BASIC INFORMATION ON LEGAL PROTECTION OF TRADEMARKS
- Questions relating to legal protection of trademarks are regulated by the act of 30 June 2000 – Industrial Property Law (Journal of Laws of 2003, No 119, text 1117 and of 2004, No 33, text 286), as well as by the Regulation of the Prime Minister of 8 July 2002 on filing and processing of trademark applications (Journal of Laws No 115, text 998).
The Patent Office of the Republic of Poland receives and examinestrademark applications, takes decisionsin matters related to the grant of rights of protection and keeps the Trademark Register.
Any sign capable of being represented graphically may be considered as trademark(in particular: words, designs, ornaments, combinations of colours, the three-dimentional shape of goods or of their packaging, as well as melodies or other acoustic signals), provided that such signs are capable of distinguishing the goods of one undertaking from those of other undertakings.
For a trademark a right of protection may be granted.
Rights of protection shall not be granted for signs which:
Rights of protection shall not be granted for signs:
- cannot constitute a trademark,
- are devoid of sufficient distinctive character,
- have become customary in the current language and are used in fair and established business practices.
A right of protection shall also not be granted for a sign, if:
- whose use infringes third parties’ personal or economic rights, or
- that are contrary to law, public order or morality, or
- which, as for their nature, may mislead the public, in particular as to the nature, properties of the goods or as to geographic origin thereof.
- it has been applied for protection with the Patent Office in bad faith,
- it incorporates a name, an abbreviated name or a symbol for the use of which the applicant has no authorisation issued by a competent State agency nor a permission given by an organisation,
- it incorporates elements being symbols, in particular of religious, patriotic or cultural nature – to the extent to which it could hurt religious or patriotic feelings or national tradition,
- it constitutes a form or another feature of the goods or their packaging, which is dictated exclusively by their nature, is necessary to achieve a technical result or it gives substantial value to the goods.
- Any organisation enjoying the status of legal entity and created in order to represent interests of the undertakings, may be granted a right of protection for a trademark intended for use in the course of trade by that organisation and the entities grouped therein (collective trademark).
The principles of the use of a trademark in the course of trade by the organisation referred to in paragraph (2) and by the entities grouped therein shall be determined by the regulations governing use of trademarks adopted by that organisation.
Any organisation enjoying the status of legal entity, which itself refrains from using the trademark, may be granted a right of protection for a trademark intended for use by the undertakings, which follow the rules laid down in the regulations governing use of trademarks adopted by the entitled organisation and are liable to control by that organisation to this extent (collective guarantee trademark).
Joint right of protection may be granted for a trademark intended for concurrent use by several undertakings who have jointly applied for the protection thereof, provided that such use is not contrary to public interests and is not intended to mislead the public.
- The term of a right of protection for a trademark, a collective trademark, a collective guarantee trademark, as well as the term of a joint right of protection shall be 10 years counted from the date of filing of a trademark application with the Patent Office.
The right of protection shall confer the exclusive right to use the trademark for profit or for professional purposes throughout the territory of the Republic of Poland.
The term of protection may, at the request of the right holder, be extended for subsequent ten-year periods in respect of all or of a part of the goods, with the request being submitted before the expiration of a running protection period, however not earlier than one year before the expiration thereof. The request shall be submitted together with the payment of a due protection fee.
The request may also be submitted, against payment of an additional fee, within six months after the expiration of a protection period. The said time limit shall be non-restorable.
- Filing a trademark application with the Patent Office in order to obtain a right of protection shall require submission to the Office (by post, by fax or personally) of the following documents:
- a request, containing, in paricular, - a) indications concerning the applicant, b) indication of the representative, if appropriate, c) petition for the grant of a right of protection, d) description of the trademark, e) specification of the goods for which the trademark is intended, f) the signature of the applicant or his representative;
- a document of priority, if an applicant wishes to take advantage of the priority of an earlier application with a relevant declaration to that effect;
- prints or photographs(in five copies with two additional copies in black and white in case of a colour trademark) of the trademark displayed graphically;
- a magnetic tape(two copies) in case of a sound trademark;
- a document authorising an applicant to use certain signs in the trademark;
- regulations governing the use of the trademark in case the applicant seeks a right of protection for a collective trademark, a collective guarantee trademark or aims at obtaining a joint right of protection;
- authorisation, if an applicant acts by a representative.
An application may be filed bya natural or legal person, a state administration agency or by a state organisation without legal personality but acting on behalf of the Treasury.
The Patent Office deems an application to have been filed, if it contains at least a determination of the trademark and a list of goods for which the trademark is intended.
An application shall be deemed to have been filed at the date at which it has been received by the Patent Office or its transmission by means of fax has effected. In the latter case, the original copy of the application shall be required to be furnished within 30 days from the date on which the transmission was effected. The above time limit shall be non-restorable. Where an application transmitted by fax is found illegible or not identical with the original copy, the date at which the original copy has been furnished shall be deemed to be the filing date.
Until a decision on the grant of a right of protection is taken, the applicant may make additions and corrections to his application, provided that they may not alter the essential characteristics of the trademark nor extend the list of goods for which the trademark has been applied.
Basic fee for a trademark application is 500 zloty and, additionally, 100 zloty for each class of goods, over three, according to the classification of goods and services currently in effect. However, notice should be taken of the current fee rates, as they are subject to periodical changes.
- The Patent Office shall publish the trademark application in the Biuletyn Urzędu Patentowego immediately after the expiry of three months from the filing date.
As from the date of publication, third parties may acquaint themselves with the trademark determined in the application and with the list of goods for which the mark is intended; they may also submit to the Patent Office their observations as to the existence of grounds that may cause a right of protection to be denied.
- The Patent Office shall decide on the grant or on the refusal to grant a right of protection after having performed examinations as laid down in the Act and in the regulation. A right of protection shall be granted subject to payment of a fee for a ten-year protection period. The grant of a right of protection for a trademark shall be evidenced by the issue of a certificate of protection for a trademark.