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Changes to Intellectual Property Law in Poland

The Polish Government has made amendments to Industrial Property Law - related to trademarks:

1. Opposition system introduced

An amendment to the Industrial Property Law, introducing an opposition system, was adopted by the Parliament on 11 September 2015. The amendment will enter into force on 15 April 2016.

So far, the Polish Patent Office has examined all prerequisites of trademark registration, including but not being limited to potential conflicts with earlier rights. Proceedings in the Patent Office have lasted significantly longer than in OHIM. 

Now the Patent Office will examine only absolute grounds of refusal and owners of earlier rights will have to file oppositions to prevent later identical or similar registrations. Trademark applicants will be informed by the Patent Office about such potential conflicts.

2. Letters of consent approved of by the Polish Patent Office

Letters of consent will be accepted by the Patent Office according to the amendment dated 31 August 2015. On their basis the owner of earlier rights may agree to registration of later trademarks which otherwise would be refused. This law will be enforced from 1 December 2015.  The owner of an earlier trademark or other personal or economic right may give a written consent to the registration of a later identical or similar trademark. So far, this procedure has not been possible in Poland, even between related undertakings.  This has often hindered registration processes in groups of companies where trademarks are registered on behalf of various companies. 

3. Patent attorneys monopoly limited 

An amendment of the Industrial Property Law dated 5 August 2015 equaled the rights of lawyers and patent attorneys in all trademark matters. This means that lawyers (advocates and legal counsels) will file trade mark applications, also on behalf of foreign companies, which has not been possible so far. The new law will be enforced from 30 November 2015.  Patent attorneys, which form a separate bar from lawyers (advocates and legal counsels), have had the power to represent clients in administrative proceedings in all trademark matters (also with regard to the registration process and maintenance of the registration). Advocates and legal counsels could act only in contentious matters. In civil proceedings both lawyers and patent attorneys may represent their clients but lawyers do it more often.

All the above changes have been introduced to make trademark registration proceedings more efficient, easier and cost effective. All changes have been expected already for some time and are most welcome. Should you have any questions regarding the presented issues or pertaining to other matters connected with IP, please contact the following IP lawyer, who now heads the IP Team at BSWW Legal in Warsaw: 

Monika Zuraw, Ph.D.Attorney-at-law | Partner

Bieniak Smoluch Wielhorski Wojnar i Wspólnicy Spólka Komandytowa 

tel.: +48 22 420 59 59  fax.: +48 22 420 59 60 

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