Archive for: Art. 245 IPL

Trade mark law, case II GSK 487/12

June 27th, 2013, Tomasz Rychlicki

On May 2006, the Polish Patent Office granted the joint right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark SILMENT R-175055 for three Polish entrepreneurs – Stanisław Wilk, Jan Kosmala and Marek Siemiński. Mr Wilk requested the PPO for a change in the trade mark register. According to the donation agreement of January 2010, he has transferred to his son 1.65% of 33% of his share in the right to the trade mark. On June 2010, the PPO entered the name of his son and deleted Stanisław Wilk, however, after the request for re-examination, the PPO made another changes in the column A of the trade mark register, and entered both father and son as co-owners. Mr Kosmala filed a comaplaint against this decision. He argued that the supplied evidence did not allow for making such amendments. Mr Kosmala did not agree that a part of 33% share could be transferred to another person, because according the agreement of 2004 on the joint ownership, that was signed between Kosmala, Siemiński and Wilk senior, any joint owner could make a donation of the joint right to the right of protection for a trade mark SILMENT R-175055 only to the spouse and descendants of the first group of inheritance.


The Voivideship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 25 October 2011 case file VI SA/Wa 1409/11 noted that between co-owners to the trade mark SILMENT arose a dispute over the interpretation of the agreement. The Court ruled that, in principle, the right of protection for a trademark may be assigned or be subject to succession. The transfer of the right of protection may be effected only with the consent of the parties who enjoy that right. The agreement of assignment of a share in the joint right of protection should be only valid subject to the consent given by all of the joint owners. When examining the request for the change in the trade mark register, the PPO should investigate whether the submitted documents, supposed to provide grounds for taking a decision on entry in a register, are in accordance with this Polish Industrial Property Law and satisfy the effective provisions as to form. The entries should not be binding on an authority whose responsibilities, under the provisions of law, include deciding on a document founding the decision on entry in a register or in a case, the outcome of which may affect a decision of the Polish Patent Office on entry in the register. The “registry-entry” proceedings are designed to adjust the content of an entry with the current legal status, and a decision on the entry into the trade mark register has only a declaratory nature and it not a source of trade mark rights. Therefore, the cognition of the Polish Patent Office in matters of entries in the registry, is strictly defined. This means that while investigating the request for a change, the PPO cannot exceed those limits. As a result, the PPO cannot investigate the regularity of both the preparation of the documents submitted as a basis for entry in the registry, as well as make their interpretation. As there is dispute between the parties over the interpretation of the agreement, the PPO cannot agree to the interpretation of one of the parties. These doubts have to be resolved by a civil court. And if such dispute has not been initiated by a party, the PPO should stay proceedings and call the party to apply to the competent court, within the prescribed time, to provide a preliminary decision on the issue which is a condition of the settlement in the main case. Therefore,the Court annulled the contested decision, ruled it unenforceable, and ordered the PPO to consider the Court’s arguments during re-examination of the case.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 20 June 2013 case file II GSK 487/12 dismissed the cassation complaint. The SAC held that the controversy concerning the effects of the donation agreement in the light of the content of the co-ownership of a trade mark rights, has to be resolved by a proper civil court.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 1261/10

April 9th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Patent Office in its decision of 29 January 2010 case no. DT-581/08 refused to grant the right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark FILIPETTI MONTENERO SPUMANTE DEMI SEC DALLA TRADIZIONE ITALIANA Z-298140 that was applied for by Domain Menada Sp. z o.o. for goods in Class 33. The PPO decided that this trade mark is similar to the word trade marks FILIPETTI R-101614 and R-140718 owned by Belvedere S.A. Domain Menada argued that it is a part of the Belvedere Group, and provided a letter of consent. Domain Menada filed a complaint against this decision but the Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of of 21 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 710/10 dismissed it. See “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 710/10“. Domain Menada filed a cassation complaint.


The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 8 December 2011 case file II GSK 1261/10 ruled that the letter of consent was not binding and the PPO examined its effects in different aspects, based on gathered evidence, and it found that the letter of consent is not an exemption to grounds for refusing trade mark protection. The SAC stressed that the system of registration of trade marks under the Polish Industrial Property Law is to guarantee the protection of the interests of businesses and consumers. Under the present regulations, the Polish Patent Office may refuse to register a trade mark, despite the agreement between the professional entities that are active in business, due to the risk of misleading and confusion of consumers as to the origin of the goods from a particular entrepreneur. In this sense, the mere will of particular businesses does not directly create and shape the public policy. The PPO is a public authority that takes a decision on the registration of a trade mark, taking into account ex officio circumstances specified in the IPL. The PPO is therefore bound by the provisions of generally applicable laws, and these – as it was indicated above – protect the position and the consumer’s interest.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1319/11

November 28th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

Designer drugs are well-known as “dopalacze” in Poland (in English: boosters). They were freely available on the Polish market because of the legal loophole in the Polish Act of 29 July 2005 on Counteracting Drug Addiction. In 2010, after different mainstream media reported on several cases involving health problems caused by such drugs, the Polish Government ordered a nationwide crackdown on shops selling designer drugs, memory enhancers or noothropic substances.

In 2008, the Polish company KONFEKCJONER Sp. z o.o., one of the biggest suppliers of these products, tried to register the word trade mark Z-345673 in Classes 30, 33, 34 and 39, but the Polish Patent Office refused to grant the right of protection. KONFEKCJONER filed a complaint against this decision.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 4 October 2011 case file VI SA/Wa 1319/11 dismissed it, and held that the word trade mark DOPALACZE.COM was intended to designate, inter alia, herbal substitutes for coffee, alcoholic beverages, tobacco and smokers’ articles, and delivery of goods and parcels. The recipients of these goods and services are generally understood as the broadest public possible, and the “average consumer” is reasonably well informed and reasonably observant and circumspect. The Court ruled that the sign in question may suggest that the consumption of goods bearing this trade mark may cause specific narcotic effect. There was a sufficiently serious risk that consumers receive wrong message regarding the goods. Although, products such as coffee, cigarettes, tobacco, function as goods that add energy, they are treated as stimulants or tranquilizers, however, such a trade mark may suggest that the goods have been strengthened to induce a certain narcotic effect. Smokers’ articles are deemed as ancillary to the aforementioned goods for which the registration was sought, the same applies to delivery of parcels and goods.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1122/10

February 11th, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 25 October 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 1122/10 ruled that a trade mark application and examination case cannot be decided based on general assumptions and in an automatic way, because it is always resolved with regard to its specific conditions and references. The Polish Patent Office is required to conduct proceedings in such a way as to increase the trust of citizens in the State bodies and public awareness and appreciation of the law. According to the mentioned above principles, the PPO is required to precisely explain the circumstances of the case, respond to all claims and allegations and to include both public interest and the interests of the party, in the decision rendered.

Patent law, case file II GSK 85/11

November 22nd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 595/10 held that the terms “solution of a technical nature” or “technology” are not defined in the European Patent Convention. Thus, the development of these concepts depends on the practice of the EPO. There is no doubt that in practice, the EPO is using much more liberal criteria for assessing the patentability of computer-implemented inventions than in the initial period of application of the EPC. However, this position was not accepted by all parties to the Convention. In addition, the Enlarged Board of Appeal on 12 May 2010, refused to resolve the problem presented by the President of the EPO, on the interpretation of the exclusion of computer programs “as such” in the context of the criteria for patentability of inventions relating to computer programs, leaving the question to practice. It can be concluded that the practice of liberalization of evaluation criteria for patentability of computer-implemented inventions was not accepted by all experts of the EPO. There are cases of the EPO that were based on the same provisions of the Convention but came with divergent decisions, as well as cases in which almost identical provisions of the Convention and national laws are interpreted, respectively, by the EPO or national bodies in different ways. This case concerned the International Patent Application PCT/EP99/08958 “Record carrier, apparatus and method for playing back a record carrier, method of manufacturing a record carrier”.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 19 March 2012 case file II GSK 85/11 reversed the contested judgment and the decision of the PPO. The Court held that the decree of the President of the Polish Patent Office on the patentability of inventions has an internal character, and it can not be the basis of the justification of the decision.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 2127/09

September 10th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company AFLOFARM Fabryka Leków Sp. z o.o. applied for the word-figurative trade mark “tabletki na uspokojenie Aflofarm” (in English: Aflofarm tablets for calming down) Z-298475 for goods in classes 03, 05 and 44. The Polish Patent Office refused to grant the right of protection in part of the goods in class 5 covering dietetic substances for medical use, food for babies. The PPO held that the right of protection shall not be granted for a sign that misleads the public as to the nature and properties of the good. Such misleading information is a sign that may cause false image of the average buyer as to the nature of the product, its quality or properties. The assesment of content of a signs is made by him or her from the perspective of the average consumer. The interest of the buyers requires the assumption that the sign is misleading, once a small group of consumers may be misled as to the characteristics of the goods or services, since these characteristics may affect the decision taken, in relation to those goods or services. Under such assumption, the assessment cannot be affected by anything outside the relationship sign – the goods with the reasonable buyer’s idea on such relationship. It follows that the sign “tabletki na uspokojenie Aflofarm” on the goods listed in class 5 should be considered as misleading the buyers as to the nature, purpose, or functional characteristics of these goods.


AFLOFARM argued, that it’s not true that the buyer/consumer “is left alone” with a sign and a product bearing the questioned trade mark. These products are only available in pharmacies and are issued only by a professional that is a pharmacist. Thus it excludes the confusion of the average consumer as to whether he or she has bought the wrong product.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 18 March 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 2127/09 agreed with AFLOFARM’s arguments and reversed the contested decision. The Court also noticed that “tabletki na uspokojenie Aflofarm” trade mark was applied for dietary agents/means for medical use, rather than dietary substances for medical purposes. For this reason, the Court held that the goods that are marked with a “tabletki na uspokojenie Aflofarm” trade mark will not cause consumers’ confusion since products of such indications or effectiveness can be classified differently, depending on their registration or application.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 710/10

August 30th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 25 July 2005, DOMAIN MENADA Sp. z o.o. from Warsaw applied for the right of protection for FILIPETTI MONTENERO SPUMANTE DEMI SEC dalla tradizione italiana trade mark in class 33. The Polish Patent Office informed DOMAIN MENADA that there exist earlier trade marks owned by Belvedere S.A. and refused to grant the right of protection for the applied sign. DOMAIN MENADA filed a complaint in which the company argued that it is a member of Belvedere Group and provided a proper letter of consent.


The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 21 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 710/10 held that in any case, the mere existence of links (relationships) between entities belonging to the same capital group cannot be regarded as a guarantee of quality of product bearing the disputed trademark. It should be noted that the capital group is a specific form of business, where corporate governance is exercised at several levels – both across the group and in individual companies. The mere membership in a capital group cannot be used as an argument that the signs from affiliated companies will not mislead consumers.

Patent law, case VI SA/Wa 327/10

May 27th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative court in its judgment of 28 April 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 327/10 held that the Polish Patent Office should provide translation into Polish of documents that were allowed as evidence in administrative proceedings. Such conclusions stem from the Act of 7 October 1999 on the Polish language published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 1999 No 90 item 999. The authority/body provides official actions of public administration in the Polish language. The aforementioned act obliges the authority to make foreign language translation of the document. The examination of the contents of the document should be conducted in Polish, the one and only official language of the Polish administrative proceedings. Only then one can say that the procedural step, which consists of taking evidence from a document written in a foreign language, has been carried out correctly. The constitutional principle, which is reflected in rules of the Act on the Polish language, provides that the official language of the Republic of Poland is Polish and it requires that the documents being major evidence that affects the outcome of the administrative case, has been translated into Polish. Only then will it be possible to assess the accuracy of the examination of the content of such document.

Patent law, case VI SA/Wa 2279/08

October 27th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 27 May 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 2279/08 ruled that the Polish Patent Office is not an authority that mechanically approves patents granted by the EPO. The Court held that if the dispute between the applicant and the Polish Patent Office related to the nature of the invention, as is was in this case, by refusing to grant a patent, the Patent Office in principle cannot merely on its own conviction as to the subject of the patent application. The PPO should seek to gather sufficient evidence to support its position. Such evidence could include witness-expert testimony. The absence of a comprehensive hearing of evidence and basing the questioned decisions mostly on its own belief in the recognition, what is the subject of the patent application, and such a situation took place in this case, justified the infringement of Articles 7, 77 § 1 and Article 107 § 3 of the APC, as having a significant impact on the outcome of the case.

Article 7
Public administration bodies shall uphold the rule of law during proceedings and shall take all necessary steps to clarify the facts of a case and to resolve it, having regard to the public interest and the legitimate interests of members of the public.


Article 77.
§ 1. The public administration body is required to comprehensively collect and examine all evidential material.
§ 2. At each stage of proceedings a body can amend, supplement or withdraw rulings made regarding the examination of evidence.
§ 3. An body conducting proceedings as a result of having been required to do so by the body having jurisdiction to settle the case (Article 52) may, on an ex officio basis or on application by one of the parties, hear new witnesses or experts on circumstances that form the objects of such proceedings.
§ 4. Universally accepted facts and facts known to the body ex officio do not require proof. Parties to proceedings should be informed of facts that are known to the body.


Article 107.
§ 1. A decision should contain: the name of the public administration body, the date of issue, the name(s) of the party or parties, the legal authority referred to, a ruling, a factual and legal justification, an advisory notice as to whether and how an appeal may be brought and the signature, name and position of the person authorised to issue the decision. Any decision which may be challenged by a petition to the civil court or a complaint to the administrative court should contain an advisory notice that such a petition or complaint may be brought.
§ 2. Other regulations may contain other elements which a decision should contain.
§ 3. The factual justification of the decision should contain the facts that the body regards as proven, the evidence relied upon and the reasons for which other evidence has been treated as not authentic and without probative force. The legal justification should contain the legal authority for the decision with reference to the relevant law.
§ 4. If the decision fully reflects the demands of the party then there is no need to provide a justification for the decision, but this does not apply to decisions in contentious cases and decisions given on appeal.
§ 5. A body can also dispense with a justification of a decision in such cases if under current statutory regulations there is a possibility of dispensing with or limiting the justification because of the interests of State security or public order.

The Court ruled that the PPO should make a thorough analysis of the concept of “technical character of the invention” and should indicate why it interprets it very narrowly, taking in this respect the view of the EPO. The PPO should also consider whether the European patent has been granted for the same solution, and examine the merits of different assessment of the invention in Poland. During the re-hearing of the case the PPO will will take the position whether the applied solution has been sufficiently disclosed, and if so, only then will further examine its patentability, given that one of the elements of assessing the patentability of the invention is a technical solutions. Due to the lack of legal definition of a “solution of a technical nature” in assessing a technical nature of the present invention the PPO is obliged to indicate what in the opinion of the PPO is deemed as “technical solution”. The PPO will assess the technical nature of the claimed invention and will refer to the applicant’s arguments, if the interpretation of that concept made by the PPO would continue to differ on how this concept is understood to the applicant.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 401/08

September 8th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 23 March 2002, “Sery ICC” Company from Paslek applied for trade mark protection for a form of plain package Z-248526 that preserves the cheese, in classes 2, 29 and 40 for goods such as dietary food for therapeutic purposes, baby food, milk and milk products, cheese, butter, margarine, milk processing and product cheeses.


The Polish Patent Office (PPO) acknowledged that such packaging is not suitable to distinguish any goods of one undertaking from the another, especially yellow cheese. According to the PPO, a shape of the package in the form of a rectangle, with slightly rounded sides in black, is nothing special in the cheese industry. The PPO noted that such packages are available on the Belgian market and refused to grant protection for the 3D sign. The Polish Patent Office has ruled on lack of distinctiveness. According to the PPO, a plain shape of the package in black, without any additional elements will not help the average consumer to identify a product with a particular manufacturer, or in particular, with a company with Paslek. “Sery ICC” has also applied for another 3D mark – black packaging with a label “Ser Staropolski” and the protection right was granted by the PPO, R-166989.


The PPO reiterated that a sign must be assessed in its entirety (the shape and color) and ICC’s first application did not meet the requirements of distinctiveness which also means that it has not any distinguishing characteristics and it cannot be used to indicate the origin of the goods properly.

“Sery ICC” appealed against the PPO’s decision. The Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC) in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 July 2008, case file VI SA/Wa 401/08 has noted serious errors in the decision and ruled it void. In the application proceedings before the PPO in the case of refusal to grant the protection right, an applicant may request a re-hearing of the matter by the PPO. And the second decision may be appealed before the VAC. In accordance with article 245(1) of the Polish Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej) of 30 June 2000, 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 later amendments, the Office must decide whether to grant protection or to refuse to do so. This is the most important and missing part in the contested decision. The VAC did not assess whether such a mark can obtain protection or not. Once the judgment is final and binding, the case will return to the Polish Patent Office for re-hearing.

Access to public information, case II GSK 459/07

August 7th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 20 March 2008 case file II GSK 459/07 held at the begining of judgment’s justification that administrative decisions are public information within the meaning of article 1(1) of the API and may be disclosed, in accordance with 6(1) pt 4 letter a, first tiret of the API. According to the SAC, after completion of the application proceedings, including any inter partes proceedings, article 251 of the IPL will no longer be applicable, and access to case files will be based on the general provisions of the API. Pursuant to article2(2) of the API, the Authority cannot require to prove legitemate or factual interest from the person entitled to a right to public information.

The Court also held that not all documents from the case file should be considered public information. Such nature have only official documents. Pursuant to article 6(2) of the API, an official document within the meaning of the Act is the content of the declaration of will or knowledge, recorded and signed, in any form by a public official under the provisions of the Penal Code, within its competence, that is addressed to another entity or put to the file.

See also “Polish Patent Office, case II SAB/Wa 99/06“.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1420/06

November 11th, 2006, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 31 October 2006, case file VI SA/Wa 1420/06 held that while examining whether the rights of protection may be granted, it should be determined whether a sign could serve as a trademark at all. Only after it was decided that a sign could be a trademark, one should examine whether a mark is sufficiently distinctive and therefore to check whether the sign is suitable for distinguishing the specific goods in trade, to designate of which it has been applied for. The lack of distinctive character of a trade mark is considered as the absolute grounds for refusal to trade mark registration, but a sign may acquire distinctive character as a result of use.

The Court found it difficult to say that red color combined with different kinds of equipment and tools, or accessories used in construction is something extraordinary, unique and unprecedented, which could stick decisively in the memory and let the consumer individualize the goods in the market among the goods of the same type but originating from different companies. This judgment concerned separate Color RED Pantone C32, IR-803195.