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Enforcement of IPRs in Poland


Enforcement of IPRs
The major cause of counterfeiting and piracy in Poland is the geographic location, which makes it easier for infringers to access the ports.
Medications and luxury clothing are the goods that most often face counterfeiting and piracy in Poland.
The specific laws include - The Act of 30th June 2000 (Journal of Law 2020, Item 286) (the Industrial Property Law) and the Act of 16th April 1993 on Combating Unfair Competition.
Copyright, Trademarks, Patents, Industrial Designs, and GIs are the different types of IPRs protected by IPR enforcement in Poland.
It is recommended that parties to the suit should collate sufficient evidentiary documents since the case is handled by a single judge bench. The evidence may be in the form of document or even witness testimonies may be gathered.
Yes, according to the Industrial Property Law, the limitation period for trademark infringement claims is 03 years. The period concerned runs, separately in respect of each individual infringement, from the date on which the rights holder learned about the infringement and the infringing person. However, in any case, claims will become barred by prescription 05 years from the date on which the infringement occurred.
A) Government Authorities - Yes
B) Police Officials - Yes
C) Judiciary - Yes
D) Customs - Yes
A) Injunctions - Yes
B) Monetary Compensation - Yes
C) Raids - Yes
D) Seizures - Yes
E) Destruction - Yes
The owner may request the publication of the court judgment in its entirety or in part (or information about the judgment in the form specified by the court).
On an average, it takes between 02 and 06 weeks to obtain a temporary injunction, depending on the court (for instance, it may take longer in Warsaw).
First-instance proceedings take approximately 02 years or longer (especially if there are multiple claims or written opinions of expert witnesses). Appeals also take approximately 02 years (most of this time is spent waiting for the appeal hearing to be scheduled).
Criminal proceedings take approximately 01 year from filing the motion for prosecution to receiving the court’s decision.
Civil proceedings may take up a substantial amount of time to obtain the redressal.
A) Responsible Authority - Common Courts
B) Imprisonment Term - Trademarks: up to 02 years, but if high valued goods are infringed, it may exceed up to 05 years; Copyright: up to 03 years, but may extend to 05 years where offender manages criminal activity and receives regular income.
C) Monetary Fine - Depends on the facts and circumstances of each case.
Damages may be awarded at the plaintiff’s discretion on the basis of the following regimes:
1) The so-called ‘general terms,’ which use standard civil law terms for the award of the damages - in essence, these terms require the plaintiff to prove that:
  • The defendant infringed the plaintiff’s rights;
  • The plaintiff suffered damage and the amount of damage suffered;
  • There is a causal link between the infringed rights and the damage suffered; and
  • The defendant's actions were culpable;
2) Payment of cash in the amount corresponding to the licence fee or other relevant remuneration, which would be due if the plaintiff had consented to the use of the patent in the way that the defendant used it unlawfully.
A penalty of restriction of liberty is the other criminal remedy available in Poland.
Criminal proceedings are rarely used and are only available for a limited number of offences, such as filing a patent for someone else's invention. Most instances of patent infringement are not considered crimes, and therefore, only civil proceedings are available.
Out-of-court negotiations are possible at every stage of court proceedings. Changes introduced to the Civil Procedure Code in 2016 show that mediation has become increasingly important.
Firstly, at the time of bringing a lawsuit, the claimant must advise whether the parties have attempted mediation or used other ADR methods, or, if no such attempt has been made, the reasons for failing to do so. Once the lawsuit is brought before the court, the defendant will have formal opportunities to request mediation (for instance, in response to the lawsuit). However, claimants can refuse such a request.
Destruction of goods is the remedy available under border control measures (customs) in Poland.
The applicant bears the cost; however, the same can be reimbursed through the institution of a suit.
The goods are released from detention if an IP rights holder abuses the enforcement measures in Custom Recordal of IPRs.
Out of court settlements (ADR)
Court proceedings in Poland tend to be slow regardless of the parties' efforts. There are multiple hearings in each case, which are often several months apart, during which time the case does not progress and the court hears other cases. A case may be further delayed when a person, such as a witness or party, fails to appear before the court on the date as ordered (for which they may be fined, although this occurs only if the absence is not excused). In such a case, another hearing must be ordered, which is likely to take place several months later. Expert opinions often take months to be prepared and the hearings are suspended during that time.