Archive for: Art. 6 APC

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 180/10

September 6th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 16 June 2010 case VI SA/Wa 180/10 held that in assessing the confusing similarity the PPO should not be limited to include only one component of a complex sign while comparing it with another trade mark. On the contrary, such a comparison is made by examining the signs as whole.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1302/09

November 15th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish Patent Office invalidated the right of protection for “METAL-CHEM” R-138491 trade mark in part for goods in Class 7. The owner Przedsiębiorstwo Wdrażania Postępu Technicznego METAL-CHEM Spółka z o.o. from Gliwice filed a complaint against this decision, claiming inter alia that the PPO refrained from taking evidence from expert witness with regard to homegenity of the goods.


The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 13 October 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 1302/09 upheld the contested decision and ruled that the Adjudicative Board of the PPO, consisting of experts and the deciding cases in litigation proceedings may under the Article 84 § 1 of the APC appoint an experts witness to establish the facts on which the Patent Office has doubts, while the knowledge of the Board members is not sufficient.

Article 84
§ 1. If a case requires specialist information, a public administration body may consult an expert or experts for an opinion.
§ 2. An expert shall be excluded from proceedings on the basis of the rules set out in Article 24. The provisions regarding the hearing of witnesses shall also apply to experts.

It follows that the use of an experts witness should be incidental in nature as it was already discussed in by the Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 20 October 2006, case file VI SA/Wa 1075/06. Thus the PPO has the right but not the obligation, to refer to any opinion and it is also indicated by the optional nature of Article 84 § 1 of the APC. The PPO as a specialized authority that grants rights of protection for trade marks and other industrial property rights under the rule of law, is the only body that verifies under litigation proceedings, whether or not the exclusive right of protection for trademark meets statutory requirements. In this case, the task of the Board was the correct assessment of the similarity of the goods contained in the opposing trade marks, in which both parties used the terms in which the general range of meaning was available and is not misleading.