Archive for: Art. 15 CUC

Unfair competition, case III CZP 58/09

October 19th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The court of first instance held that the basic relationship linking the parties was the agreement of sale of goods defined as to its kind/sort, and therefore, the ownership of the goods sold by the plaintiff to the defendant passed in the moment of their release. Therefore, the fees for marketing services and logistics were taken for actions which the defendant has taken in relation to his goods. The Court also ruled the breach of article 15(1) point 4 of the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition – CUC – (in Polish: ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 47, item 211, with subsequent amendments.

Article 15
1. An act of unfair competition is the introduction of difficulties for other entrepreneurs to access the market through:
1) the sale of goods or services below their purchase cost in order to eliminate other entrepreneurs,
2) the enticement of third parties to refuse to sell to other entrepreneurs or to purchase goods or services from other entrepreneurs,
3) materially justified differences in the treatment of some customers,
4) collection of charges other than commercial margins for accepting goods for sale,

According to the Court the fees charged to the plaintiff limited its access to the market. If it had not give his consent, the defendant wouldn’t establish a cooperation. The Court did not found any evidence to charge fees for marketing services and for the common commercial policy.

The defendant appealed and the court of second instance having some doubts decided to request the Supreme Court to answer the question whether article 18(1) point 5 of the CUC creates an independent basis to the claim by the buyer for an improperly obtained benefits.

Article 18
1. Where the act of unfair competition is committed, the entrepreneur whose interest is threatened or infringed may request:
1) relinquishment of prohibited practices,
2) removing effects of prohibited practices,
3) making one or repeated statement of appropriate content and form,
4) repairing the damage, pursuant to general rules;
5) handing over unjustified benefits, pursuant to general rules,

The Supreme Court in a resolution of 19 August 2009, case file III CZP 58/09, held that pursuant to article 18(1) point 5 of the CUC, the party may – regardless of other claims arising from the contract – to recover improperly obtained benefits from the collection of non-commercial premium charges for the acceptance of goods for sale.

Internet domains, case I ACz 364/08

October 1st, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Appellate Court in Białystok in its order of 6 May 2008, case file I ACz 364/08 ruled that, the registration and use of the Internet domain name which is the same as someone else already existing domain, may be regarded as an act of unfair competition. The definition is provided in the Article 3(1) of the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition – CUC – (in Polish: ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 47, item 211, with subsequent amendments.

Article 3
1. The act of unfair competition shall be the activity contrary to the law or good practices which threatens or infringes the interest of another entrepreneur or customer.

The court also noted that although the act of unfair competition takes place only when the arguing entrepreneurs can be regarded as competitors. However, there are not excluded situations where a website under a disputed domain name will be providing goods or services different from those associated with a given name on the non-virtual market. Also in such situation a person may request for the protection against violations of the rights to the domain name, especially when it is registered in order to block a domain by a competitor, if it identifies an inactive website or a webpage or a website which is not updated nor offering any goods. Registration of such domains leads to a substantial impediment to market access for other entrepreneurs, which is in violation of Article 15 of the CUC. Such actions, however, have also an economic overtone, and therefore they concern the economic rights. The Court held that a claim filed in order to establish that someone is entitled to Internet domain names, and that actions of such a person will not infringe on the right of protection for a trade mark, and are not deemed as acts of unfair competition, are claims ensuing from property rights

See also “Polish case law on domain names“.