Several important amendments to the Polish Industrial Property
Act have recently entered into force.
The amendment that entered into force on April 15, 2016
introduced significant changes to the trademark registration
process, namely the Polish Patent Office (PPO) will no longer be
conducting the ex officio examination of trademark applications on
relative grounds, as the opposition system was introduced.
The PPO will be examining trademark applications only with
respect to formal issues and absolute grounds for refusal, and not
with respect to potential conflicts with prior trademarks. The PPO
will, however conduct searches on relative grounds, i.e. earlier
national and international trademarks designating Poland, and issue
and send search reports to applicants. However, these reports are
intended for informational purposes and are not legally
The PPO will not be sending notifications on new trademark
applications to owners of earlier rights; the prior-rights owners
will have to monitor trademark applications on their own.
Once a trademark application is published in the PPO Bulletin,
the prior-rights owners can file an opposition within three months
from the publication date, should they find that the trademark
application is identical or similar to their earlier rights. The
opposition should be fully substantiated, as no formal opposition
notice is available.
Once the opposition is filed, the PPO will inform the parties
about the possibility of amicable settlement and set a two-month
'cooling off' period that could be, at the joint request of
the parties, extended up to six months. If no agreement is reached
within this period, the PPO will ask the applicant to defend its
application against the opposition. The applicant should then
provide all arguments and evidence to dismiss the opposition. Also,
at this stage only, the applicant may request that the opponent
submits evidence to prove the use of the earlier mark.
When the PPO issues a decision, the parties can file a motion
for re-examination within two months, if they are not satisfied
with the outcome of the proceeding.
It is expected that these changes will significantly shorten the
trademark registration procedure, from approximately 18-24 months
to approximately six months. Also, the non-used earlier trademarks
will no longer automatically represent obstacles for new
registrations, but only if their owners invoke them in opposition
Moreover, the amendments introduce a possibility of filing a
request to divide a trademark during opposition or invalidation
Finally, under the recent amendments, in addition to business
entities, natural persons can also jointly own trademarks.
The content of this article is intended to provide a general
guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought
about your specific circumstances.
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