FRIDAY, 26 JUNE 2009
Poland: another case on non-use of a trade mark

R-132854On June 2007 the Polish Patent Office issued decision in which it invalidated the right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark Lech-Pol R-132854 (with the priority date of 1998), registered for goods in class 33 and owned by Mariusz Lech Przedsiebiorstwo Produkcyjno-Handlowo-Uslugowe LECH-POL from Lask. The right of protection was invalidated in part: for alcoholic beverages except for wine. The request was filed by the Polish company Fabryka Wódek POLMOS LANCUT S.A. from Lancut. The company from Lancut proved that it had a legitimate interest to have standing in proceedings before the Polish Patent Office based on the fact that on May 2005 Mariusz Lech filed before the PPO request to invalidate the right of protection for lech wódka R-145285 trade mark.

According to Polmos Lancut's arguments, Mariusz Lech used the disputed trade mark only for products such as strong fruit wines, not imposing this mark on all other alcoholic beverages in Class 33. Mariusz Lech argued that, since mid-2001, he began efforts to start the production of vodka under the disputed trade mark. As a potential market for these articles he considered the teritory of Ukraine and the Republic of Poland. With this end in view, a design of bottles bearing these trade marks and labels were made. There were also discussions on the distribution of alcohol in Ukraine. However, with regard to the obstacles, the plan was not realized.

The PPO ruled that simply taking the preparatory steps which had no connection with a valid reason that could prevent the use of a trade mark does not constitute the grounds for dismissal of a request for invalidation of the right of protection.

Mariusz Lech filed a complaint to the District Administrative Court in Warsaw but it was rejected in the Court's judgment of 5 February 2008, act signature VI SA/Wa 2019/07. A cassation compalint brought before the Supreme Administrative Court was rejected in a judgment of 16 April 2009, act signature II GSK 708/08.

See also previous Class46 post titled "Poland: rules for non-use of a trade mark" as regards non-use and genuine use issues.

Posted by: Tomasz Rychlicki @ 14.49
Tags: legitimate interest, non-use, Polish courts, Polish law, Polish Patent Office, Polish Supreme Administrative Court,
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