall not entitle the right holder to prohibit third parties from using, in the course of trade:
(ii) indications concerning, in particular, the features and characteristics of goods, the kind, quantity, quality, intended purpose, origin, the time of production or of expiration of usability period,

There is one thing I wanted to add. I asked the Appellate Court in Warsaw to send me the judgment via e-mail. My request was based on the Polish Act on access to public information. On 14 June 2010 I received an e-mail from the Court.

W związku z wnioskiem z dnia 11 czerwca 2010 r. o udostępnienie informacji publicznej uprzejmie informuję, że opłata za udostępnienie treści wyroku Sądu Apelacyjnego w Warszawie z dnia 16 kwietnia 2008 r. w sprawie o sygn. akt I ACa 1334/07 wraz z uzasadnieniem – zgodnie z Zarządzeniem Nr 130/09 Prezesa Sądu Apelacyjnego w Warszawie z dnia 31 lipca 2009 r. – wynosi 8 zł (1 zł za stronę) – w wersji elektronicznej. Opłatę można uiścić w kasie Sądu, znakami sądowymi lub przelewem bankowym na konto Sądu Apelacyjnego w Warszawie nr 93 1010 1010 0404 1322 3100 0000 z dopiskiem ” informacja publiczna Adm. 0137-119/10″.

I was informed that according to the Decree No 130/09 of the President of the Appellate Court in Warsaw of 31 July 2009, the fee for access to the judgment – is 8 PLN (1 PLN per page) – in the electronic version. I had no time to argue so I decided to pay. However, as you may remember from my post entitled “E-access to public information, case I C 19/10“, price-lists and flat-rate charges for making the public information available, may violate the provisions of the Polish Act of 6 September 2001 on access to public information.

See also “Polish case law on domain names“.

Personal rights, case I ACa 572/11

June 5th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 18 January 2010, Michał Okonek, the owner of MAP1 company, filed a petition to the court with a request to order ParaRent.com Wawrzyniak Sp. j. company seated in Szczecin, to block access to the thread entitled “a suit for the use of a part of a map” which is available at www.forumprawne.org website (http://forumprawne.org/prawo-autorskie/501-pozew-za-wykorzystanie-fragmentu-mapy.html) operated by ParaRent.com. Mr Okonek also requested the court to prohibit ParaRent.com to publish of new content concerning Michał Okonek at foras available at forumprawne.org website. Mr Okonek pointed out that ParaRent.com allows its users for posting and sharing information that unjustly accuse him of extorting money, making false statements, misleading the courts and prosecution, intimidation of Internet users, even for distributing of pornography. Moreover, users of forumprawne.org called Mr Okonek as the swindler and the parasite, while he only uses the right to sublicense the use of copyrighted works such as digital maps.

The District Court in Szczecin in its decision of 4 February 2010, case file I Co 26/10 sided with Mr Okonek and issued the order blocking the aforementioned thread. ParaRent decided to appeal.

The Appellate Court in Szczecin in its decision of 18 May 2010, case file I ACz 296/10 overruled the ban. The Court held that in cases filed against the public media, for the protection of personal rights/property, the court may refuse to grant an injunction against publication of given information if the important public interest opposes such injunction/ban.

Michał Okonek filed another lawsuit against ParaRent.com, for the protection of personal rights and compensation. The case was linked with a blocked thread. The District Court in Szczecin VIII Economic Division in its judgment of 5 May 2011 case file VIII GC 106/10 dismissed the complaint. The Court ruled the administrator of forumprawne.org website cannot be held responsible for comments that appeared on his website, unless Mr Okonek proves that the content of posts/comments was illegal, and the fact that the administartor had knowledge regarding such posts or comments, or received information from a reliable source regarding such posts or comments, and that the administrator did not fulfill his duty to disable access to such illegal content. All these prerequisite must be met together. The Court ruled that the administrator cannot arbitrarily interfere with the content published by users. These limits are set by the TOS of the forum website and the law. The Court noted that too much interference may lead to violation of freedom of expression, and thus it may also be an infringement of personal interests of users. The Court has also interpreted the meaning of the “credible information” of the illegal character of the stored data as provided in the Article 14 the Polish Act of 18 July 2002 on Providing Services by Electronic Means – PSEM – (in Polish: ustwa o świadczeniu usług droga elektroniczną), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 144, item. 1204 with subsequent amendments.

1. A person who gives access to the contents of a network IT system to a customer, where the customer stores data, is not aware of the illegal features of the data or activity connected with the data and upon receiving an official notification or credible information about the illegal features of the data or activity connected with it, immediately bars access to the data, shall not be responsible for the data.
2. A Service provider who has received the official notification of an illegal character of the stored data that was supplied by the customer, and prevented the access to the data, shall not be liable to the customer for damages resulting from preventing access to such data.
3. A service provider who has received credible information of the illegal character of the stored data supplied by the customer and prevented access to the data, shall not be liable to the customer for the damage resulting from preventing access to such data, if it has immediately notified the customer of the intention to prevent access to data.

For the adoption of the credibility of information, it is necessary to show that on the basis of credible information, the ISP had an objective opportunity to assess the illegality of data placed on the Internet by the customer. A different interpretation – that each request of an interested person (legal or natural) results in receiving of credible information of the illegal character of the stored data, would cause that, in principle, anyone whose activities fall within the online forum discussion, could remove data with reference to the violation of personal interest, and it would end any discussion. As the Court noted, such situation would be against the principle of freedom of expression and the essence of Internet activity. The Court also ruled that a complext topic on Map1 actions against Internet users, which appeared in a short period of time shows great interest in the subject and proves the difficulties of the current monitoring, which, moreover, is not a responsibility of the ISP. The Administrator is not a forum editor, the users of this forum are themselves. Mr. Okonek became a public figure and therefore he should more callous. The Court decided that the administrator had acted properly moderating only part of the disputed posts.

Mr Okonek appealed. The Appellate Court in Szczecin in its judgment of 26 October 2011 case file I ACa 572/11 dismissed the complaint.

Personal data protection, case I OSK 963/09

May 13th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in a judgment of 11 May 2010, case file I OSK 963/09, held that an editorial office would have to disclose private addresses of the journalists it employs. Presspublica – the publisher of “Rzeczpospolita” should disclose the private addresses of those of the journalists, who its readers intend to sue in court for the infringement of their personal rights. This decision is binding on all media. The SAC referred to article 29 of the Polish Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 29 October 1997, No. 133, item 883, unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with later amendments.

1. In case of providing the access to the data for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, the controller shall disclose the data kept in the data filing system to persons or subjects authorised by the law.
2. Personal data, exclusive of data referred to in Article 27 paragraph 1, may also be disclosed, for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, to persons and subjects other than those referred to in paragraph 1 above, provided that such persons or subjects present reliably their reasons for being granted the access to the data and that granting such access will not violate the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.
3. Personal data are disclosed at written and justified requests, unless the provisions of another law state otherwise. Such requests should include information allowing for identification of the requested personal data within the filing system and indicating their scope and purpose.
4. Disclosed personal data shall be used only pursuant to the purpose for which they have been disclosed.

The decision is especially dangerous to media. Why? Because in a situation, where anyone can request the disclosure of the journalists’ personal data (justifying it i.e. with the intent to file a civil lawsuit against them) those journalists can find themselves in a real and tangible danger posed by the unpredictable readers, bashed by the newspaper. In the case at hand, Krzysztof W. requested the addresses of the authors of the article published in Rzeczpospolita in 2007 in order to sue them in court for the infringement of his personal rights.

The court rejected his lawsuit, requesting that the plaintiff provide the most recent residential addresses of the defendants. The publisher refused to disclose the addresses, citing the provisions of the Press Law and stressing the importance of the right to privacy. It also pointed out the alternative manners of serving the lawsuit (at the defendants’ business address). Nonetheless, the General Inspector for the Protection of Personal Data disagreed with the publisher and obliged it to promptly disclose the data in question. The VAC in Warsaw dismissed the appeal and the SAC rejected the cassation claim, stating that the readers cannot be deprived of the possibility to defend their rights before courts merely because the personal data of the infringers remains unavailable.

See also “Polish regulations on personal data protection“, “Polish case law on personal data protection

Personal interests, case II CSK 580/09

May 1st, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in a judgment of 6 May 2010 case file II CSK 580/09 ruled that if there is a high probability of irreversible impairment of the fetus, the mother can decide whether to remove the pregnancy. The Court has confirmed that the decision on the abortion is every mother’s personal right/interest, and in the case of an infringement of such right, a woman has the right to seek the redress for the harm and damages to compensate for both parents increased costs of raising a handicapped child.

Internet domains, case I C 2179/09

April 26th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 2 March 2010, the District Court in Białystok I Civil Division issued in absentia judgment case file I C 2179/09, in which it ordered the defendant, a natural person known as “domain name investor” to discontinue the use of tygodnikpowszechny.pl domain name. The court ordered the defendant to publish a full-page paid ad in a weekly magazine, and two ads in two nationwide newspapers (Gazeta Wyborcza and Rzeczpospolita), with an apology defined by the Court. The court also ordered the defendant to pay the amount of 25000 PLN as compensation for infringement of personal rights of Tygodnik Powszechny sp. z o.o. company, and the amount of 15000 PLN as damages for infringement of personal rights of Father Adam Boniecki, the editor of Tygodnik Powszechny. These amounts should be transferred to Fundacji Polska Akcja Humanitarna (the Fundation Polish Humanitarian Action). The court ruled the judgment to be immediately enforceable. The judgment is final.

The court held that the use of Internet domain name may constitute a violation of personal rights taking into account the content which is visible at a website available under a given domain name. The questioned domain name was parked and directed to a website with advertising links. Such content, including texts, which were the visualization of sponsored links, constituted in Court’s opinion an infringement of personal rights.

This judgment is very important for Polish and foreign companies which became the target of cybersquatting if we consider that the Polish case law on personal interests, for instance the Appellate Court in Poznań in a judgment of 22 October 1991, case file I ACr 400/90, already established the rule that the firm under which the company conducts its business, has the same meaning in legal relations, as the name of an individual person.

See also “Polish case law on domain names“.

Personal interest, case I CSK 346/08

March 22nd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Roman Giertych issued critical opinions of the former Polish politician Jacek Kuroń, who died in 2004. Mr Giertych was sued by a son and a brother of Mr Kuroń. The Supreme Court in its judgment of 23 September 2009 case file I CSK 346/08 held that legal protection of personal interest in the form of the cult of the memory of the deceased person, is not dependent on the protection of personal rights and interests of that person, if such protection would have been afforded to this person when he or she was alive. Mr Giertych was found guilty. The Court ordered him to publish apology in the press, and to pay a compensation.

Personal interest, case I C 1272/09

March 19th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The District Court in Wrocław in its judgment of 18 March 2010 case file I C 1272/09 ruled that the advertising of one of the Polish banks that promoted payment cards in such a way that it used profile pictures of users of nasza-klasa.pl website infringed their personal rights. A user who logged into his or her profile was presented with an advertising that showed his or her face/image placed on credit card together with a slogan “your card for your personal account may look like this”. The Court held that users agreed to the provisions of the terms of service, but the permission to use their pictures concerned solely the purpose of social networking, not advertising. The Court ordered the owner of nasza-klasa.pl to pay the plaintiff 5000 PLN as a compensation. This judgment is not yet final.

Internet websites, case I C 1532/09

March 13th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Observatory of Media Freedom in Poland run by the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights reported on a case of Augustyn Ormanty, the mayor of Kalwaria Zebrzydowska town, who sued Tomasz Baluś, the administrator of naszakalwaria.pl website, for personal rights infringement after he found that the website hosted defamatory comments directed to his person. Mr. Ormanty decided to request the court to order the removal of 18 comments because he received negative response from Tomasz Baluś who claimed that these questioned statements put in the form of comments to information published at his website, are the individual opinions of people who wrote it, for the content of which, Tomasz Baluś is not responsible, because they are owned by their authors.

The District Court I Civil division in Kraków in a judgment of 11 MArch 2010 case file I C 1532/09 ruled that naszakalwaria.pl website cannot be deemed as the press according to provisions of the Polish Act of 26 January 1984 on Press law – APL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo prasowe), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 5, item 24, with subsequent amendmets, because it did not meet the criterion of periodicity. The court noted that naszakalwaria.pl website is rather a collection of publications and serves as a wall on which people are able to post their comments. The court emphasized that the purpose of Internet portals, such as naszakalwaria.pl is primarily to initiate and shape public debate on issues important to the local community. The court added that the Internet is, in principle, free from control and could be subject to control only, if it fits the regulation provided in the APL. The court also stated that Augustyn Ormanty failed to prove that the offensive – in his opinion – comments related to the facts. According to the Court, they were rather opinions, which in principle cannot be judged based on the criterion of truth and falsehood.

In addition, the court held that Tomasz Baluś had a limited capacity for meticulousy checking and editing of the entries appearing on the forum of his website because of their large numbers. The court stated that the measures taken by the Mr. Baluś to search and control the entries for vulgarity and to remove obviously insulting comments were sufficient. According to the Court, Mr. Ormanty had a possibility and the right to request the removal of comments he found insulting, based on provisions of Article 14 of the Polish Act of 18 July 2002 on Providing Services by Electronic Means – PSEM – (in Polish: ustwa o świadczeniu usług droga elektroniczną), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 144, item. 1204 with subsequent amendments.

1. A person who gives access to the contents of a network IT system to a customer, where the customer stores data, is not aware of the illegal features of the data or activity connected with the data and upon receiving an official notification or credible information about the illegal features of the data or activity connected with it, immediately bars access to the data, shall not be responsible for the data.
2. A Service provider who has received the official notification of an illegal character of the stored data that was supplied by the customer, and prevented the access to the data, shall not be liable to the customer for damages resulting from preventing access to such data.
3. A service provider who has received credible information of the illegal character of the stored data supplied by the customer and prevented access to the data, shall not be liable to the customer for the damage resulting from preventing access to such data, if it has immediately notified the customer of the intention to prevent access to data.

The court pointed out to the argument stating that the mayor is a public figure who must reckon with the fact that its activities may be subject to criticism. As a public figure, Mr. Ormanty should show greater resistance to critical opinions, negatively evaluating the performance of the functions entrusted to him. In conclusion, the Court added that the law has not kept pace with the development of modern technology and therefore, it does not precisely regulate the issues of freedom of expression in the Internet. Therefore, the careful evaluation of such situations, is entrusted to the judges. Their task is to ensure and guarantee the freedom of expression in similar cases.

See also “Social networking sites, case I A Ca 1202/09“.

Personal interest, case I A Ca 1202/09

March 3rd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Nasza-Klasa.pl website is a very popular Polish social networking service bringing together classmates. It provides its users with a possibility to contact and search for old friends. In 2008, an unknown person created an account for the name of Dariusz B., The fake profile included his personal data: name, place of residence, phone number, age and images. This account was set without the knowledge and the consent of Dariusz B. Many offensive comments were sent from this fake account to other users of the portal. These comments provoked negative emotions and responses from its recipients. Dariusz B. and his wife, tried to apologize to every person they met. Dariusz B. was also forced to change his phone number, and met with harsh comments from friends, and especially from the strangers. Maria B. – wife of Dariusz B. contacted Nasza-Klasa.pl by e-mails with the request to remove or to block the fake account. When it did not bring any results, they brought a lawsuit against Nasza-Klasa.pl.

Nasza-Klasa.pl was found responsible by both the District and the Apellate courts because it has not removed, or at least not immediately blocked the fake account, created in the name of Dariusz B., thereby making violations of his personal interests possible.

The Appellate Court in Wrocław in its judgment of 15 January 2010 case file I A Ca 1202/09 ruled that nature of the infringement performed by Nasza-Klasa.pl was to allow a third party to encroach on personal rights of Dariusz B., by not fulfilling its obligations under the Polish Act of 18 July 2002 on Providing Services by Electronic Means – PSEM – (in Polish: ustwa o świadczeniu usług droga elektroniczną), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 144, item. 1204 with subsequent amendments.

Article 14
1. A person who gives access to the contents of a network IT system to a customer, where the customer stores data, is not aware of the illegal features of the data or activity connected with the data and upon receiving an official notification or credible information about the illegal features of the data or activity connected with it, immediately bars access to the data, shall not be responsible for the data.

2. A Service provider who has received the official notification of an illegal character of the stored data that was supplied by the customer, and prevented the access to the data, shall not be liable to the customer for damages resulting from preventing access to such data.

3. A service provider who has received credible information of the illegal character of the stored data supplied by the customer and prevented access to the data, shall not be liable to the customer for the damage resulting from preventing access to such data, if it has immediately notified the customer of the intention to prevent access to data.

According to the Court, Nasza-Klasa.pl did not immediately block, and then delete the questioned fake account. Therefore, it forced Dariusz B. to bear a humiliating behavior caused by another person, which in consequence violated his serenity, good mood, sense of personal dignity, i.e. his personal interests. However, the Court did not agree with the argument that the standard of conduct, professionalism, requires the administrator to filter and delete statements that violate the law or may violate the law in an objective view, without a prior notice regarding such event. Putting such a requirement would be contrary to the provisions of Articles 14 and 15 in connection with Article 12 of the PSEM.

Personal interest, case I ACa 1176/09

February 26th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

In the summer of 2008, a popular Polish tabliod Super Express published a nude picture of Justyna Steczkowska that was taken on a Turkish beach during her holidays. The singer sued the publisher for the violation of privacy interest. The Appellate Court in Warsaw in a judgment of 24 February 2010, case file ACa 1176/09, awarded Justyna Steczkowska 80000 PLN compensation and ordered Super Express to publish an apology. The court held that there is no implied consent to the intrusion into privacy, even though it was the hotel’s private beach and a photographed person wasn’t too cautious.

Personal interest, case I CSK 217/09

February 26th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in a judgment of 28 January 2010, case file I CSK 217/09, held that the continuity and repetition of violations of reputation in a certain time interval justifies the possibility of drafting the press apology as provided for in Article 24 § 1 sentence II of the Civil Code in a suitably concise and more general way, that is sufficient for defining the legal contours of (substance/essense) the press tort, its perpetrator, the nature of the tort, statements about the harmed person that were affecting the reputation of his business.

Article 24
§ 1 The person whose personal interests are threatened by someone else’s action, may require the desist of that action, unless it is not illegal. In the event of the infringement one may also require, the person who committed the violation, to fulfill the actions necessary to remove its effects, in particular, to make a statement of the relevant content and appropriate format. According to the conditions laid down in the Code one may also require monetary compensation or payment of an appropriate amount of money for a social purpose indicated.
§ 2 If as the result of a breach of personal interests one has suffered pecuniary prejudice, the aggrieved person may claim compensation based on general principles.
§ 3 The above shall not prejudice the entitlements provided by other regulations, in particular in copyright law and the patent (invention) law.

The Court ruled that the infringement of the plaintiff’s personal interest/rights (his commercial reputation and the firm) was the result of the unacceptable “opinions” and “suggestions” issued by the defendant.

Internet domains, case I ACz 232/10

February 14th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

As polite fans would probably say, the condition of Polish football is at least “debatable”, and others might use more crude words. The corruption and inefficient management of the Polish national football leagues are the tip of the Iceberg. This situation causes frustration of many people who try to blame the Polish Football Association (PZPN) for all their miseries. Some of these people decided to take matters into their own hands. They formed the Association of Defenders and Supporters of the Polish Football. They registered koniecpzpn.pl (end of Polish Football Association) as an Internet domain name and started to host a website with critical publications on PZPN under that domain. One didn’t need to wait too long before lawyers representing the Polish Football Association entered “the game”. New players acting on behalf of the Polish Football Association requested the court to issue a preliminary injunction in order to secure the case for the future action for trade mark protection and for the protection of personal rights.

The District Court in Lódż, I Civil Division, in its order of 14 January 2010, case file I Co 203/09 granted the injunction and ordered the prohibition of placing at koniecpzpn.pl website the following trade marks owned by PZPN: R-142616, R-170024, R-188961 and R-188962, the Court also ordered a block on the access to the content of the website available under www.koniecpzpn.pl domain name. The Court set the PZPN a two-week deadline for lodging the petition instituting proceedings for trade mark protection and the protection of personal rights under the pain of withdrawing the injunction in case no lawsuit was filed by that date.

The Appellate Court in Łódź in its decision of 24 March 2010 case file I ACz 232/10 annulled the injunction. The Court held that PZPN did not exactly specified which claims it intends to enforce. The Court ruled that all claims should be precisely specified in the request because the lack of precise claims make impossible to verify whether conditions for the injunction are met, i.e. whether the claim is reliable and the applicant has legal interest (locus standi) in enforcing it. The Court also noted that the injunction would be unduly restrictive and burdensome beyond measure. According to the Court the blocking of a website could be considered as inadmissible preventive censorship.

See also “Polish case law on domain names“.

Personal data protection, case I OSK 667/09

February 13th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 15 January 2008, Tomasz W. filed with the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection (GIODO) a complaint concerning an unauthorized processing of personal data carried out by the Polish company Nasza Klasa Sp. z o.o. from Wroclaw, the owner of nasza-klasa.pl website. He informed the GIODO, that this very popular Polish website on classmates, hosts a photo featuring his image together with a list of names of other photographed people attached to it. Tomasz W. has repeatedly appealed to the website administrators with the request to remove his name from the list. However, he received no response from Nasza Klasa company.

As a result of the investigation, the GIODO found that on 31 December 2007, a registered user of nasza-klasa.pl posted classmates’ photo featuring students of a primary school. On the same day, another registered user, placed the names of people who were portrayed at the photograph – including the name and surname of Tomasz W. On 2, 9 and 14 January 2008, Tomasz W. requested Nasza Klasa Sp. z o.o. the removal of his personal data.

In a decision of 27 May 2008, case file DOLiS/DEC-314/08/13239, the GIODO, relying on the provisions of the Polish Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 29 October 1997, No. 133, item 883, unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with subsequent amendments, ruled that information on the applicant’s full name, school and class to which he attended, together with his image, are personal data and the data collector is Nasza Klasa Sp. z o.o.

However, the GIODO also ruled that it should be borne in mind that according to the provision of the Polish Act of 18 July 2002 on Providing Services by Electronic Means – PSEM – (in Polish: ustwa o świadczeniu usług droga elektroniczną), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 144, item. 1204 with subsequent amendments, Nasza Klasa sp. z o.o. provides electronic services for registered users of the portal website, consisting of the storage of data of these users in the computer system. This activity is the condition to legalize the processing of personal data in accordance with article 23(1) pt. 5 of the PPD. In addition, the GIODO found that in this case the applicant’s rights have not been violated, because the access to its data was limited to a group of people registered on nasza-klasa.pl website.

Tomasz W. asked the GIODO for the retrial. He pointed out that the reasons for the decision have many contradictions, inconsistencies and is ambiguous. He accused the GIODO of laconic and cursory treatment of his case. He again emphasized that his personal data have been published on the nasza-klasa.pl website without his knowledge or consent, in violation of his civil rights and liberties.

After the rehearing of the case, the GIODO annulled the contested decision, and discontinued the proceedings. GIODO claimed that the re-examination of the case leads to the conclusion that the disputed information about Tomasy W. did not fall within the definition of personal data. The name and surname have been given under his old image from many years ago. Hence, the combination of photos from the past, with a name and surname of a person and a primary school, which such person attended did not allow for the identification of a person without excessive costs and time. The findings that the disputed information is not personal data within the meaning of the PPD caused the proceedings in the matter to be groundless and on the basis of article 105 § 1 of the APC, it had to be discontinued.

Tomasz W. lodged a complaint with the Viovodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw. The complainant asked for annulment of the decision of first and second instance. Tomasz W. claimed the violation of the substantive law, i.e. article 6(1) of the PPD, through its improper interpretation, of article 32(1) pt 7 and 8 of that Act, by recognizing that Tomasz W. is not entitled to request cessation of the processing of his data and the right to object, and a breach of article 7 of the APC by not explaining all the relvant facts. Tomasz W. disagreed with the statement of the GIODO that questioned information about his person is not personal data within the meaning of the PPD. He stated that any information about an identified or identifiable individual is personal data. Furthermore, he argued that the claim of the GIODO that the data are available only for specific people – registered users of the portal is not acceptable, because nasza-klasa.pl has no mechanisms for verification of users identity, which makes the questioned data easily accessible for everyone. Moreover, Tomasz W. also argued that a registered user who does not know him would have some difficulty in identifying his person but such obstacles would not happen to a person who knows about Tomasy W., and is looking for additional information.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 3 March 2009 case file II SA/Wa 1495/08 ruled that the GIODO erred in its decisions, because information about the name and surname of Tomasz W., combined with information about the name and address of the primary school and the determination of the class to which he attended in 1978/79, even if it was thirty years ago, are personal data. According to the Court provisions of article 1 of the PPD introduced the principle of autonomy of human information, meaning the protection of information about human being. This provision is a kind of emanation of the general right guaranteed by the Polish Constitution in article 47, according to which “Everyone shall have the right to legal protection of his private and family life, of his honour and good reputation and to make decisions about his personal life”. This means that the protection of personal data is related to the protection of privacy rights. This follows from the wording of article 6 of the PPD, indicating that the personal data concern identified or identifiable natural or legal person and that the identifiable is a person is one whose identity can be determined. From wording of that provisions the VAC concluded that personal data are data that identify a person’s identity. The VAC also relied on the content of recital 12 of the Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, which emphasized the protection of all data relating to a person, and therefore also information about someones past.

(12) Whereas the protection principles must apply to all processing of personal data by any person whose activities are governed by Community law; whereas there should be excluded the processing of data carried out by a natural person in the exercise of activities which are exclusively personal or domestic, such as correspondence and the holding of records of addresses

However, in recital 26 of the abovementioned Directive states that data protection rules must apply to any information concerning an identified or identifiable person. In order to determine whether a person is identifiable, all the means which can be used by the controller or any other person to identify a person, should be taken into the account. The rules of data protection do not apply to data rendered anonymously in such a way that a subject of the data can not be identified. The identification of a given person concerns also past information about a specific human being, by which information one can learn about such person’s identity. Accordingly, the VAC held that European law means the protection of personal data as the protection of all the facts concerning the past of a particular person, which corresponds with the content of article 6(2) of the PDP. So this means that such data would also be protected. Referring to the foregoing facts of Tomasz W. case, the VAC ruled that that nasza-klasa.pl website published his image and name. In the opinion of the court these are the personal data which are protected by the PPD, because on their basis one is able to identify given person.

Nasza Klasa sp. z o.o. filed a cassation complaint with the Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) challenging in entirety the judgment of the VAC. The Supreme Administrative Court in a judgment of 18 November 2009, case file I OSK 667/09, rejected the complaint. The SAC held that the primary issue arising in this case was whether a classmates’ picture that was taken thirty years ago, at which Tomasz W. is potrayed, in the circumstances of the case, can be analyzed to determine his identity without necessarily involving excessive resources or time, and therefore, whether the data disclosed in the photo in question, constitutes personal data within the meaning of article 6 of the PPD, and whether it should be protected.

The concept of “personal data” on the Polish law includes any information concerning an individual if it is possible to define its identity and its identification. Personal data is a set of messages about a particular person such integrated that it allows for its individualization. It includes at least information necessary for identification (name, surname, place of residence), but this is not restricted, because it also include further information, strengthening the degree of identification. Such information will also include pictures of the individual, even if they were taken in the past, allowing to identify a person. In a situation where such a photograph is presented with a name and surname of the person portrayed, in a place accessible to an unlimited number of entities, it must be considered that it constitutes personal data subject to protection under the PPD. Mainly, the objective evaluation criteria decides for the qualification of given information as personal data, but it also should comprise of all information, including extralinguistic (context), to which third party may have or has an access. A different approach to the presented issues would maginalize the importance of the laws and it would not relate to its designated function.

Thus it should be considered that the image of Tomasz W. portrayed at the photograph that was taken 30 years ago, affixed with the class, his name and surname, and then published at nasz-klasa.pl website constitutes personal data within the meaning of article 6(2) of the PPD, and the cassation complaint was not justified. The SAC also noted that the consent for the processing of personal data cannot be in any way implied.

The SAC also stressed the fact the Internet as a source of information is increasing on a unknown scale and importance. It provides an access to specific information to a vast number of persons and allows for any of its processing within the meaning of the PPD. At the same time there are not yet developed appropriate mechanisms for the protection of individual rights when those rights have been violated as a result of the disclosure of information on the Internet. Then, it is a great role of law enforcement bodies, including the Inspector General for Personal Data Protection in creating practice to comply with applicable laws also on the Internet. It is an unacceptablr situation in which the entity seeks to remove its image from a particular website, and the administration fails to take action to ensure the protection of civil rights. The image is one of the very personal property rights and lack of consent to its publication, if it is not a public person, is a sufficient reason to believe that regulations of the PPD apply, if the conditions set in the article 6(2) of the PPD have been met. There is a legal sequel to this story. See “Personal data protection, case II SA/Wa 1212/10“.

See also “Polish regulations on personal data protection” and “Polish case law on personal data protection“.

Personal data protection, case II SA/Wa 71/07

February 12th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

A lawyer representing one Polish entrepreneur, and as you already know personal data of the parties are removed from Polish courts’ judgments, requested the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection (GIODO) to issue an order to Home.pl company from Szczecin, to disclose personal data such as name, surname, the firm, address, office’s seat, phone number and e-mail address of a person, which had only published its caller id, and who registered a certain Internet domain name. The lawyer stated that his client is claiming the right to use the questioned domain name and the requested information is necessary for the initation of the arbitration proceedings before the Court of Conciliation at the the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Home.pl refused to provide the abovementioned personal data, arguing that the parties of the legal relationship arising from the fact of the registration and maintenance of Internet domain names are the Research and Academic Computer Network (in Polish: Naukowa i Akademicka Sieć Komputerowa) – the national registry of the .pl domain, and the domain name subscriber.

The GIODO performed an investigation based on the administrative proceedings regulations. The GIODO did an inspection of the Company’s headquarters and found that Home.pl maintains a separate collection of data of subscribers who have registered their domain names in NASK through Home.pl services. NASK is the national domain name registrar, while Home.pl arranges for the registration and maintenance of Internet domain names. Home.pl represents an applicant for the domain name registration before NASK. A natural or legal person and Home.pl have to establish a legal relationship based on a registration contract in order to register the domain name in NASK. The legal relationship is based on registering and maintaining of the internet domain name. The GIODO found that in this case, the contested domain name was registered by a natural person.

In September 2006, the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection issued an administrative decision which ordered Home.pl to disclose personal data of the individual who registered the Internet domain name in question, the name, surname, address, phone number and e-mail address. Home.pl requested for a retrial of the case. The GIODO upheld the decision and Home.pl filed a complaint against it.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC) in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 Novmeber 2007 case file II SA/Wa 71/07 ruled that the complaint was based on Article 29(2) in connection with Article 22 of the Polish Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 29 October 1997, No. 133, item 883, unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with subsequent amendments.

Article 29
1. In case of providing the access to the data for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, the controller shall disclose the data kept in the data filing system to persons or subjects authorised by the law.
2. Personal data, exclusive of data referred to in Article 27 paragraph 1, may also be disclosed, for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, to persons and subjects other than those referred to in paragraph 1 above, provided that such persons or subjects present reliably their reasons for being granted the access to the data and that granting such access will not violate the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.
3. Personal data are disclosed at written and justified requests, unless the provisions of another law state otherwise. Such requests should include information allowing for identification of the requested personal data within the filing system and indicating their scope and purpose.
4. Disclosed personal data shall be used only pursuant to the purpose for which they have been disclosed.
(…)
Article 22
The proceedings with respect to the matters regulated by this Act shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure, unless other provisions of the law state otherwise.

According to the VAC, the provisions of Article 29(1) and (2) allow third parties to request the disclosure of personal data for purposes other than inclusion in the collection. It should be noted that these provisions being in force until 1 May 2004, gave no grounds to demand the disclosure if the controller was the private sector. This situation changed after the amendment of 22 January 2004. The Court noted that the request for disclosure of personal data may be filed by any person i.e. natural person, any organizational unit, both public and private. It is important that the possesion of personal data is necessary to achieve intended goals, and the request for personal data is credible and reasonable. Such request does not require a collector to disclosure personal data because it must assess whether the conditions have been met to provide such data according to provisions of Article 29 of the PPD.

1. In case of providing the access to the data for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, the controller shall disclose the data kept in the data filing system to persons or subjects authorised by the law.
2. Personal data, exclusive of data referred to in Article 27 paragraph 1, may also be disclosed, for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, to persons and subjects other than those referred to in paragraph 1 above, provided that such persons or subjects present reliably their reasons for being granted the access to the data and that granting such access will not violate the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.
3. Personal data are disclosed at written and justified requests, unless the provisions of another law state otherwise. Such requests should include information allowing for identification of the requested personal data within the filing system and indicating their scope and purpose.
4. Disclosed personal data shall be used only pursuant to the purpose for which they have been disclosed.

However, the VAC stressed that fact that collector’s discretion cannot mean its arbitrariness. In the case of the unfounded refusal to provide personal data according Article 29 (2) of the PPD, the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection shall have the right – in accordance with Article 18(1) pt. 2 of the PPD – to require the disclosure of personal data.

1. In case of any breach of the provisions on personal data protection, the Inspector General ex officio or upon a motion of a person concerned, by means of an administrative decision, shall order to restore the proper legal state, and in particular:
(…)
2) to complete, update, correct, disclose, or not to disclose personal data,

Undoubtedly, the request for the disclosure of personal data must be credible and legitimate. Thus, if such request is do not precluded by provisions of article 27 of the PPD, the collector must disclose such data.

1. The processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, religious, party or trade-union membership, as well as the processing of data concerning health, genetic code, addictions or sex life and data relating to convictions, decisions on penalty, fines and other decisions issued in court or administrative proceedings shall be prohibited.
2. Processing of the data referred to in paragraph 1 above shall not constitute a breach of the Act where:
1) the data subject has given his/her written consent, unless the processing consists in erasure of personal data,
2) the specific provisions of other statute provide for the processing of such data without the data subject’s consent and provide for adequate safeguards,
3) processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another person where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving his/her consent until the establishing of a guardian or a curator,
4) processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the statutory objectives of churches and other religious unions, associations, foundations, and other non-profitseeking organisations or institutions with a political, scientific, religious, philosophical, or trade-union aim and provided that the processing relates solely to the members of those organisations or institutions or to the persons who have a regular contact with them in connection with their activity and subject to providing appropriate safeguards of the processed data,
5) processing relates to the data necessary to pursue a legal claim,
6) processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations of the controller with regard to employment of his/her employees and other persons, and the scope of processing is provided by the law,
7) processing is required for the purposes of preventive medicine, the provision of care or treatment, where the data are processed by a health professional subject involved in treatment, other health care services, or the management of health care services and subject to providing appropriate safeguards,
8) the processing relates to those data which were made publicly available by the data subject,
9) it is necessary to conduct scientific researches including preparations of a thesis required for graduating from university or receiving a degree; any results of scientific researches shall not be published in a way which allows identifying data subjects,
10) data processing is conducted by a party to exercise the rights and duties resulting from decisions issued in court or administrative proceedings.

The Court had to consider the question of whether the application met the conditions set in Article 29 of the PPD. The legal representative proved that, the disclosure of personal data of a person who registered the disputed domain because was necessary for the initation of the arbitration proceedings before the Court of Conciliation at the the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications. The Court noted that the arbitration proceedings are held in accordance with Article 1188 § 1 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments. The proceedings before the Court of Conciliation starts with the lodging of the statement of claim (the suit), which means that the suit should comply with the conditions laid down in Article 187 § 1 of the CPC. Under that provision, the statement of claim should meet the requirements of the pleading, and it also shall include: clearly defined demand in matters of property rights and the value of the claim, unless the case concerns the amount of money. The suit shall include all facts justifying the request and, if necessary, to justify the jurisdiction of the court. In accordance with Article 126 § 1 pt. 1 of the CPC, every pleading shall also contain, inter alia, the designation of the court to which it is addressed, the name or names of the parties, their legal representatives and/or agents. Therefore, the essential element of the claim for infringement of personal rights is to show the person against whom the request is addressed, i.e. the defendant in future proceedings for infringement of personal rights, and defendant’s address. The VAC found that the request in the Home.pl case was fully justified. The Court also confirmed that Home.pl is the controller within the meaning of Article 7(4) of the PPD, because according to the agreement with NASK, Home.pl decides on the purposes and means of the processing of personal data related to people who registered domain names. Thus, the party of the case was Home.pl, not NASK.

See also “Polish regulations on personal data protection“, “Polish case law on personal data protection” and “Polish case law on domain names“.