Archive for: trade mark invalidation

Trade mark law, case II GSK 849/09

December 8th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

In 2005, the Polish Patent Office registered the word-figurative trade mark MASTER COOK JAPART R-164044 for Przedsiębiorstwo Produkcyjno-Handlowo-Usługowe “JAPART” Zakład Pracy Chronionej from Panki. Podravka Prehrambena Industrija form Koprivnica Croatia, the owner of the word-figurative trade mark “PODRAVKA VEGETA” R-138057, gave reasoned notice of opposition to the final decision of the Patent Office on the grant of a right of protection.

R-138057

The PPO in its decision of 13 June 2008 case no. Sp. 523/06 ruled that “PODRAVKA VEGETA” is the reputed trade mark, although Podravka Prehrambena also supplied very worthless evidence materials. However, the PPO agreed with the owner that its trade mark was introduced on the Polish market in 1994, which was properly supported by documents issued on 11 October 1994 by the company’s marketing department. From this date the reputation of the trade mark could have been created and the existence of reputation is established before the date of application for the trade mark. In case of “MASTER COOK JAPART” it was before 3 April 2002. Therefore, the PPO invalidated the right of protection. Japart filed a complaint.

R-164044

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 22 May 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 2147/08 dismissed it. The Court came to the conclusion that Japart used a specific, multi-element composition of a reputed mark. The Court held that the likelihood of obtaining unfair advantage from the reputed trade mark is the obstacle that justifies the refusal to grant an exclusive right to sign that is identical or similar to the earlier a famous mark. It was therefore sufficient to assume that the applicant could use investments and financial efforts, which have previously been made by the owner of earlier trade mark to build an attractive image of the mark and attract customers. Japart filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 12 October 2010 case file II GSK 849/09 agreed with the VAC and dismissed the case. See also “Unfair competition, case I ACa 1270/10“.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 779/09

December 1st, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of a story described in “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 121/09“. HOUSE Spółka z o.o filed a cassation complaint. The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 23 September 2010 case file II GSK 779/09 dismissed the case. The Court agreed with the VAC that ICT had the status of “owner” of the trade mark within the meaning of Article 161 of the IPL in connection with Article 6 septies of the Paris Convention although ICT at the date of the application of the questioned trade mark, i.e. on 11 March 1994, was not entitled under Article 161 of the IPL to XL XAVIER LAURENT IR-763083 trade mark, since the registration has been granted on 23 September 1999, and the protection of international registration lasts until 10 July 2001.

IR-763083

The SAC ruled that the provisions of Article 8(1) of the TMA concerns the substantive conditions of registration of the mark (it is not allowed to register a sign, which is contrary to the law or the rules of social coexistence) and it was referred to in Article 29 of TMA as a basis for invalidation of the registration of the trade mark, if the conditions provided in Article 8(1) were met. However, Article 161(1) and (2) of the IPL concerns only a request (claim) for invalidation of the right of protection.

Article 161
1. To the extent as follows from an international agreement, where a trademark has been applied for protection by and on behalf of, or the right of protection has been granted for, an agent or a representative of the person enjoying the exclusive right to use that trademark in another country, that person may, if the agent or representative acted without that person’s consent, demand that the protection granting proceeding be discontinued or the right of protection revoked. He may also demand that the right of protection be granted on his behalf, or the right already granted transferred to him.
2. The right may not be demanded to be revoked or transferred, where the entitled person referred to in paragraph (1) has acquiesced, for a period of five successive years, in the use of the registered trademark while being aware of such use.

It was obvious for the Court that if the conditions mentioned in the Article 161(2) of the IPL were met, then there is no need to study the substantive grounds for invalidation of the registration, as referred to in Article 8(1) in connection with Article 29 of the TMA. It is in accordance with Article 161(2) of the IPL that the request for the invalidation or transfer of rights cannot occur if, for a period of five consecutive years, the holder referred to in paragraph 1, being aware of such use, did not object to the use of a registered trade mark.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 299/10

November 15th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 14 March 2007, the Polish Patent Office registered the word-figurative trade mark Oxford Wielka Historia Świata R-187352 for goods in Class 16 such as books and periodicals. The Polish company “Oxford Educational” sp. z o.o. from Słupsk was the applicant and the holder of the right of protection. The Chancellor Masters and Scholars of the University of Oxford (Oxford University Press) filed a request for invalidation. The OUP argued that it is obvious to everyone that Oxford is a place uniquely associated by the public around the world with the home of a famous university. Therefore, marking the goods with a signs associated with Oxford – the seat of the famous University of Oxford – may mislead the public as to the true geographical origin of products. The OUP also pointed out that, with priority from 24 April 1995, is entitled to the rights of protection to three trade marks sharing the same verbal element, OXFORD, R-103399, OXFORD UNIVERSITY PRESS R-102351 and OXFORD ENGLISH R-102350.

R-187352

The Polish company argued that the trade mark at issue does not refer to a geographical name of Oxford town, but to holder’s company name, and therefore it is not misleading. Oxford Educational also argued that the disputed sign was created in collaboration with an English company. The Polish Patent Office invalidated the right of protection. The PPO ruled that the conflicting trade marks are registered for identical goods, therefore, there is a risk of misleading the public as to their origin. Oxford Educational filed a complaint against this decision.

R-102350

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 13 May 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 299/10 dismissed the complaint. The Court held that in case of a collision between a company name (the firm) and a trade mark that was registered with the “worse priority,” the priority shall be given to the right that was previously-formed. The mere registration of a trademark that is identical or similar to another company’s name (firm) does not provide even a breach of the rights to the company. However, the right to the company name would be infringed if the registration of a conflicting trade mark interferes with the exercise of this right. This distortion is misleading as to the identity of actors (acting under the company name and usign the sign) and therefore may jeopardize the company name. In case of a known, reputable, i.e. “strong” trade mark it means that the consumer awareness is associated with the recognized high-quality of products, derived from the manufacturer with high reputation. Thus, the registration of the questioned trade, and more – its application was made with a clear intention to benefit from the reputation of the OXFORD trade mark.

Trade mark law, case no. Sp. 133/08

November 10th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Wyborowa S.A. from Poznań filed a request for invalidation of the right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark WYBORNA ŻYTNIA EXCELLENT RYE VODKA BLENDED R-172468 and word-figurative trade mark WYBORNA EXCELLENT VODKA R-172469, both applied for on 1 October 2002, for goods in Class 33 such as alcoholic beverages. The right of protection was granted to PPS Polmos S.A. Warszawa. Wyborowa S.A. argued that there is a confusing similarity to the WÓDKA WYBOROWA R-151215 trade mark and that the application of the both signs was made in bad faith.

R-151215

Wyborowa S.A. relied on an agreement regarding the division of trade marks that were registered for the stated owned Polmos company before socio-economic transformations that have occurred in Poland after 1989. Both WYBORNA R-64663 and WYBORNA WÓDKA R-64855 trade marks were transferred to PPS Polmos S.A. Warszawa.

R-64855

These trade marks received protection in the 90’s, and in 2003, Wyborowa S.A. requested the PPO to decide on the lapse of the right of protection. At the first stage, the PPO dismisses the case due to the lack of legitimate interests of Wyborowa S.A. The Company filed a complaint against this decision and the Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 12 July 2006 case file VI SA/Wa 704/06 annulled the contested decisions and ruled them unenforceable. The Adjudicative Board of the Polish Patent Office in its final decisions of 28 April 2008 case number Sp. 285/06 and Sp. 543/06 decided on the lapse of the protection.

R-64663

PPS Polmos Warszawa applied again for the right of protection for very similar labels, hence Wyborowa S.A. filed a notice of opposition (dismissed by the PPO) and the request for invalidation,

R-172468

The Adjudicative Board of the Polish Patent Office in its decision of 8 October 2010 case no. Sp. 133/08 invalidated both questioned trade marks. The PPO held that the application of those trade marks was made in bad faith, which was intended to circumvent the law. This was because these signs have been applied for during the proceedings of on the lapse of the above trade marks R-64663 and R-64855.

R-172469

The PPO ruled that Polmos Warszawa still wants to continue to maintain a monopoly and block other entrepreneurs to the use of the Wyborna sign. This is kind of a precedent decision, because the PPO probably for first time in its case-law considered that the re-application for similar signs is contrary to the principles of merchant’s honesty, as a matter of acting in bad faith. The decision is not final yet.

Trade mark law, case no. Sp. 541/07

November 3rd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 30 October 2002, Centrum Szybkiej Diagnostyki Kardiologicznej “KARDIOMED” Maciej Żabówka, Maciej Bylica from Tarnów applied for the word-figurative trade mark KARDIOMED for goods in Class 36 and in Class 44 such as rental of medical equipment, devices and medical apparatus. On 1 August 2004, the Polish Patent Office granted the right of protection R-180711.

R-180711

Another Polish entrepreneur, Centrum Kardiologiczne KARDIOMED Lucja Kieras-Deżakowska from Sosnowiec, filed a notice of opposition against the decision of the PPO on the grant of a a right of protection. The opposing party raised a number of arguments: the infringement of the rights to the company name, the misleading nature of the questioned sign, that the application for a trade mark was made in bad faith, confusing similarity. Lucja Kieras-Deżakowska argued that on 8 August 2001 she applied for the wor-figurative trade Mark Kardiomed for goods in Class 44 such as medical services for people in medical consulting rooms, counseling and medical care, m dical diagnostics, echocardiography, ultrasound, electrocardiography, stress tests, heart rate and pressure records, medical examination, physiotherapy, psychotherapy, paramedical services. The decision on the grant of the right of protection R-162886 was given on 6 May 2005. Ms Kieras-Deżakowska claimed the similarity of signs and services.

R-162886

The Adjudicative Board of the Polish Patent Office in its decision of 13 September 2010 case no. Sp. 541/07 dismissed the opposition. The PPO ruled that the services are different. And although the signs do have similarities, it eliminates the risk of confusion. The PPO also noted that the civil court, should assess whether the proprietor has committed an act of unfair competition. As for other grounds of the Board found no evidence to support them. The decision may be appealed against to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 347/10

October 29th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 9 July 2005, the Polish Patent Office registered word-figurative trade mark “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU” R-164275 for Grzegorz Majewski “SINONIS” from Katowice. Michał Gramatyka, Wojciech Harmansa, Adam Saczka and Sławomir Olko filed a request for the invalidation of the right of protection. They claimed that they were members of the music band “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU”, the band’s name is a common right and therefore the registration of this name as a trademark by Grzegorz Majewski violated the rights of other band members. The applicants alleged that Majewski filed for the registration at a time when he was not an active member of the band and he also knew that “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU” continues its operation, accordingly he acted in bad faith. Bad faith is also confirmed by the fact that based on the granted right of protection for the trade mark in question, Majewski demanded the cessation of business activity of the other band members. The sign in question is a word-figurative trade mark and similarities that exist may mislead the public with “PERŁY I ŁOTRY” R-194932 trade mark registered for Firma Usługowo-Handlowa HARPEL II Wojciech Harmansa. See also “Trade mark law, case Sp. 211/08“.

R-164275

The Polish Patent Office dismissed the request and concluded that there was no reason to believe that the grant of protection to the trade mark at issue violated the personal rights of applicants if a civil court’s judgment submitted during the invalidation proceedings included a statement that they are not entitled to such a personal right/interest to the band name. The applicants filed a complaint against this decision.

R-194932

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 24 August 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 347/10 annulled the contested decision and ruled it unenforceable. The VAC held that there was a breach of procedural law. The Court held that the PPO, in fact, did not properly examine the request for invalidation. The PPO based its findings only on certain statements issued in the judgment of the Apellate Court in Katowice, and draw more far-reaching conclusions. And so, from the finding of the Appellate Court that plaintiffs have not demonstrated the fact that they are entitled to the name of the band “Perły i Łotry Szanghaju”, the PPO reached a conclusion that the applicants shall have no personal or property rights, and then ruled the argument of acting in bad faith as unfounded. This jugdgment is not final.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 203/10

October 11th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company INTERKOBO Sp. z o.o. filed a request for the invalidation of the right of protection for the trade mark kucyk pony R-139097 that was registered for HASBRO POLAND Sp. z o.o. Kucyk means “pony” in Polish language. INTERKOBO argued that it has the legitimate interest in the invalidation proceedings because it is a manufacturer of toys, and it offers products such as toy ponies. In addition, in the cease and desist letter dated on 24 April 2007, HASBRO called INTERKOBO to stop the infringement of the right of protection for trade mark “kucyk pony” R-139097 which consisted of using by the INTERKOBO of “Princes’ s Pony” sign for designation of ponies’ toys. INTERKOBO argued also that HASBRO restricts the freedom of economic activity of its competitors, asking them to stop marketing of toys in the form of a small pony and requesting destruction of such products. By registering of the trade mark in question HASBRO had the intention of its use in isolation from the goods for which it was registered, and the intention of closing the access to the market for its competitors, the more that HASBRO as a professional market player should knew or should have known that the term “kucyk pony” as used for the toys in the form of a pony does not have any sufficient distinctiveness. INTERKOBO stressed that HASBRO Sp. z o.o. is a part of capital group operating on the global toys market, which is the position that allows it to dominate the market for local manufacturers of toys and contrary to the scope of the use made of registration to combat competition, which is contrary to the principles of the social coexistence. HASBRO claimed that its sign is used on the Polish market, on the packaging of “kucyk pony” toys and other materials, since 1998 and is the subject of a number of marketing activities, and the brand “kucyk pony” includes not only toys, but also videos and a monthly magazine for children. HASBRO argued that its trade mark has a strong distinctive character and can be regarded as a reputable one, in relation to the goods it designates it has the so-called primary distinctive character. The Polish Patent Office dismissed the request. INTERKOBO filed a complaint against PPO’s decision.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 24 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 203/10 affirmed this decision and dismissed the case. The VAC held that the trade mark in question is is a fanciful sign and has the primary distinctive character. It is not a generic name of any of the listed goods, and it does not inform about their properties. Pony (in Polish: kucyk) is the generic name of the horse species while it is not the name of the goods protected by the trade mark, which goods do not have any direct connection with any species of horses.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 626/09

September 6th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Swiss company Marquard Media, current publisher of the magazine “Przegląd Sportowy”, which since 1974 always includes a supplement entitled “Skarb Kibica” (in English: Fan’s Treasure), succeeded in registering SKARB KIBICA R-134960 at the Polish Patent Office.

In 2004, Profus Management requested the invalidation of the right of protection for the SKARB KIBICA trade mark. Profus claimed that this sign has informational nature rather than distinctive character. It provided an opinion written by professor Urszula Promińska to support its arguments with this regard. In 1992 Profus Management bought the weekly football magazine “Piłka Nożna” with “Skarb Kibica” column. Marquard Media filed a trade mark infringement suit.

In 2006, the PPO has decided on the invalidation of the right of protection. The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 2 October 2006 case file VI SA/WA 791/06 reversed this decision, but only because of deficiencies in the proceedings and send it back to the PPO for reconsideration.

When examining the case after the judgment, the PPO in its decision of 25 February 2008 case file Sp. 213/07 dismissed Profus Management request. The PPO held that the mere use of the sign in question by different entities cannot deprive its distinctiveness. When the case went again in 2009 to the VAC, the owner of “Przegląd Sportowy” and “Skarb Kibica” was Axel Springer Poland. The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 27 February 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 2219/08 dismissed Profus complaint. The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 31 August 2010 case file II GSK 626/09 upheld this decision. The SAC held that the mere use of this sign by different publishers at the date of its registration cannot deprive its distinctiveness. The distinctive character of such a sign is examined, of how it was perceived by readers interested in football and sport activities.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 839/09

August 28th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative in its judgment of 5 August 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 839/09 decided on the complaint  of the holder of the Polish trademark registration DSC R-82966 against the decision Sp. 2/98 of the Polish Patent Office of 28 January 2009 on invalidation of this trademark.

R-82966

The VAC has not examined substantive issues of the matter because as it has stated the decision of the Polish Patent Office is too general and it does not specify documents on which the Polish Patent Office has based its findings. In the Court’s opinion the Polish Patent Office quoting his findings has only used the phrase “it results from the submitted documents that…”, instead of giving precise description of each relevant document, which prevents the Voivodeship Administrative Court from presenting its opinion on the correctness of the questioned decision. In view of above, the complaint has been accepted and the matter has been transferred to the Polish Patent Office for reexamination.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 574/10

August 23rd, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 574/10 ruled that Article 8 of the Paris Convention is a “conflicting norm” i.e. a norm/rule in private international law that points to appropriate substantive law that should be applied in a given case. The “trade name” on the basis of Article. 8, 9, 10 bis of the Paris Convention covers both the company name as an indication of business and company name in the subjective meaning. A trade name is the name of an entity being endowed with a right (merchant, trader, businessman – the subject of rights ), under which it is established and is performing its business activity, usually organized as the company/enterprise (the object of rights). It is therefore a designation of a business, which includes distinctive elements, and all these elements that allow for the individualization of economic activity.

R-194401

The disclosure of company’s name in the registry (National Court Register – Polish public register maintained by the selected regional courts and the Ministry of Justice which includes the register of enterprises) has a declaratory nature and provides the legal basis for the possibility of setting up/starting a business, therefore the priority of use decides on the priority of right to the company name.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 746/09

August 10th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of a story decribed in “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 2284/08” that concerned the trade mark HERITAGE FILMS. The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 10 August 2010 case file II GSK 746/09 dismissed the cassation complaint brought by Zygmunt Piotrowski. The SAC held inter alia that the provisions of the TMA or the IPL do not provide in the course of the litigation proceedings lead by the Polish Patent Office, for the possibility to control the legality of the administrative proceedings that concerned the registration of a given trade mark. The legality of a decision granting the right of protection should be challenged in different proceedings.

Heritage

The Court noted that Mr Piotrowski confused the concepts of “invalidation of the registration right” or “invalidation of right of protection for a trade mark” with the annulment of the decision on the granting of the right. There are different grounds for such decisions and other procedures on their issuance, but in case of the breach of the provisions listed in Article 29 of the Trade Marks Act, those conditions may overlap, and only in this case they might be raised in the opposition proceedings. Consequently, the invaliditon of the protection right, although identical in its consequences, cannot be identified with the institution of the annulment of the decision on the granting of the right of protection.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 495/09

August 10th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 14 March 1994, Polish entrepreneur operating under the name Usługi Pogrzebowe “Hades” Włodzimierz Wasilewski from Częstochowa applied for the right of protection for HADES Z-130892 trade mark in class 45, funeral services. Another Polish entrepreneur operating under the name Nowak Tomasz Firma Pogrzebowa HADES from Łódź filed an opposition to a final decision of the Patent Office on the grant of the right of protection for HADES R-148641 trade mark.

R-148641

Tomasz Nowak claimed that the Polish Patent Office ruled on the discontinuance of examination proceedings for HADES Z-130892 because of the failure to pay application fees and on 6 March 1999, he decided to file for the right of protection for word-figurative trade mark HADES Z-198798 in classes 26 31 39 42. On 26 September 2001 the PPO granted the right of protection for HADES R-132619 trade mark. Tomasz Nowak argued that the resumption of proceedings by the Patent Office on the application of HADES Z-130892 trade mark, which led to the granting of the right of protection, deprived him of part of the right acquired in good faith and the possibility to obtain the protection for the next sign. According to Tomasz Nowak the decision on the grant of the right of protection for HADES R-148641 trade mark, not only violates his right to earlier acquired trade mark, but most of all it violates the principle of certainty and security of legal transactions. It leads to a situation where the market will experience two identical trade marks, registered for identical goods, however, enjoyed by the various owners, which is contrary the rules of trade mark law of course.

R-132619

The PPO dismissed the opposition and Tomasz Nowak filed a complaint against this decision of the PPO. He based its claims on provisions of article 8(1) and (2) of the old Polish Trade Mark Act – TMA – (in Polish: Ustawa o znakach towarowych) of 31 January 1985, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 15, with subsequent amendments.

Article 8
A trademark shall not be registrable if:
1) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence;
2) it infringes the personal or economic rights of third parties;

Tomasz Nowak also challenged the examination proceedings which led to the registration of the questioned trade mark.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 14 January 2009 case VI SA/Wa 1941/08 ruled that legal provisions invoked in the complaint cannot be applied to assess the legality of the registration proceedings conducted by the PPO. Accordingly, the request for invalidation of right of protection of HADES trade mark under these provisions was irrelevant. The provisions of the TMA, or the IPL does not provide in the course of the litigation proceedings lead by the PPO, the possibility to control the legality of the administrative proceedings that concerned the registration of the questioned trade mark. The Court ruled that the allegations of violation of the administrative procedure by the PPO could only qualify as a basis for annulment of the decision. Tomasz Nowak was required to bring such claims in the complaint, however he did not so. Tomasz Nowak filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 June 2010 case file II GSK 495/09 dismissed the cassation complaint. The SAC ruled that the VAC could not review the decision on the grant of a right of protection for HADES R-148641 trade mark. The VAC had to decide within the scope of the complaint and shall be bound by the legal ground invoked by the requesting party. The SAC also expressed the view that the registration of the name of someone else’s company does not preclude the registration of a trademark but the right to a name of the company must be infringed, and the existence of such right has not been proven by Tomasz Nowak. The complainer has not demonstrated that he had the right to name of the company. Actually both entrepreneurs have the right to use HADES sign as their business name. The complainer also argued that the mere prior use of the sign and not in relation to the applicant, but in relation to the entitled to the right of protection, provides a sufficient argument that the questioned trade mark infringes personal or economic rights of third parties. The SAC ruled that this view is incorrect. It clearly refers only to infringement of personal or property rights.

Trade mar law, case VI SA/Wa 2180/09

July 31st, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 28 July 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 2180/09 held that since the decision on the establishment who owns copyright to the questioned trade mark that should be issued by a civil court, was not taken, because of the failure to act of a party, the PPO correctly decided that the reasons for the stay of the invalidation proceedings indicated in the order, no longer holds. This case concerned the trade mark panorama pogody R-145414 owned by Eniro Polska Spółka z o.o. from Warsaw.

Trade mark law, case Sp. 334/05

July 30th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 1 March 2004, the Polish Patent Office registered word-figurative trade mark CZUWAJ R-152214 (in English: “Be Prepared”). Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego – Główna Kwatera is the owner. The sign looks exactly the same as the Scouts Cross.

The final design of Scout’s Crass was approved during ZHP’s unification conference held on October 1-2 1918 which has choosen this sign as the official badge of Polish scouting In November 1918 the Polish Ministry of War decreed that the Krzyż Harcerski was the only civilian emblem that might be worn on military uniforms. The tradition continues to this day.

Nowadays, there are three major scouting organizations in Poland. Związek Harcerstwa Polskiego, Związek Harcerstwa Rzeczypospolitej and Stowarzyszenia Harcerstwa Katolickiego Zawisza.

R-152214.jpg

ZHR filed a request for invalidation of the right of protection. The request was based on provisions of article 8(1) of the old Polish Trade Mark Act – TMA – (in Polish: Ustawa o znakach towarowych) of 31 January 1985, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 15, with subsequent amendments.

A trademark shall not be registrable if:
1) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence,

The Polish Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej) of 30 June 2000, published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) of 2001 No 49, item 508, consolidated text on 13 June 2003, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 119, item 1117, with subsequent amendments, provides more stricter regulations against registering such signs.

Article 131
1. Rights of protection shall not be granted for signs:

(…)

(ii) that are contrary to law, public order or morality, or

(…)

2. A right of protection shall not be granted for a sign, if:
(i) it has been applied for protection with the Patent Office in bad faith,
(ii) it incorporates the name or abbreviated name of the Republic of Poland, or its symbols (emblem, national colours or national anthem), the names or armorial bearings of Polish voivodships, towns or communities, the insignia of the armed forces, paramilitary organisations or police forces, reproductions of Polish decorations, honorary distinctions or medals, military medals or military insignia, or other official or generally used distinctions and medals, in particular those of government administration, local self-administration or social organisations performing activities in vital public interests, where these organisations’ activities extend to the entire territory of the State or to a substantial part thereof, unless the applicant is able to produce evidence of his right, in particular in a form of an authorisation issued by a competent State agency or a permission given by an organisation, to use the sign in the course of trade,

(…)

(v) it incorporates elements being symbols, in particular of a religious, patriotic or cultural nature whose use could hurt religious feelings, sense of patriotism or national tradition,

The Polish Patent Office in its decision case file Sp. 334/05 invalidated the right of protection. The PPO ruled that all Polish scouts’ organizations should have the right to use this sign. This decision is not yet final. A complaint may be filed to the Voivodeship Administrative Court.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 808/10

July 28th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its order of 28 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 808/10 ruled that according to article 143 of the Polish Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej) of 30 June 2000, 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 later amendments, the Polish Patent Office shall publish a trademark application immediately after the expiration of three months from the date of filing of that application. As from the date of publication any third parties may acquaint themselves with the trademark determined in the application and with the list of the goods for which the mark is intended. They may also submit to the PPO their observations as to the existence of grounds that may cause a right of protection to be denied. Therefore, anyone has the right to submit comments to a trade mark application, but filing such comments does not make someone a party to the examination proceedings. These observations are only material that will be taken into consideration when examining the trade mark application

The VAC also noted that according to article 246 of the IPL any person may give reasoned notice of opposition to a final decision of the Patent Office on the grant of a right of protection within six months from the publication in “Wiadomości Urzędu Patentowego” of the mention of the grant of a title of protection, and according to article 164 of the IPL, the right of protection for a trademark may be invalidated in whole or in part at the request of any person having a legitimate interest therein, provided that that person is able to prove that the statutory requirements for the grant of that right have not been satisfied. In such cases, the person is a party to the proceedings. This case concerned Gobired trade mark R-222675 owned by Przedsiębiorstwo Handlowo-Usługowe MAREL PLUS Leszek Marcinowski from Gdańsk.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 2178/09

July 27th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

A Polish entrepreneur requested the Polish Patent Office for the invalidation of the word trade mark “panorama religii” R-145419, claiming the it owns copyright to the aforementioned sign. The PPO decided to stay the proceedings and ordered the applicant within two months from the date of receipt of the order to file a suit to the civil court with regard to establishement of copyrights to the disputed trade mark. The applicant was also ordered to provide the PPO with certified copies of the suit within two months from the date of receipt of the order. The applicant did not file such a suit and stated that he will not take those steps. After filing another motions this case went to the administrative court.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 28 July 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 2178/09 held that whether there was an infringement of civil jurisdiction, in this regard, the matter will be subject to review by the Court on the complaint against the merits of the PPO’s decision.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 370/10

July 21st, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its order 17 June 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 370/10 held that if the party did not act properly within a given period of time in court proceedings without its fault, the court may decide on the request, on the restoration of a deadline. The request for restoration shall be filed within the Court, in which the act was to be made within seven days from the time as the cause of transgression ceased. The request for restoration of a deadline to file a complaint must be filed through the court or authority. The restoration of a deadline has unique nature and can only occur if the party convincingly proves of the absence of its guilt. The lack of guilt means a situation in which circumstances that were impossible to overcome and that were independent from the party, have occurred , and these were the reasons that the deadline set by the law was exceeded (see the order of the Supreme Administrative Court of 11 April 2008 case file I OZ 246/08).

In assessing the occurrence of this condition, the Court has to adopt an objective “test of care”, which may be required from everyone duly taking care of its interests. The restoration is therefore not admissible if the party is guilty of even slight negligence. If the party is represented by a professional representative, while assessing the guilt of not preserving a deadline, the representative acts should be considered, adopting an objective test of care, which may be required from a professional legal representative duly caring for the interests of its client, with the reservation that negligence of people, whom such representative employs, burden the representative itself, and therefore do not release the party from the guilt in non-reserving a deadline.

This means that the negligence made by administrative staff in activities necessary to preserve the procedural deadline, which was commissioned by a patent attorney who is a representative of a party, does not justify the restoration of a missed deadline.

Terravita Holding Establishment from Vaduz, Lichtenstein was a party who lost this case. See also “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 370/10“.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 2038/09

July 14th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

Polish company Przedsiębiorstwo POLMOS Białystok Spółka Akcyjna, the owner of word-figurative and 3D trade mark “POLMOS ŻUBRÓWKA BISON BRAND VODKA” R-62081 and 3D trade mark R-85811, filed a notice of opposition to a final decision of the Polish Patent Office on the grant of the right of protection to word-figurative and 3D trade mark “VODKA Herbe de Pologne” R-155144, registered for BELVEDERE S.A.

R-62081

POLMOS argued, inter alia, that there is a significant visual similarity between trade marks at issue. Its bottle has a blade of grass, which is very dominant and attracts the attention of the average consumer. Such assessment cannot be undermined by the fact that there are few blades of grass in the bottle representing the questioned trade mark. POLMOS argued that the registration of “VODKA Herbe de Pologne” threatens the reputation of its trade marks, and emphasized the role of grass in the bottle as a motif indicating the origin of the product. POLMOS added that the purpose of BELVEDERE’s actions was the parasitic use of the reputation of earlier trade marks owned by POLMOS.

In the opinion of the Polish Patent Office (PPO) these trade marks were visually dissimilar because of different bottle shape, color, the presence of a label in the contested mark and the lack of labels in the opposed one, number and appearance of components in liquid. These signs were incomparable in the phonetic/aural aspect, so they were also dissimilar, as the opposed trade mark lacks lettering. In the conceptual aspect the questioned trade mark contains a bunch of herbs inside the bottle and the word “herbe” which indicates that the vodka is herbal, and the opposed sign, contains a longitudinal component, but this element in general is not like weed-grass. Consequently, due to lack of similarity the PPO held that the opposition is unfounded. POLMOS filed a complaint.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 27 April 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 2038/09 held that in the case of trade mark reputation, a sign has to be examined as a whole, as the right of protection was granted for such a designation. It can not be allowed to examine every element of the sign separately, in isolation from the whole trade mark.

R-155144

The Court also ruled that the similarity of signs is a prerequisite for examining whether in a particular situation there was infringement of the reputation of an earlier mark. See “Trade mark law, case II GSK 207/07“. The VAC held that the absence of the similarity of signs, which also includes the possibility of their association, is the argument that the presence on the market of goods bearing the sign at issue will not affect in any way the alleged reputation and distinctive character of POLMOS’ trade marks.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 608/09

July 13th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 19 March 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 1888/08 ruled that the consequence of the transfer of trade mark rights to another party, is that its previous owner is not allowed to continue to invoke the claims of the infringement of these trade marks. However, such a possibility is not excluded if the assignment of the trade mark rights will include appropriate provisions authorizing the previous owner of the trade mark to continue proceedings in which it claimed it has rights to assigned trade marks.

R-149940

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 13 May 2010 case file II GSK 608/09 repealed the contested judgment and returned it to the VAC for further reconsideration. The SAC held that at both the opposition proceedings as referred to in article 246 of the Polish Act of 30 June 2000 on Industrial Property Law – IPL – (in Polish: ustawa Prawo własności przemysłowej) of 30 June 2000, 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, that served as the basis for the decision to refuse to grant a right of protection, and subsequent proceedings before the Polish Patent Office under litigation for invalidation of a right of protection, due to the recognition by the proprietor of a trade mark that the opposition is to be unfounded, the applicant who wants to support the opposition does not have to show the legal interest.

Article 246
1. Within six months from the publication in “Wiadomości Urzędu Patentowego” of the mention of the grant of a title of protection, any person may give reasoned notice of opposition to a final decision of the Patent Office on the grant of a patent, a right of protection or a right in registration.
2. The opposition referred to in paragraph (1) may be filed on the same grounds, on which a patent, a right of protection or a right in registration may be invalidated.

This case concerned the invalidation proceedings of the trade mark CARLO BOSSI R-149940 that was registered for goods in Class 3 by KIVI Dr Krzysztof Słoń from Izabelin Laski.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 370/10

May 21st, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its order 14 April 2010 case file VI SA/Wa 370/10 held that the complaint to the Administrative Court must be filed through the authority, whose action or inactivity is the subject of the complaint within thirty days from the date of notification to the applicant of the decision. The principle filing a complaint through a public authority means that in case of complaint filed directly to the administrative court or through a public authority other than the one whose action or inactivity is the subject of the complaint, the court or authority should pass it on to the competent authority of public administration. The date when the complaint was passed on by the court (public body) decide on the preservation of the deadline for bringing an action. If the complaint is brought after the deadline to file it, it shall be rejected. Terravita Holding Establishment from Vaduz, Lichtenstein was a party who lost this case. See also “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 370/10“.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 344/09

April 20th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

This is the continuation of the history described in the post entitled “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1388/07“.

The Polish Patent Office (PPO) and the Voivodeship Administrative Court (VAC) ruled that EAU DE TOKYO trade mark is totally dissimilar to KENZO or to L’eau par Kenzo trade marks. The mere fact of the use of the word eau did not predict similarity of questioned signs, because the word as part of the expression of eau de toilette, in relation to cosmetics does not have any distinctive character. The PPO and the VAC did not agree with arguments that MGT Parfum Création wanted to use the reputation that was understood as the good name of KENZO.

According to the PPO and the VAC, the use of packaging that is confusingly similar to the packaging used by KENZO could only give rise to claims of delict of unfair competition which is decided in the civil proceedings. The very fact of any dishonest conduct of the holder of the disputed registration cannot be interpreted that the trade mark application has been made in bad faith. Even if the court agreed that events which took place in 2006, i.e. MGT actions based on producing EAU DE TOKYO packaging that looked alike L’eau par Kenzo perfumes, and advertising of its products with “the type of Kenzo perfume” slogan, could raise doubts about compliance of such actions with the rules of fair competition, but these were not sufficient facts to consider that in 2000, MGT had the intention to act dishonestly – in bad faith.

The Supreme Administrative Court (SAC) in a judgment of 26 January 2010,case file II GSK 344/09, ruled that the PPO has properly established and the VAC correctly agreed to facts, that at the time of application for the protection right for EAU DE TOKYO R-153843 trade mark, the bad faith could not be attributed to MGT Parfum Création.

Procedural law, case VI SA/Wa 2094/06

February 27th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Polish company BI-ES sp. z o.o., the owner of the word-figurative trade mark BI-ES R-137322, requested the Polish Patent Office to invalidate the right of protection for the word trade mark BI-KOR R-151731 registered for BIKOR Elżbieta Korbutt. for goods in Class 3 such as cosmetics, in Class 5 such as pharmaceutical preparations for cosmetic purposes, and in Class 41 for services such as organizing and conducting cosmetic and make-up exhibition for contests and educational purposes.

R-137322

BI-ES noted that its trade mark was registered with the earlier priority for the wide spectrum of goods in Class 3 such as perfumery products, perfumes, toilet waters, perfumed sprays, colognes, essential oils and others. The Company claimed that both trade marks are very similar and BIKOR used the idea to separate of the first syllable BI from the second segment with a dash.

BIKOR argued that its sign was present on the marker much earlier than BI-ES. This sign has been applied to the Polish Patent Office in March 1995, four years before the trade mark BI-ES, but this application failed due to temporary financial difficulties.

The Polish Patent Office dismissed the request and ruled that both trade marks differ in all three aspects. The PPO noted that it would be hard to prove that there was imitation on the notation of both signs, becasue there were many registrations of marks with a dash. BI-ES filed a complaint against this decision. The Company argued that BIKOR was not represented properly, becasue the PoA has not been signed by Elżbieta Korbutt. The signature was partially illegible. Admission of a case where the party was represented by a patent attorney without proper PoA is a flagrant violation of the procedural rules and the decision resulting from that proceedings should be annulled because it was rendered as a result of defectively performed administrative proceedings.

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 7 February 2007 case file VI SA/Wa 2094/06 dismissed it. The Court ruled that the PPO did not correctly examine the similarity of signs based on the etymology of BI- prefix, however, the whole assesment proved that both signs are disimilar. The VAC noted that the power of attorney should be given in writing and attached to the case file when making the first legal action. The Court found that the copy of PoA was on the case file and it was issued under the authority and properly signed next to the stamp of a company. The original PoA was on file for the trade mark BI-KOR R-151731. The power of attorney was not challenged in the course of the invalidation proceedings, by the trade mark owner or the opponent.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 1111/08

January 13th, 2010, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 24 July 2008 case file VI SA/Wa 237/08 dismissed Tiffany & Broadway Inc. Div. of Texpol Corporation’s appeals against the Polish Patent Office decisions of 19 March 2007 case files Sp. 68/04 and Sp. 69/04, regarding the invalidation of the right of protection for word-figurative trade marks TIFFANY R-128063 and “Tiffany & Broadway Inc.” R-128064 which were registered in class 25 for shoes. The New York’s company argued inter alia that use of TIFFANY trade mark for goods such as footwear is a parasitic activity that uses another’s trade mark reputation and is bringing undue financial benefit to the holder of national registrations. The Company also stressed the fact that its trade mark is subject to protection under article 8 of the Paris Convention.

The VAC ruled that the application for the protection of the TIFFANY mark for goods in class 25 was contrary to the principles of social coexistence because it caused the risk of weakening the reputation of the trade mark. Given the fact that the shoes are cheap and readily available, there is a risk of dilution of the reputation of TIFFANY trade mark and it may lead to lose its attractiveness among the exclusive clientele of goods bearing this mark.

The SAC in a judgment of 8 July 2009, case file II GSK 1111/08 ruled that the old Polish Act of 31 January 1985 on Trade Marks – TMA – (in Polish: Ustawa o znakach towarowych), published in Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 15, subsequent amendments, do not explicitly provide for any special protection for unregistered reputed trade marks. However, the doctrine and the Polish case law have already accepted the concept, that such protection could be provided under article 8(1) of the TMA.

A trademark shall not be registrable if:
1) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence;

In particular looking at the circumstance of “a trade mark conflicting with the principles of social coexistence”, from the subjective perspective – it was commented that, the “contradiction/variance with the principles of social coexistence” may concerning the conduct/behavior of the applicant. On the basis of such conclusions, the registration of a sign for the goods of another kind, if the registration was intended to use the reputation of another’s trade mark or it was a threat of such reputation, was excluded. A trade mark application that was filed contrary to the principles of social coexistence, was an application made in bad faith. The absolute grounds/obstacles that are provided against the registration of the mark as defined in article 8(1) of the TMA do not directly refer to the relationship between the sign that was applied for and any other competing trade mark, however, in accordance with the accepted interpretation of that provision, in case of the infringement of the rules of social coexistence, the obstacle could be the inappropriate behavior on the applicant (its actions done in bad faith). The assessment of applicant’s actions, who was motivated by the desire to use another’s trade mark reputation, should therefore be also varied according to circumstances of its motivation and, not only related to the trade mark itself.

The application for the right of protection for a trade mark that was made with the intent to use another trade mark’s reputation should be judged as an application that was made with the breach of the rules of social coexistence (application made in bad faith), regardless of whether it concerns a reputed registered trade mark or unregistered reputed trade mark.

The Polish case law, for instance the Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 9 May 2008, case file II GSK 506/07, that was previously reported in the post entitled “Trade mark law, case II GSK 506/07“, already established the rule that in a case of famous trade mark and its reputation, besides its recognition, it must be also characterized by the following characteristics:

  • market share/participation (both quantity and value of sold goods),
  • range and long-lasting of an advertisment of the product bearing a trade mark,
  • territorial and temporal range of use,
  • licences granted for trade mark use, quality of goods bearing a trade mark,
  • value of a given sign in assessment of an independent financial institution,
  • size and extent of expenditures spent on promotion of a mark,
  • the relationship on prices of substitute goods,
  • if (and to what extent) the mark is used by third party.

The SAC also noted that the Community case law provides several fundamental conditions for the recognition of a trade mark as a reputed one. These are:

  • knowledge of the trade mark by a significant group of customers,
  • the contribution of the trade mark in the market,
  • intensity and geographic scope of the use,
  • intensity matching of goods with the trade mark,
  • the size of expenditures on advertising and promotion of the trade mark.

The SAC cited, inter alia, the judgment of the Court of Justice of the UE of 14 September 1999 case C-375/97, General Motors and the judgment of the Court of First Instance of 13 December 2004 case T-8/03, El Corte Ingles and the CFI’s judgment of 25 May 2005 case T-67/04, Spa Finders.

It is also clear that the reputation of a trade mark must be assessed and established in the country in which the protection is sought. If one would like to qualify a given trade mark as a reputed one in the Republic of Poland, then the argument of the international reputation of a trade mark is not sufficient. The basic circumstance for the recognition of the reputation of a sign in a specific country is to show by a person who is invoking this argument, the market share in terms of both quantity and value of goods sold.

The SAC held that provisions of the First Directive 89/104/EEC of 21 December 1988 do not preclude the possibility of granting the protection to unregistered reputed trade marks under the national law. Just to keep it in order, it is worth adding, that 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 on 13 June 2003, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 119, item 1117, with subsequent amendments, provides for such a possibility in the Article 132(2)(iii).

2) A right of protection for a trademark shall not be granted, if the trademark:
(iii) is identical or similar to a renown trademark registered or applied for registration with an earlier priority (provided that the latter is subsequently registered) on behalf of another party for any kind of goods, if it without due cause would bring unfair advantage to the applicant or be detrimental to the distinctive character or the repute of the earlier trademark. The above provision shall apply to well-known trademarks accordingly.

The protection of registered trade marks to the extent of the wording of Article 4(4)(a) of the Directive. The trade mark application that was made in bad faith shall be rejected based on the absolute ground for refusal of protection based on the provisions of Article 131(2)(i) of the IPL.

2. A right of protection shall not be granted for a sign, if:
(i) it has been applied for protection with the Patent Office in bad faith,

The SAC ruled that the provisions of Article 4(4)(a) of the Directive cannot be interpreted as the maximum limitation for the protection of famous marks in the national law and it would be difficult to follow the arguments that the First Directive 89/104 is an example of the so-called “complete harmonization” citing the judgment of the Court of Justice of the European Union of 9 January 2003 in case C-292/00, Davidoff & Cie S. A.

According to the SAC, the court of first instance (VAC) wrongly assumed the bad faith of the applicant and it did not consider the fact that the applicant has conducted its business in Poland since 1990 with the use of the mark, and after about five years of its activity, the company applied for the registration of the mark. These circumstances certainly were not indifferent to assess the intentions and purposes of the applicant so the VAC should address them in the grounds of the appeal.

When deciding on the interpretation of Article 8(1) of the TMA, which allows for the protection of not registered reputed trade marks in Poland, it should be also noted, that such protection have a special character because it applies to unregistered marks, and it is an exception to the principle of protecting industrial property rights by the registration process. This requires preserving much care, so that without proper justification, would not depreciate the importance of registering trade mark and it would not reduced the registration to a purely formal procedure that has no importance.

Therefore, the SAC annulled both questioned judgments of the Voivodeship Administrative Court and returned to the VAC for reconsideration in accordance with the conclusions reached and ordered the Polish Patent Office to pay Tiffany & Broadway Inc. Div. of Texpol Corporation 1200 PLN as reimbursement of costs of the cassation compliant.

See also “Trade mark law, case II GSK 1110/08” and “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 214/08“.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 120/09

December 13th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 30 September 2008 case file VI SA/Wa 1042/08 dismissed a complaint against the decision of the Polish Patent Office on the lapse of the right of protection for APETITO IR-615850 trade mark in part concerning the goods in Class 29. See “Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 1042/08“. The owner – APETITO AKTIENGESELLSCHAFT – filed a cassation complaint.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgmet of 6 October 2009 case file II GSK 120/09 dismissed the complaint and held that when a person who shows its legitimate interest file a request for the invalidation of a registered trade mark becasue of non-use, the owner of the right of protection for this trade mark has to show the use of the mark in question or the existence of valid reasons justifying non-use. The scope of holder’s duty is defined within the scope of legal interest arising from a standing to file a request for the invalidation.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 156/09

December 12th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 16 October 2008 case file VI SA/Wa 927/08 dismissed the complaint against the decision of the Polish Patent Office on the refusal to decide on the lapse of the right of protection of GAP R-171132 and GAP R-171135 trade mark owned by GAP (ITM) INC. Przedsiębiorstwo Prywatne GAPPOL Marzena Porczyńska who was the applicant in the case before the PPO, filed a cassation complaint against this decision.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 October 2009 case file II GSK 156/09 dismissed the compliant and held that pursuant to Article 315(1) of the IPL, the provisions of the old Trade Marks ACT are used to assess the effects of legal events occurring during their validity, while the effects of legal events that occurred after 22 August 2001, should be assessed under the provisions of the IPL, also when they related to the existing rights. To assess the effects of the expiry of the period/deadline that was required for recognizing the request to decide on the lapse of the right of protection as effective – if such a request was made after 22 August 2001, the provisions of the IPL should be used.

The Court held that in favor to adopt the date of issuance of the decision granting a right of protection as the starting point of the five-year period referred to in Article 169(1)(i) of the IPL, speaks the literal interpretation of this provision.

Article 169
1. The right of protection for a trademark shall also lapse:
(i) on failure to put to genuine use of the registered trademark for the goods covered by the registration for a period of five successive years after a decision on the grant of a right of protection has been taken, unless serious reasons of non-use thereof exist.

The SAC reached such conclusions because the “registered trademark” as referred to in this article, appears only after the decision in the matter was issued, and not on the date of filing a trade mark application.

Trade mark law, case II GSK 1011/09

November 25th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in its judgment of 18 June 2009 case file VI SA/Wa 1731/08 ruled that while examining the violations of the rules of social coexistence, the Polish Patent Office must take into account also the subjective elements, which means that on existence of the conditions referred to in Article 8(1) of the old Polish Trade Mark Act – TMA – (in Polish: Ustawa o znakach towarowych) of 31 January 1985, Journal of Laws (Dziennik Ustaw) No 5, item 15, with subsequent amendments, may decide certain actions of the trade mark applicant, especially when these actions are characterized by offending behavior.

Article 8
A trademark shall not be registrable if:
1) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence;
2) it infringes the personal or economic rights of third parties;

This judgment concerned the invalidation proceedings of ecard R-150521 trade mark owned by Firstcove Technology Limited from Dublin. The VAC held also the right to company’s name (firm) is created at the time, when the order of entry into the commercial register is issued. However, the fact that information on the formation of a specific company was made publicly available, the issuance of which is required by law, should also be taken into account. This argument must be considered by the PPO in the assessment of allegations of violation of Article 8(2) of the TMA. The cassation complaint was dismissed by the Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 24 November 2010 case file II GSK 1011/09.

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

November 15th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

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

R-138491

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

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

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

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 897/09

October 28th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

The Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 20 October 2009 VI SA/Wa 897/09 held that the company name (firm) serves as the identification and prominence of the entrepreneur in the legal and economic transactions. It is also a carrier of certain information about the characteristics and qualities of business conducted by such entrepreneur. An unauthorized interference with the function of a company name infringes on the right to the name. The company name, also of the civil partnership, is a personal interests/asset of the company and relates to its identity when it individualize such entrepreneur. The firm/company name is subject to protection of personal rights/intrests under Articles 23 and 24 of the Civil Code, in conjunction with Article 43 10 of the Civil Code.

R-143502

The Court ruled that the company name (firm) is the absolute personal right, effective erga omnes, and enjoyed by everyone including businesses and individuals that do business in the form of civil partnership. The right to a company name is formed with the entry of the entrepreneur in the business register, and in any event, when the company used for the first time in trade. Entrepreneurs may claim the right to the company name (the firm) after they have been registered in the Register of Entrepreneurs in the National Court Register or in the Economic Activity Records. The disclosure of trade name/company’s name is provided in the registry (National Court Register – Polish public register maintained by the selected regional courts and the Ministry of Justice which includes the register of enterprises). It has a declaratory nature. The Economic Activity Records are maintained by the municipality of the place of residence of the entrepreneur.

The Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 15 January 2008 case file II GSK 298/07 held that the right of the company name is infringed if the registration of a trade mark conflicts and interferes with the exercise of the right to company name. See “Trade mark law, II GSK 298/07“. This conflict is based on misleading as to the identity of entities (acting under the company name and using the trade mark) and therefore it may jeopardize the company name (firm). Such conclusions were reached by the Supreme Administrative Court in its judgment of 26 April 2006 case file II GSK 31/06.

This case concerned the invalidation proceedings of word-figurative trade mark PIOR R-143502 owned by Przedsiębiorstwo Usługowo-Handlowo-Reklamowe PRIOR, Rostkowska Janina, Rostkowski Jan, Kuc Małgorzata from Chorzów.

Trade mark law, case Sp. 211/08

October 25th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 7 September 2007, the Polish Patent Office granted the right of protection for word-figurative trade mark “PERŁY I ŁOTRY” R-194932 applied for by HARPEL II Wojciech Harmansa for goods in Class 16 and 35. The PPO received a request for the invalidation of the right of protection that was filed by Sinonis Grzegorz Majewski who owns “PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU” R-164275 trade mark registered for goods in Class 09 and 41. Majewski applied for the registration on 2 February 2001. Majewski and Harmansa were members of a music band called PERŁY I ŁOTRY SHANGHAJU, but after some misunderstandings in the band, their paths diverged.

The Adjudicative Board of the Polish Patent Office in its decision of 7 April 2009, case file Sp. 211/08 invalidated the right of protection for “PERŁY I ŁOTRY” R-194932 trade mark in part in Class 35, recognizing the similarity of services.

Trade mark law, case VI SA/Wa 121/09

October 13th, 2009, Tomasz Rychlicki

On 9 October 1996, the Polish Patent Office registered the trade mark XAVIER LAURENT R-92393 for goods in class 3 such as personal deodorants. The trade mark is currenty owned by the Polish company HOUSE Spółka z o.o. from Zielona Góra. The International Trade Corporation Limited, the owner of XL XAVIER LAURENT IR-763083 trade mark filed a request for invalidation of the right of protection for XAVIER LAURENT R-92393 trade mark.

The ITC claimed it has been active in the cosmetics industry fo the long time and the most popular goods are these marked with the Xavier Laurent brand. The company had a national distributor of its products in Poland which on March 1994 applied to the Polish Patent Office for the trade mark registration of XAVIER LAURENT sign and later on it has assigned the right of protection for XAVIER LAURENT R-92393 to HOUSE. The ITC based its request on article 8(1) and (2) of the old Polish Trade Mark Act – TMA – (in Polish: ustawa o znakach towarowych) of 1985, published in Dziennik Ustaw (Journal of Laws) of 1985 No 5, pos. 15, with subsequent amendments.

A trade mark shall not be registrable if:
1) it is contrary to law or to the principles of social coexistence.
2) it infringes the personal or economic rights of third parties;

The request was also mentioning article 6septies of the Paris Convention for the Protection of Industrial Property. The Polish Patent Office dismissed ICT’s request and the company filed a complaint to the Voivodeship Administrative Court in Warsaw. On 5 May 2009, the VAC in a judgment case file VI SA/Wa 121/09, ruled that article 8(i) of the TMA must be interpreted broadly and concerns not only the form of trade mark, but also other subjective elements. The basis for invalidation may be, therefore, not only the characteristics of a trade mark itself, but also the reprehensible conduct of the applicant/owner. For the correctness of such interpretation of provisions of article 8(i) speaks the provisions of article 31 of the TMA that expressly provides for the invalidation of the registration rights acquired as a result of bad faith behaviour.

The VAC also held that article 161 of the IPL specifies the entity protected by this provision as “a person entitled to the exclusive use of the mark in a foreign country.” The protection provided for in article 161 may be used by any entity (entrepreneur) from abroad, which will demonstrate that at least in one Member state a specific trade mark is its “property”, especially it has the right of exclusive use that came from the relevant decision of public authorities (patent organ) in that country. The VAC anulled the Polish Patent Office’s decision from 2008 and decided that the decision was not subject to execution. The Judgment is not final yet.