Archive for: Polish Civil Proceedings Code

Procedural law, case III CZP 102/15

March 25th, 2016, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its order of 23 March 2016 case file III CZP 102/15 answered important questions related to minutes of hearing that were recorded as electronic/digital versions. The Regional Court decided a case related to payment, while some doubts as to interpretation of law related to recording of minutes and evidence, arose. The Supreme Court held that the transcription of the minutes that were recorded as sound and video is not an official document according to the provisions of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, and as such cannot be used for findings related to court’s session. If the minutes recorded as audio and/or audio and video do not allow to determine the content of evidence, the Court has to repeat an action related to this step. On an appeal, there is no need for the applicant to indicate a specific part of the sound recording (or video and audio) that relates to action of taking an evidence.

Personal interest, case I ACa 544/15

March 17th, 2016, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Appeallate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 12 January 2016 case file I ACa 544/15 decided a case of a person who offers legal assistance to entities who have received the payment order, and also writes articles and tips describing among other things, business debt collection companies and their activities. These articles were published online. The plaintiff in this case, one of such companies, felt that content of defendant’s posts infringed its personal interest – the company name. The defendant was found liable in first instance, however, the judgment was overturned on an appeal. The Court held that the District Court did not perform comprehensive assessment of the evidence.

The Appeallate Court did not agree that printouts from a website could serves as a private document according to the provisions of Article 245 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments. A private document is proof that the person who signed it, made a statement contained in the document. This means that inherent feature of this type of evidence is the signature. The evidence provided by the plaintiff did not contain a signature. The CPC does not provide an exhaustive list of what can be deemed as evidence in civil proceedings. As evidence can serve documents (official and private), testimonies of witnesses, expert opinions, inspection, hearing the parties. Moreover, based on the provisions of Article 308 § 1 of the CPCP, the Court may also admit movies, television series, photocopies, photographs, plans, drawings and CDs or audio tapes and other devices that store images or sounds, as evidence. The Court ruled that prints from websites are not a private document within the meaning of Article 244 and 245 of the CPC. However, such prints may be considered as “another type of evidence” within the meaning of Article 309 of the CPC, as the CPC does not provide an exhaustive list of evidence, and it is acceptable to use any source of information about the facts relevant to the outcome of the case, and as evidence may serve any legally obtained media or information of the facts. See “Procedural law, case I CSK 138/08“. Plaintiff’s claims and submitted evidence suggested that the claimant saw defendant’s posts on a web site and later saved it in its own web browser. In this way the Company has presented to the court only copies of files that were posted on a website, and not, as erroneously the District Court stated, printouts from the website maintained by the defendant. The Court pointed out that there are plenty of ways to modify the content of a website. The Appeallate Court decided that the plaintiff has submitted evidence of low credibility, since they did not provide information that their content was corresponding to was actually visible on the screen while a website with defamatory content was accessed. The Court found that it was also not known when the plaintiff has saved the content of a website, as the date of saving process was not indicated, and as the date the violation of personal rights was also not mentioned.

Personal data protection, I CSK 190/12

August 29th, 2013, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 8 November 2012 case file I CSK 190/12 held that without a doubt, the first name and surname constitute personal data of the individual, therefore, the important question arose, whether they belong to the scope of the individual’s privacy as understood in the provisions of Article 5(2) 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.

Article 5. 1. The right to public information is subject to limitation to the extent and on the principles defined in the provisions on the protection of confidential information and on the protection of other secrets being statutorily protected.
2. The right to public information is subject to limitation in relation to privacy of a natural person or the secret of an entrepreneur. The limitation does not relate to the information on persons performing public functions, being connected with performing these functions, including the conditions of entrusting and performing these functions and in the event when a natural person or entrepreneur resigns from the right to which he was entitled to.

Previous opinions of the Supreme Court on the relationship between the right to protect of personal data and the right to privacy are not clear. They were formulated mainly from the point of view of the protection of personal interests as defined in Articles 23 and 24 of the Civil Code – CC – (in Polish: Kodeks Cywilny) of 23 April 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 16, item 93, with subsequent amendments.

Article 23
The personal interests of a human being, in particular to health, dignity, freedom, freedom of conscience, surname or pseudonym, image, secrecy of correspondence, inviolability of home, and scientific, artistic, inventor’s and rationalizing achievements, shall be protected by civil law independent of protection envisaged in other provisions.

Article 24
§ 1 The person whose personal rights are threatened by someone else’s action, may require the desist of that action, unless it is not illegal. In the event of the infringement one may also require, the person who committed the violation, to fulfill the actions necessary to remove its effects, in particular, to make a statement of the relevant content and appropriate format. According to the conditions laid down in the Code one may also require monetary compensation or payment of an appropriate amount of money for a social purpose indicated.
§ 2 If as the result of a breach of personal rights one has suffered pecuniary prejudice, the aggrieved person may claim compensation based on general principles.
§ 3 The above shall not prejudice the entitlements provided by other regulations, in particular in copyright law and the patent (invention) law.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 15 February 2008 case file I CSK 358/07 (published in OSNC 2009, no. 4, item 63) ruled that legal commentators and case law of the Constitutional Court agree that the right to protect of personal data is derived directly from personal rights such as human dignity and the right to privacy, citing judgments of the Polish Constitutional Tribunal of 19 February 2002 case file U 3/01 (published in OTK-A 2002, no. 1, item 3) and of 12 November 2002 case file SK 40/01 (published in OTK-A 2002, no. 6, item 81). Nowadays, the collection and processing of the personal data is technically relatively simple, therefore it is necessary to protect a person against uncontrolled collection and use of his or her personal data, often without the contribution or even awareness of the person concerned. For these reasons, the legislator specifically regulated the issues of data collection, processing, use and protection of personal data in the Polish Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 29 October 1997, No. 133, item 883, unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with subsequent amendments. While interpreting its provisions, one cannot ignore the Directive 95/46/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 24 October 1995 on the protection of individuals with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and its preamble that explicitly states that data-processing systems are designed to serve man, whereas they must, whatever the nationality or residence of natural persons, respect their fundamental rights and freedoms, notably the right to privacy. The Supreme Court in its judgment of 28 April 2004 III CK 442/02 (unpublished) stressed that when assessing whether there has been the breach of privacy protected by the law, this concept cannot be absolutized due to the degree of its generality, it requires interpretation, taking into account the specific circumstances of the situation. Events and circumstances that form the personal and family life can be classified as private sphere of life. The special nature of this area of man’s life justify the grant of its strong legal protection. However, this does not mean that any reference to a particular person was information in the field of his or her personal life. The regime of protection of privacy and personal data protection regime are therefore independent. Undoubtedly, when it comes to the relationships and the impact of these regimes, because in certain situations, the actual processing of personal data may result in a violation of personal interests in the form of the right to privacy, or protection of the right to privacy will required the objection to the use of personal data. It is difficult to unequivocally determine whether the disclosure of the first name and the surname of an individual by a local government violates his or her right to privacy. This problem can be resolved only while assessing particular circumstances of each case. In this case, the city was requested to disclose the names of individuals with whom it has entered into a contract of mandate and contract of work. One of these contracts concerned preparation and delivery of a lecture. It was difficult for the Court to accept that anonymization and hiding of the surname of a person giving such a lecture would have any meaning. Other agreements related to use of the electronic system of sociological analysis and organization of the conference. They were entered by specific individuals with a public body, which was the city. These people had to reckon with the fact that their personal data will not remain anonymous. For a person requesting access to public information related contracts entered by a local authority, names of parties to such agreements are often more important than the content, and it is understandable for obvious reasons. It would be difficult in this case to defend the view that the disclosure of names of people in the present context would be deemed as a limitation on the exercise of constitutional freedoms and rights of these persons. It had therefore to be assumed, that the disclosure of the names of persons entering civil contracts with a local authority does not affect the right to privacy of those persons referred to in Article 5(2) of the API.

See also “Polish regulations on personal data protection“, “Polish case law on personal data protection“.

E-proceedings law, case III CZP 9/12

May 30th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The District Court in Toruń requested the Polish Supreme Court to answer the question whether a party of civil proceedings is allowed to file an appeal in form of electronic document. If the answer would be “yes”, the Court also wanted to know whether the deadline for lodging an appeal is confirmed by the date on which the letter was received by the device receiving the court’s e-mails. The District Court additionally enquired, whether such letters can be signed by electronic signature as defined in the Act of 18 September 2001 on Electronic Signature – ESA – (in Polish: ustawa o podpisie elektronicznym), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 15 November 2001, No 130, item 1450, with subsequent amendments.

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 23 May 2012 case file III CZP 9/12 held that filing an appeal by e-mail is acceptable only, if a specific provision allows for such action. Currently, this option is very limited in the Polish law. The printed version of an appeal filed by electronic means may be treated as effective, if it will be signed by the party at the request received from the Court, and the date for submission of such a letter to the court is then the date the printing was done.

Procedural law, case I CSK 138/08

January 17th, 2012, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 5 November 2008 case file I CSK 138/08 dismissed a cassation complaint in case related to tangible property, however the Court also decided on issues related to digital evidence. The Supreme Court found that the Appeallate Court erred in law by not admitting and refusing to assess evidence of computer printouts submitted to the case by the defendant. The Court did not agree with the opinion that prints do not meet the requirements of documents and thus can not be considered as evidence in the process. Even if unsigned computer printouts are not considered as a document within the meaning of provisions of Article 244 and 245 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, it should be considered that the CPC does not contain an exhaustive list of evidence and it is acceptable to use any source of information about the facts relevant to the outcome of the case, if it is not contrary to law. Therefore, the Appeallate Court should allow to submit such evidence based on the provisions of Article 308 of the CPC. This provision refers to evidence other than as expressly set out in the CPC, and the same may also apply to computer printouts.

Internet domains, case I ACa 1087/10

August 2nd, 2011, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Court of Conciliation for Internet Domains at the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications (the CCID) in its award of 9 March 2010 case file 74/09/PA dismissed the complaint brought by Italian company Bisazza against Polish entrepreneur Rafał Kacprzak Installation.pl from Wrocław who registered the following domain names: bisazza.pl, bisazza.com.pl and bisazza-installation.com. Bisazza claimed that the registration of .pl domains infringed on its CTM BISAZZA no. 001494590 and word-figurative CTM “BISAZZA mosaico” no. 001500248. Surprisingly, the Court did not agree with arguments provided by the Italian company and held that there was no infringement because the regulations included in the Polish Industrial Property law that did not allow for such interpretation. According to the CCID, there was no delict/tort of unfair competition as activities of both companies should be deemed as complementary. The CCID noted that Bisazza could act more carefully and it should have registered both domain names much earlier. According to the Court, by advertising products of the Italian company, Mr. Kacprzak was not acting as a cyber squatter because he did not only intend to increase his financial benefits but he was doing it in order to maximise mutual benefits. The Court also said the Mr. Kacprzak did not infringe on the company name.

CTM no. 001500248

Bisazza S.p.A. filed a complaint against this controversial decision. The Company claimed the arbitration award is contrary to the public policy rules established in the Republic of Poland, including the protection of acquired rights, social justice, stable and secure law, comprehensive examination of the case, consistency of legal decisions and integrity of the legal system.

The Court for the Community Trade Marks and Community Designs (in Polish: Sąd Okręgowy w Warszawie Wydział XXII Sąd Wspólnotowych Znaków Towarowych i Wzorów Przemysłowych) in its judgment of 20 September 2010 case file XXII GWzt 17/10 annulled the questioned award. To begin with, the Court reminded that the Polish legislator sought to strengthen the arbitration proceedings by limiting the possibility of challenge of the awards issued by courts of arbitration. The competence of common courts in controlling the correctness of awards issued by arbitration courts are very limited and strictly defined. The petition for the reversal of the arbitration award belongs to the category of special appeals. It has a cassatory character (annulment of a judicial decision is allowed only in certain cases under strict conditions). In such proceedings the Court will not examine the merits of the dispute (if the facts warrant issued ruling) or verify the correctness of the findings that were made and accepted. All the grounds justifying of the petition for the reversal of the arbitration award are included in the Article 1206 §1-2 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments.

§ 1 By way of an application a party may apply for the award to be set aside if:
1) there was no arbitration agreement, the agreement is not valid, ineffective or has expired under the law applicable to it;
2) the party was not given proper notice of the appointment of an arbitrator, of the arbitration proceedings or was otherwise unable to present its case before the arbitration tribunal;
3) the award deals with a dispute not contemplated by or beyond the scope of the arbitration agreement, provided that, if the decisions on matters submitted arbitration can be separated from those not so submitted or falling beyond the scope of the arbitration agreement, then only that part of the award which relates to the matters not submitted or falling beyond the submission may be set aside; the fact that a matter is beyond the scope of the arbitration agreement cannot constitute a ground for setting aside the award if a party who participated in the proceedings did not object to those claims being heard;
4) the composition of the arbitration tribunal or the fundamental rules of arbitral procedure were not in accordance with the agreement of the parties or with a provision of law;
5) the award was obtained by way of a crime or on the basis of a forged or falsified document,
6) a final judgment has already been made in the same case between the same parties.

§ 2. The arbitration award shall also be set aside if the court finds that:
1) the dispute was not capable of settlement by arbitration under the law;
2) the award is contrary to the public policy rules in the Republic of Poland (public order clause).

The Court noted that when assessing whether an arbitration award is contrary to the fundamental principles of law, the Court should take into account its content and not the correctness of the proceedings that were held before the arbitration body. The basic principles of the law underlying the assessment of the award should be understood not only as the constitutional rules but also as the general norms and rules in particular areas of law. The breach by an arbitration body of the proper substantive law justifies the reversal of the arbitration award only if the award is contrary to legal order. The arbitration body shall decide on the dispute according to the law of the legal relationship and when the parties explicitly mandated it – by the general principles of law or equity/fairness. The Court for the Community Trade Marks and Community Designs concluded that the interpretation of basic principles of trademark law both national and Community, that was provided by the CCID in its award, shows lack of understanding of the merits of law and lack of the ability to apply existing rules to the facts of this case. The arbitration court committed various irregularities: by qualifying the rights to Bisazza trade marks as national property rights, in examining the infringement based on only one character – probably a word trade mark – without considering the reputation, by dismissing the infringement claims on the basis of facts that do not have any meaning in trademark law while failing to examine identity/similarity of the marks and signs included in Internet domains and the goods and services of each party. The court reminded the arbitrator that the rules and regulations under the First Council Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 to approximate the laws of the Member States relating to trade marks, the CTMR and the case law of the Court of Justice of the UE apply directly in disputes over infringement of the Community trade mark. These rules and regulations must be applied also by national courts including arbitration bodies. Incorrect choice of legal norms and wrongful interpretation led to an unjustified deprivation of protection which is afforded to Bisazza in relation to its trademarks. Mr Kacprzak appealed.

The Appellate Court in Warsaw in its judgement of 1 April 2011 case file I ACa 1087/10 overturned the judgment of the Court for the Community Trade Marks and Community Designs. The Appellate Court found that since the CCID ruled that it has no jurisdiction to hear and decide upon some of the demands made by Bisazza, and rejected them in the suit, the decision was final and could not be controlled at all by the civil courts, including the proceedings caused by an action for annulment of an arbitration award. The findings stating that the CCID had no jurisdiction, that were based on the domain names regulations issued by the Scientific and Academic Computer Network (Naukowa i Akademicka Sieć Komputerowa), did not constitute a breach of the basic principles of the law (the public order clause), because Bisazza could take these demands to a civil court. In the opinion of the Appellate Court, the District Court failed to consider whether the erroneous application of the Polish law rather than the EU by the CCID was tantamount to violation of the basic principles of the law. It could have been so, only if it had a significant impact on the content of the decision rendered by the CCID. In the opinion of the Appellate Court, however, there was no such effect in this case. The Appellate Court ruled that the relevant regulations provided in the Polish law are the result of the implementation of the Directive 89/104/EEC and its relevant provisions required for this case to be then included in the CTMR. The Court decided that the solutions provided in the Polish law are similar to those of EU legislation, and the classification of infringement of trade mark rights is done by the same rules. The Appellate Court noted that the CCID found that Mr Kacprzak used, in the course of trade, a trademark identical to a protected mark not in relation to identical or similar goods but to goods protected by this trademark. The defendant is an installer of Bisazza mosaics but not identical or similar mosaics. The CCID examined also whether or not there is an infringement of reputed trademark, however, found no such breach. The Appellate Court also ruled that the award of the CCID did not violate the rules and principles of a stable and secure law because these rules should relate to the creation of law and not its application.

See also “Polish case law on domain names“.

Copyright law, case IV CSK 359/09

September 17th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company KREA sp. z o.o. prepared a label design for yoghurt packaging that was commissioned by Wojciech Jurkiewicz. The Company contacted a freelance graphic deisgner to create word-figurative trade mark, which was to be placed on this packaging. KREA acquired all copyrights. Wojciech Jurkiewicz filed for trade mark registration but the PPO refused to grant the right of protection. Mr Jurkiewicz was also sued by KREA and the District Court ordered the defendant to cease the copyright infringement of economic rights owned by KREA to the word-figurative trade mark JOGI by deisisting from using of the sign in any form in the course of economic activity and ordered Mr Jurkiewicz to pay 51.000 PLN. The Appelate Court changed the judgment only by reducing the amount awarded to 15.000 PLN.

Z-252222

KREA also filed a suit against OBORY sp. z o.o., claiming copyright infringement of its word trade mark JOGI. The Company argued that the binding force of the judgment against Mr Jurkiewicz extends to a conclusion that JOGI word is deemed as a copyrightable work.

R-217384

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 22 June 2010 case file IV CSK 359/09 held that only the dictum is the binding element of a judgment, not its motives, therefore, the previous judgment has no expanded legitimacy. It was not a reasonable argument that the earlier cited judgment in case against Wojciech Jurczyński would always be the official confirmation of the plaintiff’s copyright to a word sign. The idea for the word “JOGI” (which existed previously in the public domain) as a designation for drinking yoghurt, is nothing creative or original. The Court noted that the opinion that copyright law does not use the novelty condition in the objective sense, but in subjective terms, is dominating. The condition of work’s “originality” is satisfied if there subjectively exists a new product of the intellect. One may say about the self-creativity only if the created work was not previously known in the same form, and thus it manifests itself in an objectively tangible result of creativity. The approach presented by KREA, which lies almost on the presumption of fact that every product of human intellectual is a protected copyrightable work, without demonstrating of its creative elements, has no support in the ARNR and is too far reaching. In a wider perspective, such conclusion would be the risk of depreciation of the concept of creativity in general. In principle, a single word, not only these taken from everyday language, but also the unknown words or neologisms, do not have the characteristics of creativity. Only one-word titles, or slogans, may be exemption to the aforemtnioned rule when applied to specific situations, when they are characterized by a startling clarity and brilliance, make poetic of the whole work, are the “key” to understanding of such work. The Polish legal doctrine and case law have long since stopped using the term “pure art” and promoting the traditional cultural role, which the right had to serve. The concept of “copyright work” is recognized widely, with persistent tendency to mitigate the criteria governing the granting of copyright protection, such as creativity, originality and individuality. The evidence of such actions is presented in the protection of the products of which contain a small contribution to creative work, and characterized by even a small degree of originality and individuality. In this context, the concept of “boundary categories of works” is used and also – in principle – the possibility of granting copyright protection to small products of human activity that are designed for purely utilitarian and practical use, is not denied. The ARNR protects works created not only for artistic purposes and does not refuse the protection for works created solely for commercial (industrial, merchandising) purposes, but only in so far as the work has such characteristics that are required for any other copyrightable work. The utilitarian purpose of copyrightable works, created solely for the intended use in a certain way, is typical for the objects that are subject to industrial property rights, in particular industrial designs and trade marks In the case of the latter it most often applies to word-figurative trade marks. In Polish law it is permissible to accumulate of certain intangible property/econimic rights, including trademarks being also copyrightable works and industrial designs/copyrightable works.

In the opinion of the Supreme Court, the mere use of a word as a trade mark should not affect the possibility of its recognition as a copyrightable work, since the existence of such work cannot depend on its specific purpose. The way of using a given work does not decide on the statusu of its copyrightability. The word “JOGI” does not show originality, which could allow for an exception to the generally accepted principle that single words do not have creative characteristics. It has no autonomous characteristics of the copyrightable work, and it isn’t a copyrightable work because of someone “invented” a particular way of its use as a trade mark, or designation of a particular type of goods originating from a particular undertaking.

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

Trade mark law, case V CSK 293/09

September 2nd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Polish company Technopol sp. z o.o. succeeded to register in the Polish Patent Office over a hundred word and word-figurative trade marks in the form of Arabic numeral “100” and its multiples (200, 300, etc.) together with the word “Panoramicznych” or “Panoram”. Technopol was sued by another Polish entrepreneur, Roman Oraczewski who publishes crossword magazines under such titles as “222 Panoramiczne”, “333 Panoramiczne”, “500 Krzyżówek”, “300 Krzyżówek z Uśmiechem”, “300 Krzyżówek Panorama Rozrywki”. Mr Oraczewski claimed protection to its press titles and Technopol filed counter claims based on Article 10 of the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition – CUC – (in Polish: ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 47, item 211, with subsequent amendments.

Article 10.1. Such indication of products or services or its lack, which may mislead customers in relation to the origin, quantity, quality, components, manufacturing process, usefulness, possible application, repair, maintenance and another significant features of products or services as well as concealing the risks connected with their use, shall be the act of unfair competition.
2. Releasing for free circulation products in the packing which may cause effects referred to in section 1 above shall be the act of unfair competition, unless the use of such packing is justified by technical reasons.

Technopol requested the court to issue preliminary injuction ordering Mr Oraczewski to cease the sale and introduction to the market of all his magazines bearing titles that are identical or similar to Technopol’s trade marks. The Court granted the injunctive relief. Mr. Oraczewski did not agree with such order and after couple of years this case ended in a final dismissal of the application for preliminary injunction. Mr. Oraczewski sued Technopol for the compensation for the loss incurred due to the enforcement of the injunction. He claimed over 67.000.000 PLN loss. According to Article 746 §1 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, when a preliminary injunction has been granted and the plaintiff fails to file the principal claim, withdraws it, the claim fails for procedural reasons, or is dismissed as unfounded, the defendant may demand compensation for the loss incurred due to the enforcement of the injunction. The claim expires if it is not pursued within one year from the moment the loss occured. This provision makes a plaintiff who obtained a preliminary injunction but ultimately failed with its principal claim liable towards the defendant for the loss caused by the injunction.

100_panoramicznych-cover

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 25 February 2010 case file V CSK 293/09 held that the liability provided under Article 746 § 1 of the CPC is independent of plaintiff’s fault. However, the Court dismissed Mr Oraczewski complaint because he did not follow the preliminary injunction order.

See also “Trade mark and Press law, VI SA/Wa 2135/08” and “Trade mark law, case V CSK 71/09“.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 425/09

May 7th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 30 August 2004, the Polish Patent Office registered word-figurative trade mark Ravago R-154724 to Walter Breitengraser. The Polish company RESINEX Sp. z.o.o. submitted a request for invalidation of the right of protection, arguing that Mr Breitengraser has applied for the registration in violation of RESINEX personal and economic rights arising from the rights to the name Ravago and in violation of good customs. Resinex also claimed that the application for the disputed trade mark was made in bad faith because Walter Breitengraser was the president of the company acting as an agent for RESINEX.

R-154724

The Patent Office invalidated the right of protection for Ravago R-154724 trade mark. The PPO followed the rule that in the event of a conflict between the right of protection for a trademark and personal right/interest, including the right to business/company name, the priority is to protect the personal interest. The PPO also pointed out that article 8 of the Paris Convention does not constitute independent grounds for the protection of trade names, and therefore a request for its protection must be dealt with under the provisions of national law. The PPO also noted that it is established rule in the legal doctrine and case law, that the registration of a trade mark, which is identical to a name of other company, that was used by this company prior the registration of a questioned trade mark, affects the personal interests of this company.

The complaint filed by Walter Breitengraser was rejected by the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in a judgment of 4 November 2008, case file VI SA/Wa 1324/08.

The Supreme Administrative Court in a judgment of 23 February 2010, case file II GSK 425/09 rejected the cassation complaint and held that the presumption of good faith, as defined in article 7 of the Civil Code – CC – (in Polish: Kodeks Cywilny) of 23 April 1964, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 16, item 93, with subsequent amendments, is the presumption, to which the provisions of Article 234 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, refers to. Under this provision, the presumption laid down by the law (legal presumption) binds the court and may be rebutted, however, whenever the law does not preclude this.

Article 7
If the Act makes the legal consequences dependent of good or bad faith, the existence of good faith is presumed.

This provision has the auxiliary use in all administrative and court-administrative proceedings. There is no rule of law that would exclude the possibility of presentation of the proof of the existence of bad faith.

Procedural law, case V CSK 269/09

April 11th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 10 February 2010 case file V CSK 269/09 held that publishing information on the Internet about a specific fact does not mean that it is deemed as “widely known fact”, as it was defined in Article 228 § 1 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments.

Article 228
§ 1 Known facts do not require evidence.
§ 2 The same applies to the facts known to the court ex officio, however, the court should draw the attention of the parties to these facts during the hearings.

The Court did not agree with the opinion that data published on the official website of the Ministry of Agriculture is well known information or fact.

Personal data protection, case II SA/Wa 71/07

February 12th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

A lawyer representing one Polish entrepreneur, and as you already know personal data of the parties are removed from Polish courts’ judgments, requested the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection (GIODO) to issue an order to Home.pl company from Szczecin, to disclose personal data such as name, surname, the firm, address, office’s seat, phone number and e-mail address of a person, which had only published its caller id, and who registered a certain Internet domain name. The lawyer stated that his client is claiming the right to use the questioned domain name and the requested information is necessary for the initation of the arbitration proceedings before the Court of Conciliation at the the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications.

Home.pl refused to provide the abovementioned personal data, arguing that the parties of the legal relationship arising from the fact of the registration and maintenance of Internet domain names are the Research and Academic Computer Network (in Polish: Naukowa i Akademicka Sieć Komputerowa) – the national registry of the .pl domain, and the domain name subscriber.

The GIODO performed an investigation based on the administrative proceedings regulations. The GIODO did an inspection of the Company’s headquarters and found that Home.pl maintains a separate collection of data of subscribers who have registered their domain names in NASK through Home.pl services. NASK is the national domain name registrar, while Home.pl arranges for the registration and maintenance of Internet domain names. Home.pl represents an applicant for the domain name registration before NASK. A natural or legal person and Home.pl have to establish a legal relationship based on a registration contract in order to register the domain name in NASK. The legal relationship is based on registering and maintaining of the internet domain name. The GIODO found that in this case, the contested domain name was registered by a natural person.

In September 2006, the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection issued an administrative decision which ordered Home.pl to disclose personal data of the individual who registered the Internet domain name in question, the name, surname, address, phone number and e-mail address. Home.pl requested for a retrial of the case. The GIODO upheld the decision and Home.pl filed a complaint against it.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC) in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 Novmeber 2007 case file II SA/Wa 71/07 ruled that the complaint was based on Article 29(2) in connection with Article 22 of the Polish Act of 29 August 1997 on the Protection of Personal Data – PPD – (in Polish: Ustawa o ochronie danych osobowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 29 October 1997, No. 133, item 883, unified text published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 6 July 2002, No. 101, item 926, with subsequent amendments.

Article 29
1. In case of providing the access to the data for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, the controller shall disclose the data kept in the data filing system to persons or subjects authorised by the law.
2. Personal data, exclusive of data referred to in Article 27 paragraph 1, may also be disclosed, for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, to persons and subjects other than those referred to in paragraph 1 above, provided that such persons or subjects present reliably their reasons for being granted the access to the data and that granting such access will not violate the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.
3. Personal data are disclosed at written and justified requests, unless the provisions of another law state otherwise. Such requests should include information allowing for identification of the requested personal data within the filing system and indicating their scope and purpose.
4. Disclosed personal data shall be used only pursuant to the purpose for which they have been disclosed.
(…)
Article 22
The proceedings with respect to the matters regulated by this Act shall be conducted pursuant to the provisions of the Code of Administrative Procedure, unless other provisions of the law state otherwise.

According to the VAC, the provisions of Article 29(1) and (2) allow third parties to request the disclosure of personal data for purposes other than inclusion in the collection. It should be noted that these provisions being in force until 1 May 2004, gave no grounds to demand the disclosure if the controller was the private sector. This situation changed after the amendment of 22 January 2004. The Court noted that the request for disclosure of personal data may be filed by any person i.e. natural person, any organizational unit, both public and private. It is important that the possesion of personal data is necessary to achieve intended goals, and the request for personal data is credible and reasonable. Such request does not require a collector to disclosure personal data because it must assess whether the conditions have been met to provide such data according to provisions of Article 29 of the PPD.

1. In case of providing the access to the data for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, the controller shall disclose the data kept in the data filing system to persons or subjects authorised by the law.
2. Personal data, exclusive of data referred to in Article 27 paragraph 1, may also be disclosed, for the purposes other than including into the data filing system, to persons and subjects other than those referred to in paragraph 1 above, provided that such persons or subjects present reliably their reasons for being granted the access to the data and that granting such access will not violate the rights and freedoms of the data subjects.
3. Personal data are disclosed at written and justified requests, unless the provisions of another law state otherwise. Such requests should include information allowing for identification of the requested personal data within the filing system and indicating their scope and purpose.
4. Disclosed personal data shall be used only pursuant to the purpose for which they have been disclosed.

However, the VAC stressed that fact that collector’s discretion cannot mean its arbitrariness. In the case of the unfounded refusal to provide personal data according Article 29 (2) of the PPD, the General Inspector for Personal Data Protection shall have the right – in accordance with Article 18(1) pt. 2 of the PPD – to require the disclosure of personal data.

1. In case of any breach of the provisions on personal data protection, the Inspector General ex officio or upon a motion of a person concerned, by means of an administrative decision, shall order to restore the proper legal state, and in particular:
(…)
2) to complete, update, correct, disclose, or not to disclose personal data,

Undoubtedly, the request for the disclosure of personal data must be credible and legitimate. Thus, if such request is do not precluded by provisions of article 27 of the PPD, the collector must disclose such data.

1. The processing of personal data revealing racial or ethnic origin, political opinions, religious or philosophical beliefs, religious, party or trade-union membership, as well as the processing of data concerning health, genetic code, addictions or sex life and data relating to convictions, decisions on penalty, fines and other decisions issued in court or administrative proceedings shall be prohibited.
2. Processing of the data referred to in paragraph 1 above shall not constitute a breach of the Act where:
1) the data subject has given his/her written consent, unless the processing consists in erasure of personal data,
2) the specific provisions of other statute provide for the processing of such data without the data subject’s consent and provide for adequate safeguards,
3) processing is necessary to protect the vital interests of the data subject or of another person where the data subject is physically or legally incapable of giving his/her consent until the establishing of a guardian or a curator,
4) processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the statutory objectives of churches and other religious unions, associations, foundations, and other non-profitseeking organisations or institutions with a political, scientific, religious, philosophical, or trade-union aim and provided that the processing relates solely to the members of those organisations or institutions or to the persons who have a regular contact with them in connection with their activity and subject to providing appropriate safeguards of the processed data,
5) processing relates to the data necessary to pursue a legal claim,
6) processing is necessary for the purposes of carrying out the obligations of the controller with regard to employment of his/her employees and other persons, and the scope of processing is provided by the law,
7) processing is required for the purposes of preventive medicine, the provision of care or treatment, where the data are processed by a health professional subject involved in treatment, other health care services, or the management of health care services and subject to providing appropriate safeguards,
8) the processing relates to those data which were made publicly available by the data subject,
9) it is necessary to conduct scientific researches including preparations of a thesis required for graduating from university or receiving a degree; any results of scientific researches shall not be published in a way which allows identifying data subjects,
10) data processing is conducted by a party to exercise the rights and duties resulting from decisions issued in court or administrative proceedings.

The Court had to consider the question of whether the application met the conditions set in Article 29 of the PPD. The legal representative proved that, the disclosure of personal data of a person who registered the disputed domain because was necessary for the initation of the arbitration proceedings before the Court of Conciliation at the the Polish Chamber of Information Technology and Telecommunications. The Court noted that the arbitration proceedings are held in accordance with Article 1188 § 1 of the Civil Proceedings Code – CPC – (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments. The proceedings before the Court of Conciliation starts with the lodging of the statement of claim (the suit), which means that the suit should comply with the conditions laid down in Article 187 § 1 of the CPC. Under that provision, the statement of claim should meet the requirements of the pleading, and it also shall include: clearly defined demand in matters of property rights and the value of the claim, unless the case concerns the amount of money. The suit shall include all facts justifying the request and, if necessary, to justify the jurisdiction of the court. In accordance with Article 126 § 1 pt. 1 of the CPC, every pleading shall also contain, inter alia, the designation of the court to which it is addressed, the name or names of the parties, their legal representatives and/or agents. Therefore, the essential element of the claim for infringement of personal rights is to show the person against whom the request is addressed, i.e. the defendant in future proceedings for infringement of personal rights, and defendant’s address. The VAC found that the request in the Home.pl case was fully justified. The Court also confirmed that Home.pl is the controller within the meaning of Article 7(4) of the PPD, because according to the agreement with NASK, Home.pl decides on the purposes and means of the processing of personal data related to people who registered domain names. Thus, the party of the case was Home.pl, not NASK.

See also “Polish regulations on personal data protection“, “Polish case law on personal data protection” and “Polish case law on domain names“.

Personal interest, case I ACa 949/09

February 9th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Since a couple of years he is a very controversial figure of the Polish Internet and he also has become the cause of two interesting judgments which I am going to report. Arnold Buzdygan appeared on different Polish newsgroups, where he wrotre, inter alia, on topics such as copyright, sexology, psychology and politics. His style of writing was, at least, very controversial. Due to the vulgarity of some of his statements (he claimed that such actions were performed by his followers who allegedly used his name), offers to make a bet and announcements of lawsuits and threats of beatings, a part of the Usenet community defined these behaviors as trolling and such informations was posted in the Polish Wikipedia’s entry devoted to Buzdygan’s persona. Arnold Buzdygan decided to sue.

In the petition for libel filed against the Association Wikimedia Poland and Agnieszka K., he demanded an order to remove the existing contents of the article Arnold Buzdygan in both English and Polish-language versions of Wikipedia, and to put the apology instead of these entries, and to block the possibility of future edition of the questioned article, He also requested the Court to order the Association Wikimedia Poland to pay him the compensation of moral injury and the costs of the process in the sum of 100000 PLN.

In the response to a petition, the Association of Wikimedia Poland requested the Court to dismiss the claim, pointing that such charges cannot be brought against it because of the lack of the so-called “passive legitimacy”. Wikimedia Poland stated that neither the Association itself, or persons acting on its behalf are not engaged in editing of the article on Arnold Buzdygan, Wikimedia Poland argued that it is not a database administrator of Wikipedia or administrator of the servers on which the information is stored, so it would not be possible to remove or permanent blocking of such entries.

The District Court in Wrocław dismissed the suit in judgment of 8 June 2009, case file I C 802/07. Buzdygan appealed, and his petition was dismissed by the Appellate Court in Wrocław in a judgment of 17 November 2009, case file I ACa 949/09, published in Orzecznictwo Apelacji Wrocławskiej, Biuletyn Sądu Apelacyjnego we Wrocławiu, No 1 (13), p. 5, Year MMX. The court ruled that the statements published in the disputed article and the mention of trolling do not infringe on Buzdygan’s personal rights. Descriptions of Buzdygan’s activity on different forums, though they may have a pejorative connotation, were the evaluation of the expression of views issued by Arnold Buzdygan, not the description of himself. The wording that was challenged by Buzdygan does not refer to his person, but it concerned the way of formulation of his speech in a public discussion, and the measure of negative evaluation did not exceed the permissible limit.

An active participant of online forums, being a well-known and recognizable in such community is, in this sense, a “public personality”. As a public person, participating in discussions, one agrees and must reckon with the fact that his or her opinions and statements will be subjected to criticism by other users, sometimes very radically and one has to demonstrate greater tolerance and even resistance to unfavourable and unflattering opinions, and even violent attacks. The boundaries of acceptable criticism are wider in fact, than in the case of persons not participating in such discussions. The evidence proceedings during the hearings has shown that Buzdygan was and is very active participant in online forums, and he is a known figure. By applying the test of the higher degree of tolerance for unflattering opinions, the Court found that the wording of the Wikipedia entry devoted to Arnold Buzdygan did not exceed the agreed and acceptable standard.

See also “Computer crime, case V K 1595/08“.

Industrial design law, case II GSK 1034/08

January 20th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 17 June 2009 case file II GSK 1034/08 ruled that it is obvious that the Polish Patent Office should first examine whether there is a right for which the applicant files request for invalidation, then the PPO should examine the legal interest of the applicant, and only then it should consider whether the legal grounds for invalidity are well founded. If at the time of examination of the request for invalidation, that right at issue no longer exists, due to the fact that its earlier decision on the grant of such right has been annulled, any further action is unnecessary and inadmissible as irrelevant. The PPO should terminate the proceedings without examination of the legal interest of the applicant and without considering the merits of the grounds of law. The dispute between the parties does not start due to the lack of action and any arguments of any party are no longer considered by the PPO. In this situation, there is no “winner” or “loser” because the merits of the request are not subject to examinations.

Rp-9476

This judgment concerned the industrial design “Opakowanie zwłaszcza na lody” (in English: Package especially for ice creams), Rp-9476. See also “Polish regulations on industrial designs” and “Polish case law on industrial designs“.

E-proceedings in Poland

January 18th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 1 January 2010 the provisions of the Act of 9 January 2009, amending the Act – Civil Proceedings Code and other acts, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 26, item 156, came into force. This act introduced articles 50528 – 50537 which added to the CPC, in the First Book – the Trial, the title VII. Separate proceedings, Chapter VIII. Electronic proceedings, Chapter 1 Electronic admonition proceedings. In addition, the series of implementing regulations were published in the Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) on 31 December 2009, No 226. These regulations include inter alia:
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the procedure of setting up an account and the way of using of electronic signatures in the electronic admonition proceedings,
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the procedure of electronic serving in the electronic admonition proceedings,
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the method of electronically lodging of pleadings in the electronic admonition proceedings,
– The regulation of the Minister of Justice of 28 December 2009 on the action of the court relating to the enforceability of a judicial decision rendered in the electronic admonition proceedings.

So, since 1 January 2010, XVI Civil Department of the Regional Court in Lublin is formally and officialy the first Polish e-court.

The electronic admonition proceedings were introduced as a separate proceeding – having the nature of summons for payment – in cases where the facts are not complicated and there is no requirement of the evidence proceedings. The suit in the electronic admonition proceedings may be filed by a natural person or a person acting on behalf of the plaintiff (the agent, legal representative) who also has an account enabled at www.e-sad.gov.pl website and a valid certificate to create the electronic signature. The plaintiff’s pleadings have to be lodged electronically to produce legal effects as provided by the law with regard to pleadings filed in the court.

Electronic versions of the statement of claim and other pleadings may be signed with a qualified certificate issued by a Qualified Certification Center. A person who does not have a valid qualified certificate should request a certificate from the Certification Center EPU and download the certificate, before filing a suit.

The suit should also include plaintiff’s number in the Universal Electronic System for Registration of the Population – PESEL – (in Polish: Powszechny Elektroniczny System Ewidencji Ludności) which is the national identification number used in Poland since 1979 or Tax Identification Number – NIP – (in Polish: Numer Identyfikacji Podatkowej) of the plaintiff other than a natural person, if the plaintiff is obliged to have one, and the number of the National Court Register (in Polish: Krajowy Rejestr Sądowy), or the number in the other appropriate register or other records. This is much stronger requirement when it comes to e-pleadings because such a requirement does not apply to actions brought in writing.

The plaintiff should indicate the evidence to support his/her claims in the petition. The evidence is not attached to the petition.

Court fees in the electronic admonition proceedings are paid only electronically via the payment service provider. Activities during the electronic admonition proceedings may be exercised by court’s referendary (division official).

The ruling issued in the electronic admonition proceedings is deemed as the writ of execution. The enforcement clause is only left in the computer system. After the decision issued during the electronic admonition proceedings becomes final, the enforcement clause is issued ex officio. The plaintiff, or person acting on behalf of the plaintiff, may submit a request for execution of the decision to the selected bailiff through the communications system of the e-court based on the electronic writ of execution received.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 961/08

August 15th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

By its decision of 20 January 1994, the Polish Patent Office registered the word trade mark JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 for services such as concert activities in class 41, with the priority date of 21 August 1991, for PSJ (the applicant).

In a letter dated 9 January 1995 and in a letter on February 2, 1995 Mr./Ms. BM (a debt collector/bailiff whose name is anonymized in the courts’ judgments) asked the PPO to distrain PSJ’s right to the JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 trade mark (in an order of February 1996 the Voivodeship Court dismissed the complaint brought by PSJ against the decision on the distraint and dismissed the complaint brought by Fundacja Jazz Jamboree from Warszawa).

By an order of January 1996, the Polish Patent Office made some changes in the Trade Mark register. The PPO deleted PSJ from the entry for the holder of the right of protection for JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 trade mark and in its place was entered the Fundacja Jazz Jamboree which, was later deleted and in its place was entered the Konsorcjum J.I. s.c.

By an order of December 1997 the Polish Patent Office deleted the Konsorcjum J.I. s.c and entered J.J. Sp. z o.o. as the holder.

By an order of June 2000, the PPO again changed the registry entry for the holder, deleting the J.J. Sp. z o.o., and entering PSJ; it then deleted the PSJ and entered Fundacja Jazz Jamboree.

By an order of June 2003, the District Court ordered the sale of the right of protection for JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 trade mark.

By an order of February 2006, the bailiff of a District Court enforced a court judgment (the execution was ordered against sums due and property rights) in the name of “A.P.” S.A. against PSJ and granted the right of protection for JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 to “AP” S.A. (it was unsold at the first and the second auction).

In its application of the May 2006, “A.P.” S.A. asked the Polish Patent Office to disclose the acquisition of trade mark rights to JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 in the Trade Mark registry. The application had attached the District Court’s order of June 2003, ordering the sale of the right of protection, and the bailiff’s order of February 2006 to grant to the unsold property rights to “A.P.” S.A.

By its decision of July 2006, the PPO, made changes in the Trade Marks register (in the “A” field – a holder), deleted Fundacja Jazz Jamboree as the holder and entered “A.P.” S.A. in this field, basing itself on the provisions of Article 229(1) 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.

Article 229
1. In matters in which entries in a register are conditional upon submission of a request, the entry shall be made by virtue of a decision.
(…)
2. When examining the request referred to in paragraph (1), the Patent Office shall investigate whether the submitted documents, supposed to provide grounds for taking a decision on entry in a register, are in accordance with this Law and satisfy the effective provisions as to form.

Fundacja Jazz Jamboree filed before the PPO a request for re-examination of the matter, arguing that the decision of July 2006 is wrong, because it did not take into account the fact of prior transfers of the right of protection for JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 from PSJ to Fundacja Jazz Jamboree, and its subsequent transfers. Fundacja Jazz Jamboree claimed that the decision of the District Court and the enforcement titles were issued against PSJ and not against Fundacja Jazz Jamboree, and that it was unlawful to decide on the transfer of JAZZ JAMBOREE R-75805 trade mark to “A.P.” S.A., since the registration gave title to Fundacja Jazz Jamboree.

In a decision of September 2007 the Polish Patent Office upheld the contested decision. The PPO indicated that the decision of July 2006 was issued pursuant to the bailiff’s order of February 2006. In accordance with the provisions of the Polish Civil Proceedings Code – CPC (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, the acquisition of rights regulated under the chapter on rules for the execution has the nature of original acquisition of rights. Accordingly the new owner acquires the right, without any encumbrances and burdens. The Polish Patent Office does not investigate who was the owner of a trade mark right and in what period of time. Since the entry in the Trade Mark register has a declaratory nature, and thus corresponds to the right that was granted to “A.P.” S.A. The PPO deals with the entering these facts on the register and is not a body of enforcement, much less the authority competent to decide on the merits or the effectiveness of the seizure by the bailiff or on the grant of rights to another company. The PPO also noted that Fundacja Jazz Jamboree had a chance to file anti-executory proceedings complaint, as provided in the Article 841 of the CPC.

Fundacja Jazz Jamboree filed a complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw but it was rejected by the VAC in a judgment of 10 March 2008, case file VI SA/Wa 2027/07.

The cassation complaint brought by Fundacja Jazz Jamboree before the Supreme Administrative Court was also dismissed in its judgment of 21 May 2009 case file II GSK 961/08. The SAC ruled that the Polish Patent Office within the confines of the registration proceedings regulated in article 229(2) of the IPL does not investigate the substantive basis for drawing up documents that are the basis for the entry into the registry. The Patent Office does not conduct any hearing of evidence with regard to circumstances underlying the issuance of documents that serve as a basis for an entry to a register and it has no control over the regularity of the proceedings leading to the issuance of documents that are a basis for an entry to a register.

Polish patent attorneys, case III CZP 118/08

January 29th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 23 January 2009 case file III CZP 118/08 held that an advocate, legal advisor or patent attorney who is acting as a substitute representative cannot authenticate a copy of the basic power of attorney that was issued in the name of the primary proxy. The court also ruled that the defect in form of a pleading based on improper form of powers can be removed by a confirmation of a party that issued the primary POA. The court should assign the other party a reasonable time limit for supplementation of a pleading and POA.

Press law, case VI Ka 409/07

January 14th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

Facts and legal dispute
A Polish TV channel, TVN, in its show entitled UWAGA broadcast footage that criticised the work of a debt collector, Wojciech D., who held office in a Pomeranian town of Bytów. Internauts were prompt to comment on his work. This boiled down mostly to offensive statements, some of which are provided below:

I suggest we lynch the guy, if legal methods failed. It seems that we’ll have to fight impudence with impudence! Citizens!!! This goes out to you.

How about we settled it ourselves, people? We could take him to the woods, take away his clothes and throw him out onto the streets, that would be fun!!!

I was lucky enough not to have anything to do with this guy. I am surprised with those, who had so much trouble with him, though. If he sold my apartment or broke my mum’s hand I would spare some change and call the boys from the hood. They would have known what to do with him ;)

Hang the collector by the balls in the centre of the town, shove a pound or two of drawing pins and broken glass into his ass, but on the other hand he might enjoy that … and let him see what suffering is … the struggle continues….

Fill him with carbide and add some water. Oh, that would be so nice for him, damn bureaucrat. When he fills up with gasses, light him up. A nice effect, only shreds would remain. Still, it’s just wishful thinking, he can be seen no-where around the town. We can’t get him.

The comments were published mainly on the GazetaBytowska. pl (Bytów Newspaper) website, also accessible at gby.pl. The authorities (police and prosecutor) addressed Leszek Szymczak, the administrator of the website, and asked him to hand over particulars of the commentators. The authorities intended to charge those persons with punishable threats addressed at the collector. Leszek Szymczak did not, however, provide the data. The police called the comments “press material” and the Public Prosecutor’s Office in Bytów recognised that the administrator of the website was responsible for the comments published on the gby.pl forum. The Public Prosecutor’s Office also maintained that a website is a daily newspaper, by virtue of which under the press law it needed to be registered. Following the line of reasoning of the prosecutor, Leszek Szymczak ran the gby.pl website (i.e. he published a daily newspaper) without proper registration. The prosecution charged Mr Szymczak with the first accusation – the infringement of Article 45 of the Polish Act of 26 January 1984 on Press law2 – APL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo prasowe), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 24, with subsequent amendmets.

Anybody who publishes a daily newspaper or a periodical without registration or with registration suspended is subject to a fine penalty or the restriction of liberty

This was made in connection with article 7(2) pt. 2 of the APL.

A daily is a general-information periodical print or a message transmitted via sound or sound and image published more frequently than once a week.

The manner of registration of dailies and periodicals is provided in Article 20 of the APL.

1. Publishing a daily newspaper or a periodical necessitates registration with a voivodeship court having jurisdiction in the seat of the publisher, hereinafter referred to as ‘the registrar body’. In such cases the regulations of the Code of Civil Procedure on nonlitigious proceedings, together with amendments resulting herefrom, shall apply.
2. A registration application mentioned in section 1 hereof shall include:
1) the title of a daily newspaper or a periodical together with the seat and an exact address of the editorial office,
2) particulars of the editor-in-chief,
3) specification, seat and exact address of the publisher,
4) the daily newspaper’s or the periodical’s frequency of publishing.
3. A registrar court shall substantiate the decision to register a daily newspaper of a periodical only upon a motion.
4. A daily newspaper or a periodical can be published if a registrar body failed to decide upon the application for the registration within 30 days from the day of the submission of the application.
5. Should the information mentioned in section 2 hereof be altered, the registration body shall be immediately noticed.

The prosecution also alleged that Leszek Szymczak published press material featuring criminal content that publicly incited its readers to commit offences. For that reason the prosecution pressed the second charge. Under article 49a of the APL

An editor who unintentionally published press material that featured criminal content mentioned in article 37a hereof, shall be subject to a fine penalty or the restriction of liberty.

Under Article 255 of the Criminal Code3 – CRC – (in Polish: Kodeks Karny) of 6 June 1997, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 88, item 553, with subsequent amendments

1. A person who publicly calls for committing an offence of a fiscal crime shall be subject to a fine penalty, the restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to two years.
2. A person who publicly calls for committing a crime shall be subject to the restriction of liberty for up to three years.
3. A person who publicly praises the commitment of a crime shall be subject to a fine penalty amounting to up to 180 daily rates, the restriction of liberty or imprisonment for up to one year.

Article 37a of the APL reads

If a person is sentenced for a crime committed by publishing a press material, the court may adjudicate an additional penalty constituting in the forfeiture of the press material.

The prosecution maintained that Leszek Szymczak committed the crime of the nonfeasance of duties. The prosecution did not, however, establish what actually was meant by lynching, or at whom the comments were directed (the collector’s name was not even once mentioned on the gby.pl website).
It is noteworthy that Leszek Szymczak had registered a daily newspaper entitled Gazeta Bytowska when it was published in print4. In the period pointed at in the indictment, that is from April 13, 2004 to January 9, 2006, the court did not pass a decision that would make the registration invalid.

The Regional Court Słupsk in its judgment of 7 March 2007 case file II K 342/06 (with Judge Tadeusz Stodoła presiding) held that the first charge was legitimate, but owing to the minor social harm it remitted proceedings in the case. As for the second charge, the court held that posts of an internet forum indeed constitute press material and as such should be revised by editors and if they encounter inappropriate material, they should delete it. The court failed, however, to point to a specific law regulation that would necessitate Leszek Szymczak to delete any posts from his forum. Also this charge was dismissed. The court focused on the interpretation of the notion of “press material” and in this venture interpreted it correctly. The rub, though, remains in the fact that in this case the utmost importance should have been attached to the interpretation of the notions of a “daily newspaper” and a “periodical” since only those two kinds of press need to be registered with a court. Both parties appealed Leszek Szymczak appealed to overrule the judgment and dismiss the charge punishable under article 45 of the APL. He substantiated his appeal with, first of all, Article 17(1)2 of the Criminal Proceedings Code owing to the fact that under the law in effect publishers did not have to register websites in the register of daily newspapers and periodicals. Secondly, he also claimed that the regulations that impose such an obligation are too unclear to be a source of criminal liability according to the principle nulla poena sine lege certa et stricta (no punishment unless there is certain and strict law). Leszek Szymczak also appealed to change the sentence by acquitting the defendant from the offence provided in article 49a of the PLA owing to the fact that the defendant did not know about the illegal nature of the information (posts were uploaded/written by internauts) that the prosecution drew upon in the offence description. Because of that, his argument continued, the defendant could not be criminally liable, that is under Article 14(1) of the Polish Act of 18 July 2002 on Providing Services by Electronic Means – PSEM – (in Polish: ustwa o świadczeniu usług droga elektroniczną), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 144, item. 1204 with subsequent amendments, and Article 14 of the Directive 2000/31/EC6. Leszek Szymczak also appealed to completely overrule the abovementioned sentence and send the case back to the court of first instance for reconsideration.

The prosecution appealed against the judgment on the grounds of a mistake in factual findings that formed the basis for the judgment. It argued that the court was wrong to assess the social harm of the offence described in article 45 of the APL as minor (publishing an internet daily newspaper gby.pl without proper registration) and to discontinue proceedings with respect to this charge. Still further, a correct analysis of the subjective and objective features of the offence, particularly the legal interests undermined by the offence and the conduct of the defendant, all lead to other conclusions, the prosecution reasoned. The prosecution also maintained that the court made another mistake in the factual findings forming the basis for the decision. The court allegedly was wrong to assess the social harm of the offence described in article 49a of the APL as minor (unintentional publishing of press material with criminal content) and to discontinue proceedings with respect to this charge. A correct analysis of both subjective and objective features of the offence, including legal interests undermined by the offence and negative consequences experienced by the aggrieved party, especially in the party’s life and professional situation, the gravity and manner of the violation of obligations resting with the defendant, including the considerable time period of publication of the criminal content on the gazetabytowska.pl website and the conduct of the defendant after having acquainted himself with the content, all lead to the conclusion that social harm of the acts performed by the defendant cannot be described as minor, the reasoning continued.

The District Court in Słupsk asked the Prosecutor’s Office to delegate to the court the case of posts published on the website. The court observed that when the Prosecutor’s Office asked the administrator of the website to hand over information about the posts of possibly criminal nature, he indeed handed it over. Afterwards the Office discontinued the proceedings–having found no features of a prohibited act–but then pressed charges and indicted the editor.

The District Court in Słupsk in its judgment of 7 February 2008 case file VI Ka 409/07 held that managing an internet website necessitates registration. In consequence, running a website without registration violates the law. The court held that the reasoning of the Regional Court was correct and, similarly to the Regional Court, it discontinued the proceedings (at the same time ascertaining that the act had caused minor social harm). If it was not for that decision of the court, taking the face value of those sentences, anybody could be put on trial for running a website without registration. In this part the case ends with a discontinuance of the case for a year. The District Court in its decision on appeal made some controversial statements. In particular, the court decided that publishing information on the internet with the use of sound and image depends on the publisher, so any soundless publication still complies with the definition of a daily newspaper/a periodical. As concerns the second charge, the District Court overruled the former sentence and delegated the case for another hearing to the Regional Court. Following gby.pl, the court stated that a web portal, as a press title, needs to be registered: the District Court also suggested that

in a subsequent examination of the indictment, the Court should entertain upon sending case files back for pretrial proceedings due to its considerable shortcomings.

This might mean (the Regional Court still has to determine it) that the posted messages (posts) published on the forum might not have constituted an offence.

Discussion
If we go as far as to admit that in the light of the definition provided in Article 7(2) pt. 1 of the APL a website (such as gby.pl) is indeed “press”, considerable doubts still remain whether such a website is a “daily newspaper” or a “periodical”. Both definitions refer to the notion of “print” but also go further to encompass more media by providing that is might convey “sound or sound an image information”. Owing to the general lack of sound in internet websites, it is hard to deny that this regulation does not describe such a publishing medium. Article 7(2)(2) of the APL provides

1) press shall be defined as periodical publications that do not form a single and complete whole, are published at least once a year and bear a constant title or a name, a number and a date, in particular: daily newspapers and periodicals, news agencies bulletins, constant telex messages, bulletins, radio and television broadcasts, film chronicles; press shall also be understood as any and all existing and emerging in the course of technological advancement means of mass media, including broadcasting stations and television and radio broadcasting systems installed in facilities that distribute periodically publications via print, image, sound or any other broadcasting means; the press shall also encompass teams of people and individuals that deal with journalism,
2) a daily newspaper shall be a general-information periodical print or a sound or sound and vision message published more frequently than once a week,
3) a periodical shall be a periodical print published at least once a year but not more frequently than once a week; this regulation shall apply also to messages broadcast by means of sound or sound and vision and any other means than those described in section 2.

Similar Polish case law
Let us turn to Polish judicature concerning similar cases. The Appellate Court in Rzeszów ruled that an internet website cannot be recognised as a “daily newspaper” or a “periodical” as understood by the APL7. In another case, the Appellate Court in Warsaw recognised a teletext service not as a daily newspaper but as a text message as understood by article 4(9) of the Polish Act of 29 December 1992 on Broadcasting8 – LOB – (in Polish: Ustawa o radiofonii i telewizji), published in Journal of Law (Dziennik Ustaw) of 1993, No 7 item 34, consolidated text of 19 Novemver 2004, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 253 item 2531, with subsequent amendments. The press law provides the definition of “press material”. Article 7(2)4 of the Act reads

press material shall be any informative, journalistic, documental or other text or image already published or provided to the publisher and intended for publication in press, irrespective of the means of transmission, type, form, destination or authorship of the material.

The decision of the Supreme Court the criminal Chamber of 28 September 20009 in the case of “traditional media” reads as follows

reader’s letters constitute press material as understood by Article 7 (2) 4 of the Act of 26 January 1984 on Press Law (Dz. U. 1984 No. 5 pt. 24 as amended) under the condition that the letters have been sent to the editorial office with the intention to be published. The editor-in-chief is responsible for their publication. A reader’s letter can be, therefore, published after the information contained in the letter has been cautiously and diligently verified as provided for by article 12 (1) of the Press Law. Publishing a reader’s letter does not constitute quotation of another individual’s statement. In view of that the editor-in-chief is still responsible for its publication.

The Supreme Court’s (Customs Chamber’s) decision of December 7, 199310 reads as follows:

Article 24 (1) together with article 23 of the Criminal Code and article 37 of the Press Law of 26 January 2984 provide the basis for a non-property claim of the violation of personal interests in a press material. The claim may be filed against a publisher.

The authors also need to mention that the Republic of Poland is a civil law country and there are no binding precedents. Also, the Supreme Court’s resolution is only binding for the court that referred with a specific question but in practice Polish courts often apply rules that were interpreted by the Supreme Court.

Different European jurisdictions
The decision11 of the Appellate Court in Berlin (Landgericht) of May 31, 2007 is an apt example of a similar case in German jurisdiction. The case revolved around the responsibility of a moderator of a website for posts made by third persons and the theory of the so-called “impartial internaut”. The court held that a moderator of an online portal is burdened with no general obligation to review (oversee) posts uploaded by third parties. The case involved a dispute between the administrator of the meinprof.de portal, a website used to evaluate professors of colleges and universities, and one of the evaluated professors who was dubbed on meinprof.de a “psycho” and “the bottom one”. Even though the moderator, having received a notice, did remove the posts, the professor filed a complaint with the court. The court held, however, that in this case the posts boiled down merely to airing one’s opinion. The justification of the ruling reads as follows

Under the press law, any publisher Verbreiter can be seen as an offender (Prinz/Peters, Medienrecht, 1999, Rn, 35). The publisher is anybody who, as in this case, contributes to the distribution of a statement. (BGH NJW 1986, 2503 (2504)–Ostkontakte).

Any third parties that (having been viewed objectively) by their actions support (financially) illegal actions that infringe legally protected interests cannot be liable for the infringement in civil cases. The condition for actual liability as an offender is the default of the obligation of review and control. The specific circumstances of a given case should decide if and to what extent the control is or might be compulsory. The decision should also depend on the determination of the function and tasks of the person charged with infringement and that person’s responsibility. The defendant, being an administrator of a platform for exchanging views, did not infringe the obligation of such review/control. Individuals who administrate online portals do not have to control all their content. Owing to the immense amount of content, such control would be unfeasible12.

Even the condition that in the rules of the website the defendant did reserve the right to delete illegal posts does not lead, contrarily to the assertions of the plaintiff, to the recognition of a general obligation to control content. Content control is obligatory only when a person, the personal interests of whom have been violated, brings an accusation in the form of a written notice. The notice should contain a detailed description of the violated personal interests with respect to a specific part of the content. In such a case the administrator of a portal does not have to conduct extensive searches at high personal and technological expense. The administrator will only have to check if the post that the accusation concerns can be described (from the perspective of an objective internaut) as conforming with the law. The defendant, dissimilarly to the administrator of a portal in the case decided upon by the BGH that the plaintiff evoked, did not violate the obligation of control. The administrator of the portal, upon the reception of a message from the plaintiff that centred upon the slanderous post, immediately deleted the post from the forum13.

No crime where there are doubts
In the Polish law, the regulations of the Act on Providing Services by Electronic Means, for example Article 14(1), provide that

A person who gives access to the contents of a network IT system to a customer, where the customer stores data, is not aware of the illegal features of the data or activity connected with the data and upon receiving an official notification or credible information about the illegal features of the data or activity connected with it, immediately bars access to the data, shall not be responsible for the data.

Chapter 3 of the PSEM, entitled “Exemption of responsibility of the service provider for providing E-services”, includes, as the title itself suggests, a number of other exemptions. The chapter concludes with a regulation in article 15 that reads

Any company that renders services described in article 12-14 shall not be required to verify the data described in article 12-14 that is transmitted, stored or made available by that company.

Having reviewed the above regulations, it seems there are two that actually collide with each other–one from the PL and the other from the PSEM. The modus operandi should be drawn entirely from provisions of the law. Having determined it, only now can we turn to the analysis of regulations such as, for example, article 25(4) of the APL, which reads

The editor-in-chief shall bear the responsibility for the content of the material prepared by the editorial team and the organizational and financial issues of the company within the frames set up in the articles of association or relevant regulations. The editor-in-chief is also responsible for safeguarding linguistic correctness of press materials and counteracting their vulgarization.

Another article of the APL, already mentioned above, article 54b (included in Chapter 8, “Proceedings in press cases”) reads

Provisions on legal responsibility and proceedings in press cases shall be applied to the infringement of law connected with the transmission of human thought via means designed to distribute information, irrespectively of the technology of transmission, especially nonperiodical publications and other print, vision and sound products, other that press.

All criminal cases should be decided on in the scope of the principle nullum crimen sine lege (no crime without a law). The aforementioned cases are indeed riddled with doubts. The authors can hardly adhere to the claim that this clause might mean legal liability for the lack of registration of press other than a “daily newspaper” or a “periodical”, also because of the fact that the regulation covers mass media other than the press. In the authors’ opinion, the gby.pl website can be recognised as “press” but is neither a “daily newspaper” nor a “periodical”.

The legal basis is Article 414 of the Criminal Proceedings Code.

1. After the court proceedings have been instigated, if circumstances precluding prosecution or information substantiating conditional discontinuance of the proceedings are recognized, the court may decide to discontinue the proceedings or discontinue the proceedings conditionally. However, if circumstances provided in article 17(1) 1 and 2 are recognized, the court may issue an acquitting judgement, unless the offender at the time of the offence was non compos mentis

and article 66 (with subsequent ones) of the Criminal Code

The court may conditionally discontinue penal proceedings if the guilt and social harm of the illegal act are nor considerable, circumstances of the act are doubtless and the attitude of the offender that has not been punished for an intentional crime, the offender’s personal conditions and former lifestyle substantiate the speculation that the offender will obey the rule of law and especially that will not commit another crime…

Conclusion
Since the gby.pl is neither a daily newspaper nor a periodical, by discontinuing the proceedings in the case the courts apparently did not recognise that “the act was not committed or there was a lack of information sufficiently substantiating the suspicion of its committal” or that “the act did not bear the features of an illegal act or the law provided that the offender did not commit a crime”.

The Polish Act on Providing Services by Electronic Means was to implement into the Polish legislation the European Parliament and Council Directive 2000/31 of June 8, 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the internal market (Directive on electronic commerce) and the European Parliament and Council Directive 2002/58 concerning the processing of personal data and the protection of privacy in the electronic communications sector (Directive on privacy and electronic communications)14. The way Poland incorporated those two Directives into a single domestic legal act stirred considerable criticism15.

Many individuals pointed out that the implementation of the Directives boiled down mainly to the literal translation of their content into Polish, which was then put into a single legal act. In consequence, the Act draws on inconsistent terminology, for instance in some of the regulations the Polish Act uses the term “an information recipient” and in others “a service recipient”. Another problematic issue is the fact that the Act refers to other regulations provided in other domestic legal acts (e.g. the Telecommunications Law Act of 21 July 200016). What is even more, the regulations of the Polish Act do not explicitly set out if a service provider is exempt from civil liability or also criminal liability resulting from rendering e-services. Even further, the European Council reminded Poland that it had implemented the Directive 2000/31 only partially17. As a result, Poland initiated another legislative process that aimed at full implementation of the Directive, especially with regard to the implementation of the “country of origin” rule and the rule of the freedom of providing e-services.

Apart from the imprecise PSEM and the 1984 Press Law Act, which is a legal act originating practically in another era18, the only legal act that directly refers to internet publications is the Access to Public Information Act of September 6, 2001. The Act introduced an “official teleinformation publishing system” in the form of a “unified webpage system” (article 8). The only Polish legal act that suggests how to create websites (for public institutions to comply with the obligation to publish public information) is the Minister’s of Interior and Administration Regulation of January 18, 2007 on the Public Information Bulletin (BIP). Under article 9(2) of the Regulation

Where a subject, referred to in article 4(1) and (2) of the Act, owns an internet website, the subject’s own BIP website shall be created as a part of the website by placing a link with the BIP logotype that shall give direct access to the subject’s BIP website.

Apart from the imprecise definition of the Public Information Bulletin, which functions on the basis of the aforementioned Access to Public Information Act, there can also be the socalled “own website” which, even though provided for in the Regulation, is not defined therein. In consequence, while creating websites, public administration bodies are bound by no other rules than those existing in the “outer world”. Having recognised that, the authors put forward a statement that since in Leszek Szymczak’s case the charges (publishing a periodical without a registration) were not dropped owing to the lack of features of a prohibited act, the same charges (publication of internet websites without proper registration) can be brought against the highest public institutions in Poland. The authors asked the Chief Police Officer on May 8, 2007 the following: do these “own” internet websites (of public institutions) exist legally? The answer was that the Polish police does not register their internet websites with a registration court.

In a democratic country observing the rule of law, the situation of a public institution, which under Article 7 of the Polish Constitution “functions on the basis and within the limits of the law”, differs from the situation of a subject functioning on the basis of economic freedom. Apart from publishing a BIP bulletin, Polish public institutions can also publish daily newspapers and periodicals (which is allowed under article 8 of the APIA)

The publisher can be a legal entity, a natural person or a different organizational entity, even if it is not a legal entity. In particular a publisher can be a public institution, a staterun company, a political organization, a labour union, a cooperative, a selfgovernment body and other social organization, a church or any other religious organization.

If this is the case, public administration institutions should also fulfil legal conditions on the publication of such a newspaper or a periodical. The current practice shows, nevertheless, that the public administration massively creates internet websites and does not register it with registration courts. The Chief Officer of the Police answered the authors19.

The Act of 28 January 1984, the Press Law, does not recognize internet websites as daily newspapers or periodicals.

The first President of the Supreme Court, Lech Gordocki, made a similar statement, later published in the press20.

I am not going to apply to the Regional Court for the registration of the website of the Supreme Court since the Act does not provide such an obligation.

Neither the President of the Republic of Poland, nor the Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection, the Prime Minister of Poland and none of the Polish ministries and state agencies registered their own websites, which functionally do not differ from news websites. Then, if a court held that an individual who published a periodical without proper registration brought minor social harm, the court could rule otherwise if the charged entities were the police, the Prosecutor’s Office, the Ombudsman or even the President, who apart from BIP bulletins all publish news websites without registering them with registration courts21.

As already mentioned, the only normative suggestion concerning internet websites in Poland comes in the form of executive regulations relating to the Access to Public Information Act. These regulations do not differentiate between “websites”, “portals”, “vortals”, etc. Generally we do not know what a “portal”, a “vortal” or a “blog” are. However, Polish courts pass judgments in which judges try wrongly to differentiate between those terms22. If there is no difference between publishing a periodical necessitating proper registration and publishing a blog, then perhaps we should also scrutinise the publishing activities of Marek Siwiec, a Vice-President of the European Parliament, who has been publishing his ruminations at http://mareksiwiec.blog.onet.pl also without registration with a registration court since 2007.

Recent press releases in Poland induced several individuals to apply to registration courts for the registration of blogs as daily newspapers and periodicals (as understood by the Polish Press Law). In some of those applications courts decided to enter names of the blogs to the Register of Daily Newspapers and Periodicals. This, however, under the Polish law, does not mean that in Poland you need to register a blog with a registration court. First of all, such an application should be filed before publishing has started, but that, again, makes it impossible for a court to decide if a given activity necessitates registration. Secondly, courts cannot deny registration if an individual or an organisation files for the registration of something that is neither a daily newspaper nor a periodical. Under article 21 of the APL

A registrar body shall deny the registration if:
[1] the application does not contain data that the Act describes (the daily newspaper’s or the periodical’s title, the seat of the publisher and the exact address of the editorial office, the particulars of the editor-in-chief, the particulars of the publisher, the frequency of publishing of the daily newspaper or the periodical) and

[2] if granting registration would constitute infringement of the right to the legal protection of an existing press title.

Owing to the above, Polish registration courts did enter the names of blogs provided by their applicants23.

In the case of Leszek Szymczak, the defence asked the Polish Commissioner for Civil Rights Protection to apply for a revocation of the sentence (it can be applied for only by the Commissioner and the Prosecutor General). By the end of June 2008 the defence also filed a constitutional complaint (see the website of the Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights24).

P.S.
The Regional Court in Słupsk in its judgment of 16 December 2008 acquitted Leszek Szymczak from charges of publishing press material featuring criminal content that publicly incited its readers to commit offences. See “Press law, case II K 367/08“.

Footnotes
1. Case file VI Ka 409/7.
2. Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No.5, pos. 24, with subsequent changes.
3. Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No.88, pos. 553, with subsequent changes.
4. On the basis of the decision of the Voivodeship Court in Slupsk Ns-Rej.Pr 8/91 of September 12, 1991.
5. Ustawa z dnia 18 lipca 2002 r. o świadczeniu usług droga elektroniczna, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of September 9, 2002, No.144, pos.1204, with subsequent amendments.
6. Directive 2000/31 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 8, 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce) [2000] OJ L178/1-16.
7. Case file I ACa 277/05.
8. Case file I ACa 601/98. Broadcasting Act, Ustawa z dnia 29 grudnia 1992 r. o radiofonii i telewizji, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2004, No. 253 item 2531.
9. Case file V KKN 171/98.
10. Case file III CZP 160/93.
11. Az. 27 S 2/07.
12. Decision of December 7, 2006, Az. 10 W 106/06; BGH NJW 2004, 3102.
13. J. Kurek, Comment available at http://prawo.vagla.pl/node/7341#comment-4526 [Accessed November 10, 2008].
14. [2002] OJ L 201/37-47.
15. G. Raczka, Ochrona Uslugobiorcy uslug elektronicznych (Torun 2007), p. 63, W. Iszkowski, X. Konraski, “Elektroniczne uslugi”, Rzeczpospolita newspaper, March 4, 2003.
16. Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2001, no.73, pos. 852, as amended.
17. Commission of the European Communities, First Report on the application of Directive 2000/31 of the European Parliament and of the Council of June 8, 2000 on certain legal aspects of information society services, in particular electronic commerce, in the Internal Market (Directive on electronic commerce), Brussels, November 21, 2003, COM(2003) 702 final, p. 19.
18. It is noteworthy that August 17, 1991 is a symbolic date recognised as the inception of the Polish internet, i.e. the first time when via an IP protocol the Physics Department of the Warsaw University sent data to the Computer Centre of the Copenhagen University.
19 Letter of June 19, 2007 regarding the answer of the spokesman of the Chief Officer of the Police concerning websites run by the police. See http:// prawo.vagla.pl/node/7329 [Accessed November 10, 2008].
20. In a Polish daily newspaper, Rzeczpospolita, on September 6, 2007.
21. See http://www.president.pl, http://www.kprm.gov.pl/english, http:// www.rpo.gov.pl/index.php?s=3 [Accessed November 10, 2008].
22. See Judgment the district court in Warsaw (IV Civil Division) of June 9, 2008, case file Act IV C 806/07.
23. See http://olgierd.bblog.pl/wpis,moj;nowy;organ;prasowy,7042.html [Accessed November 10, 2008].
24. See http://www.hfhrpol.waw.pl/precedens/pl/aktualnosci/sprawa-gazety-bytowskiej-w-tk.html [Accessed November 10, 2008].

This article was originally published under the title Polish Courts Say Websites Should Be Registered As Press in the Computer and Telecommunications Law Review, C.T.L.R. 2009, 15(1), 9-14.

Patent law, case I ACa 907/06

July 9th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Appellate Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 13 February 2007 case file I ACa 907/06 held that in a situation of conflict of rights related to two patents being in force, the case should be decided by the civil court in order to examine the scope of patent claims, and not only in the case of infringement of the patent but also in the case that the patent infringement does not occur. The Court ruled that the provisions of Article 189 of the Polish Civil Proceedings Code – CPC (in Polish: Kodeks Postępowania Cywilnego) of 17 November 1964, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 43, item 296, with subsequent amendments, are deemed as lex speciali to the provisions of Article 284(1) 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.

Unfair competition law, case III CZ 12/07

March 15th, 2008, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its order of 8 March 2007 case file III CZ 12/07 held that both claims that are defined in the provisions of Article 18 of the Polish Act of 16 April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition – CUC – (in Polish: ustawa o zwalczaniu nieuczciwej konkurencji), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No. 47, item 211, with subsequent amendments, are of financial nature. These are the claim to relinquishment of prohibited practices, and the claim to make one or repeated statement of appropriate content and form. The Court also ruled that an appeal fee against the judgment which set the final fee for filing a suit, should be in an amount equal to the amount of the final fee, the fee is deemed as “fixed fee” according to the rules of the Polish civil proceedings.

Polish patent attorneys, case III CZP 14/06

June 29th, 2006, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Supreme Court in its judgment of 30 March 2006, case file III CZP 14/06, held that a legal advisor who makes the first procedural step and is acting as a representative of legal person, should under the pain provided in the law, attach power of attorney and a document showing that a person, for instance a CEO, who empowered the adivisor had all required powers to issue such POA. The evidence of such powers can be a copy of an extract from appropriate register of commercial companies that was authenticated by a legal advisor himself.