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Now in its twelfth year, Class 46 is dedicated to European trade mark law and practice. This weblog is written by a team of enthusiasts who want to spread the word and share their thoughts with others.

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Poland: joint ownership of trade marks
On May 2006, the Polish Patent Office granted the joint right of protection for the word-figurative trade mark SILMENT R-175055 for the three Polish entrepreneurs - Stanisław Wilk, Jan Kosmala and Marek Siemiński. Mr Wilk requested the PPO for a change in the trade mark register. According to the donation agreement of January 2010, he has transferred to his son 1.65% of 33% of his share in the right to the trade mark. On June 2010, the PPO entered the name of his son and deleted Stanisław Wilk, however, after the request for re-examination, the PPO made another changes in the column A of the trade mark register, and entered both father and son as co-owners. Mr Kosmala filed a comaplaint against this decision. He argued that the supplied evidence did not allow for making such amendments. Mr Kosmala did not agree that a part of 33% share could be transferred to another person, because according the agreement of 2004 on the joint ownership, that was signed between Kosmala, Siemiński and Wilk senior, any joint owner could make a donation of the joint right to the right of protection for a trade mark SILMENT R-175 055 only to the spouse and descendants of the first group of inheritance.

The Voivideship Administrative Court in Warsaw in its judgment of 25 October 2011 case file VI SA/Wa 1409/11 noted that between co-owners to the trade mark SILMENT arose a dispute over the interpretation of the agreement. The Court ruled that, in principle, the right of protection for a trademark may be assigned or be subject to succession. The transfer of the right of protection may be effected only with the consent of the parties who enjoy that right. The agreement of assignment of a share in the joint right of protection should be only valid subject to the consent given by all of the joint owners. When examining the request for the change in the trade mark register, the PPO should investigate whether the submitted documents, supposed to provide grounds for taking a decision on entry in a register, are in accordance with this Polish Industrial Property Law and satisfy the effective provisions as to form. The entries should not be binding on an authority whose responsibilities, under the provisions of law, include deciding on a document founding the decision on entry in a register or in a case, the outcome of which may affect a decision of the Polish Patent Office on entry in the register. The "registry-entry" proceedings are designed to adjust the content of an entry with the current legal status, and a decision on the entry into the trade mark register has only a declaratory nature and it not a source of trade mark rights. Therefore, the cognition of the Polish Patent Office in matters of entries in the registry, is strictly defined. This means that while investigating the request for a change, the PPO cannot exceed those limits. As a result, the PPO cannot investigate the regularity of both the preparation of the documents submitted as a basis for entry in the registry, as well as make their interpretation. As there is dispute between the parties over the interpretation of the agreement, the PPO cannot agree to the interpretation of one of the parties. These doubts have to be resolved by a civil court. And if such dispute has not been initiated by a party, the PPO should stay proceedings and call the party to apply to the competent court, within the prescribed time, to provide a preliminary decision on the issue which is a condition of the settlement in the main case. Therefore,the Court annulled the contested decision, ruled it unenforceable, and ordered the PPO to consider the Court's arguments during re-examination of the case.
Posted by: Tomasz Rychlicki @ 11.09
Tags: Polish Act on Industrial Property Law, Polish Administrative Proceedings Code, Polish Patent Office, Voivodeship Administrative Court, trade mark co-ownership, trade mark register,
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