Archive for: Art. 7(2) API

Copyright law, case I OSK 678/11

November 3rd, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of the story described in “Copyright law, case II SAB/Łd 53/10“. The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 21 July 2011 case file I OSK 678/11 ruled that copyrighted works in the form of test questions, if they are used for the state exam, become official documents, and the unused questions, which are the so-called “pool of questions” are deemed as documentary material for the purposes of Article 4(2) of the Polish Act of 4 February 1994 on Authors Rights and Neighbouring Rights – ARNR – (in Polish: ustawa o prawie autorskim i prawach pokrewnych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 24, item 83, consolidated text of 16 May 2006, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 90, item 631, with subsequent amendments.

Art. 4. The following shall not be protected by copyright:
(1) normative texts and the drafts thereof,
(2) official documents, documentary material, devices and symbols,
(3) descriptions of patents and other protection titles,
(4) mere news items.

The court emphasized that different types of materials that are in the possession of the public bodies are not public information, because their content (intellectual property content) is not used or was not used in dealing with any of the public cases, and thus such material did not acquire the characteristics of official documents. Therefore, the argument raised in the cassation complaint that a particular set of questions or a single question from the pool of questions, that was not used in the state exam should be disclosed, was completely groundless.

See also “Polish regulations on copyright” and “Polish case law on copyright“.

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 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“.

E-access to public information, case I C 19/10

April 29th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Grzegorz W. made a request for access to minutes of meetings of the audit committee of the city council. He asked that the information was sent to his home address. The Municipality and City Czerwionka – Leszczyny replied that it is possible to get acquaint with the requested documents in their virtual version that was published in the Bulletin of Public Information. There was also an option to obtain a photocopy or computer file upon application and payment of a fee based on the provisions of Article 1(1) of the Polish Act of 6 September 2001 on Access to Public Information – API – (in Polish: Ustawa o dostępie do informacji publicznej), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 112, item 1198, with subsequent amendments.

Each information on public matters constitutes public information in the understanding of the Act and is subject to being made available on the basis of principles and under the provisions defined in this Act.

Grzegorz W. informed the Municipality and City Czerwionka – Leszczyny that he expects to receive the documents in the form of photocopies. All documents were sent along with the request for payment based on the rules issued by the Mayor on charges for making the public information available. Grzegorz W. refused to pay and urged the Mayor to amend the ordinance in question, as it was incompatible with the provisions of Articles 7(2) and 15(2) of the API.

Article 7. 1. Making public information available takes place by means of:
1) announcing public information, including official documents, in the Public Information Bulletin, mentioned in Article 8,
2) making it available, mentioned in Articles 10 and 11,
3) entrance into the meetings of the bodies, defined in Article 3, it. 1, point 3, and making the materials available, including the audio-visual and tele-communicating, documenting these meetings.
2. Access to public information is free, with the stipulation of Article 15.

Article 15. 1. If as a result of making public information on the petition, defined in Article 10, it. 1, the entity obliged to do this, is to incur the additional costs connected with the method defined in the petition of a method of making it available or necessity to transform the information in the form pointed in the petition, this entity is entitled to the payment from the petitioner covering these costs.
2. The entity, defined in it. 1, within 14 days of submitting the petition, shall notify the petitioner of the amount of the payment. Making the information available in accordance with the petition takes place after the expiration of the period of 14 days of notifying the petitioner unless the petitioner makes within this period the change in the petition in the scope of method and form of making this information available or withdraw the petition.

After very active exchange of letters and calls between both parties, the case went to the court. On 7 October 2009, the Referee in the Regional Court Katowice Wschód in Katowice made the order in the admonition proceedings case file I Nc 1140/09/13 and adjudged Grzegorz W. to pay 14,58 PLN plus costs of the proceedings. Grzegorz W. filed an objection against the order and the Municipality and City Czerwionka – Leszczyny sustained their claims. The Regional Court Katowice Wchód in Katowice in its judgment of 27 April 2010 case file I C 19/10 rejected all claims filed by the Municipality and City Czerwionka – Leszczyny. The Court held that Article 7(2) of the API introduced the principle of free access to public information. All exceptions to this rule are provided in Article 15(2) of the API. There are only two exceptions to the principle of free access. The first concerns the method (form) of making the information available and the second concerns a situation in which additional costs are associated with the transformation of the requested information. According to the Court, the forms should be understood by both the particular shape of the information held, which requires additional effort (for instance digitization and processing of documents held by the entity) and as a special way of making such information available. The Court also noted that the entity making the information available is obliged to ensure the possibility of copying of public information or its printout or sending the public information or transferring it to the appropriate, commonly used information carrier. The Court held that the Municipality and City Czerwionka – Leszczyny should also demonstrate that it had incurred additional costs. Finally, the Court also held that making the price-lists and introducing flat-rate charges for making the public information available, violates the provisions of the API because each price-list/tariff is a form of lump sum and this does not correspond to the essence of the costs actually incurred. Article 15(1) of the API indicates the additional costs and therefore the costs that were actually incurred by a given entity.

See also “Polish case law on e-access to public information“.