Legal basis is the Industrial Property Act, in force since August 22nd, 2001. Poland is a member of the Madrid Agreement and the Madrid Protocol. Since May 1st, 2004, Poland has been a member of the European Union.
Trademark protection is obtained by registration. It can also be acquired by sufficient public recognition.
Nice classification, 10th edition
Registrable as a trademark are all distinctive and graphically representable signs, such as words, names, acronyms, letters, numbers, devices, emblems, holograms, colours, combinations or shades of colours, three-dimensional forms, the three-dimensional form of a good or its packaging, sound marks and any combination of the mentioned signs.
The following trademark types are registrable: trade marks, service marks, collective marks, certification marks and trade names.”
The application is filed at the Patent Office.
Multiple-class applications are possible.
Foreign applicants need a local agent.
A non-legalised power of attorney is sufficient.
Foreign applicants do not need a domestic registration but it is necessary to file a document evidencing the capacity of the PoA signatory(s) to represent the applicant, e.g. an excerpt from the Register of Companies, together with its Polish translation (simple translation, not certified).
Over three months after filing the trademark application is published in the bi-weekly “Biuletyn Urzedu Patentowego”.”
At this point, third parties can notify the Patent Office of reasons against the registration of the trademark.
The application process includes a formal examination, an examination of distinctiveness and a search for prior trademarks. Signs not deemed distinctive in the examination can be registered if distinctiveness has been acquired by use.
The processing time from first filing to registration is approx. 2 years. After registration, the trademark is published in the monthly “Wiadomosci Urzedu Patentowego”.
An opposition may be filed only after the registration has been granted. The opposition period is 6 months from the publication date of the registration in the ‘Wiadomości Urzędu Patentowego’.
Opposition against designation of IR Mark
(The period starts from the national publication date, if not stated differently):
The opposition period is 6 months from the publication date of the registration in the ‘Wiadomości Urzędu Patentowego’.
Protection begins with the date of application. A trademark registration is valid for 10 years from date of application. The registration is renewable for periods of 10 years.
The grace period for renewals is 6 months from the expiration date of the trademark.
If the trademark has not been put to genuine use 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, it may be subject to revocation, unless serious reasons of non-use thereof exist. Subsequent use of the trademark can restore protection if no party has requested revocation due to non-use in the meantime.
The official fee for a paper trade mark application is PLN 550.00 (approx. EUR 141.00), for an electronic trade mark application is PLN 500.00 (approx. 128EUR), up to 3 classes and PLN 120.00 (approx. EUR 27.00) for each additional class. The registration fee is PLN 450.00 (approx. EUR 115.00) for each of the first 3 classes plus PLN 400.00 (approx. EUR 103.00) for each next class and a further PLN 90.00 (approx. EUR 23.00) as publication fee.
Trademark Licence Agreement
In Poland a trademark licence agreement must be in writing. Licensing of unregistered marks is permitted. To such licence the provisions concerning a licence of a registered trademark will apply unless otherwise provided for by the parties. A trademark can be licensed for some or all of the goods or services covered and for all or part of Poland. Licences may be exclusive or non-exclusive. The sale of a registered trademark does not automatically terminate the licence.
The following statutory provisions prescribe the terms of licensing:
1. The licensee is allowed to use the trademark within the same scope as the licensor, unless the licence agreement stipulates otherwise.
2. The licence expires with the expiration of the trademark.
3. The licence is not exclusive unless the licence agreement stipulates that it is.
4. The licensee may grant a further licence only upon the proprietor’s consent.
5. In order to indicate that the trademark is licensed the licensee may and upon the proprietor’s request he must use the abbreviation ‘lic’.
6. The licence may be recorded upon the interest of one of the parties involved.
There are provisions in law for the voluntary recordal of a licensee with the Patent Office. There is no time frame for a recordal. The parties shall be free to determine the content of the licence contract, but it shall contain provisions concerning the specification of the trademark concerned and the proprietor’s consent to use the trademark by the licensee. To register a licence, especially in the event where the licensee applies for recordal, documents may be required to prove that a licence agreement has been signed by a person entitled to represent the proprietor.
The licence becomes enforceable against third parties only upon its entry on the Register. Recorded licences will be published once in the Official Bulletin.
There is an evidentiary presumption that use of a recorded licensee is permitted use. The licensee may join the trademark owner in infringement proceedings. According to relevant provisions of the Industrial Property Act, the exclusive recorded licensee is not required to call upon the proprietor to institute infringement proceedings and may act against infringement in his own name, unless provided for otherwise in the licence agreement. For example, the contract may exclude the exclusive licensee’s entitlement to act against infringement or it may oblige the licensee to inform the proprietor about the licensee’s intention to initiate legal proceedings, setting the proprietor a deadline to institute infringement proceedings. Unless provided otherwise, the licensee is not required to cite the trademark owner as co-defendant in any such proceedings.
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We would like to thank the following law firms for their assistance in updating the information provided:
JWP Attorneys at Law, Warsaw, Poland
02-03-2011Kulikowska & Kulikowski
, Warsaw, Poland Licensing
IPR Group, Kiev, Ukraine
JWP Attorneys at Law, Warsaw, Poland