The main aim of the new amendment of Polish Industrial Property Law Act is to unify Polish law with Convention on the Grant of European Patents of 5 October 1973. Moreover, regulation implemented from Directive 2004/48/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 29 April 2004 on the enforcement of intellectual property rights were improved. The changes come into force on 27 February 2020.
The main purpose of the amendment was streamlining of proceedings before the Polish Patent Office, including speed up the procedures. Due to one of the amendments, the right holder should obtain document confirming the granting of exclusive rights within one month from the date of notification.
As to patent opposition and invalidation proceedings before the Polish Patent Office, the crucial amendment refers to abolition of the obligation to demonstrate legal interest i. Moreover, an opposition will no longer be reviewed by a board of experts acting in adjudicating colleges, but it will be examined by one expert.
Another change is the possibility to demand the Polish Patent Office to carry out an international investigation and to prepare a proper report. Its purpose is to make an assessment at the application stage on the current state of technology in a given area on international level.
The new provision enables the limitation of patents by patent claims amendment, as well as in the course of ongoing opposition proceedings and patent invalidation proceedings. Before the amendment, a patent-holder was entitled to request a limitation of his patent only with regards
to the European patents, but it was very uncommon procedure. This change is a step towards harmonization with European law and eliminates the discrepancies between the rights of from European and Polish patents.
The new Act extends the possibilities of exemption from renewal fees to support start-up entrepreneurs. Small and medium entrepreneurs may apply for exemption from renewal fees for designs and trademarks within 3 years of start the business.
Moreover, the amendment, inter alia:
- clarifies the solutions that do not constitute an invention in the light of art. 28 of the Act and the requirements of the patent description. This change unifies national and European regulations.
- specifies the factors of patent invalidation, clarifies the catalog of activities that constitute a patent infringement, and thus expanded the content of the rights of the patent owner.
- in cases re: designs and geographical indications attorneys at law and legal advisers can be proxies. Patent attorneys keep monopoly for patent and industrial design proceedings.
To sum up, the amendment was dictated by the need to adapt the Polish standards on inventions to the European Union standards. Harmonizing these two legal systems will undoubtedly contribute to removing a number of discrepancies which Polish and European patent holders have had to face until now. The new regulations will not only streamline the opposition procedure and allow for the limitation of patents by their owners, but also ensure equal opportunities for Polish entrepreneurs applying for computer-assisted inventions in relation to foreign entities.