Archive for: Art. 132(3) IPL

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 611/11

April 30th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Patent Office partially refused to grant the right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark moja historia Z-338905. This sign was applied for PHOENIX PRESS Sp. z o.o. Sp.k. from Wrocław for goods and services in Class 09, 16, 35, 39, 41 and 42. The PPO based its refusal in Class 09, 16 and 41 on the earlier registration of the word-figurative trade mark Moja historia R-187793 owned by WYDAWNICTWO ERA Sp. z o.o. from Straszyn. PHOENIX only agreed that both companies are publishers, but the signs are meant for other goods and are directed to another recipients. Phoenix is a press publisher whose clients are adult women and WYDAWNICTWO ERA is a publisher of school history textbooks (mainly the history of Poland), which customers are students in primary schools.


The PPO decided that there exists similarity of signs and goods and services which may lead to consumers confiusion. PHOENIX filed a complaint against this decision. The Company argued inter alia that the PPO could grant the right of protection and it would not deprive WYDAWNICTWO ERA of protection provided for instance in the Polish Act on Combating of unfair competition, if PHOENIX’s trade mark would actually threaten the existence and functions of the trade mark owned by ERA.


The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 8 June 2011 case file VI SA/Wa 611/11 dismissed the complaint. The Court ruled that regulations on combating unfair competition are provided in a separate act, and it is justified by both the construction of the Polish legal system and due to the method of regulation. The law on combating unfair competition does not create absolute rights, but only the system of legal claims that provides protection in the event of unwanted and objectionable market behavior and actions (unfair competition delicts or torts), which is a different approach than those adopted in the Polish Industrial Property Law, which are based on the granting of absolute rights (monopolies) by an administrative decision.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 501/10

October 25th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company EDIPRESSE POLSKA S.A. from Warsaw applied for the right of protection for word trade mark NEW Z-294152 for goods in Classes 16, 35 and 41. The Polish Patent Office refused to register this sign claiming that it does not have sufficient distinctive character that would allow to individualize the source of the goods. The PPO concluded that the sign is not distinctive, because it informs that the goods and services for which the registration is sought, are… new. EDIPRESSE filed a complaint against this decision.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 27 May 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 501/10 held that the common practice of the Polish Patent Office in registering trade marks containing descriptive elements was definitely too liberal, especially if it is considered that while examining the registrability, the future interest of other entrepreneurs in access to a given sign should be taken into account. According to the VAC there must be a significant reduction in the number of registered trademarks with the descriptive elements, geographical or generic names, as the result of understanding the proper function of a trade mark, because the primarily function of a trade mark is to indicate the origin of the goods from a particular undertaking. If, therefore, the applied sign may be perceived by the average consumer as information about the characteristics (properties) of goods or services, the origin from a particular geographic area, it cannot be a trademark due to lack of distinctive ability which is required for trade marks. The importance of the principle of freedom of access to certain descriptive signs must therefore lead to a significant reduction in the number of signs with descriptive elements that were registered as individual trade marks. The judgment is not final.