An important change of the Polish Industrial Property Law came into force on 15 April. The most relevant of the changes is a new regime for trademark registrations and oppositions. Until today, the trademark registration procedure involved an ex officio examination of both absolute and relative refusal grounds. The opposition period started after the decision on the registration was published and lasted for 6 months. As of now, the Patent Office, at its own initiative, will only consider absolute refusal grounds. The relative grounds will only be examined if an opposition is lodged. The period for filing an opposition has been shortened to 3 months and is now counted from an official announcement on the filing of the trademark. Thus, the opposition may now be filed before and not after trademark registration. In addition to the above, recently there were also other important changes to industrial property legislation, the most relevant of which include:
- introduction of the “letters of consent” concept, by which the holder of an earlier right or an earlier applicant may grant consent to the grant of protection for a later trademark,
- industrial designs may be protected both under the industrial property and copyrights regimes, which was expressly excluded under prior legislation; as a result, protection of an industrial design may be extended as far as until the lapse of 70 years after the designer’s death,
- the necessity of proving legal interest (usually in the form of a conflicting prior trademark) has been removed from the trademark invalidation and revocation procedures.
The effects of the changes remain to be seen. What we hope for is that they will bring shortening of registration times. In addition, the interested parties will have to be even keener on the trademark watches and active on the opposition front, as no relative grounds will be examined for them by the Office.
For more information on trademark prosecution in Poland, please visit our LimeGreen IP knowhow platform here.